Plastic surgery game apps send wrong message to children, parents say

Critics say plastic surgery apps send the wrong message to children.

Story highlights

  • Apps let children perform procedures such as liposuction, nose jobs
  • Some experts say that children lack the proper context to understand the games

(CNN)Plastic surgery isn't a game, but some apps have turned it into one for kids.

Children can simulate procedures such as liposuction, nose jobs, lip fillers and double-eyelid surgery using such apps.
They are directed at children, featuring bright colors and cartoon characters.
    "This type of app is often free, which is often something parents look for first," said Christine Elgersma, senior editor for parent education at Common Sense Media, a nonprofit that addresses tech and media issues in a family context. "Also, there are some that aren't obviously cosmetic surgery apps at first glance, so parents may download first and find out later.
    "Most importantly, though, the content isn't developmentally appropriate. It's confusing and scary for little kids and sends a potentially harmful message."

    Lacking context

    Andrea Mara, a mother of three in Ireland, discovered plastic surgery games when her 9-year-old daughter found one on her Kindle tablet after searching for free games for kids. Her daughter showed her how it worked by carrying out a cosmetic surgery on the cartoon patient's nose. The surgery involved making incisions with a scalpel, moving bones, gluing and stitching.
    Mara said she was shocked that such an explicit app was being marketed toward children.
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