Cosmetic surgery app for kids causes upset

Thousands have signed petitions to ban the applications

Cosmetic surgery app for kids causes upset

A screenshot from the game

There's no shortage of apps available on every mobile platform. There are thousands of games out there, all trying to become the next big thing, struggling to stand out from the crowd. One sub-category of gaming apps has managed to stand out, but for all the wrong reasons. 

'Plastic Surgery Simulator' is just one of hundreds of surgery apps targeted at kids, which is available for download from Apple, Android, Google and Amazon app stores. The short description box that appears alongside this image in the app store says:

"Every girl dreams of a delicate face and stunning figure. If makeup can't give you the beauty you want ... you can turn into a Victoria's Secret model at once!"

This has caused severe upset amongst parents and groups that promote a positive body image. 

More than 2,700 people have signed a petition started by Endangered Bodies, a global organisation that challenges negative body image issues.  

In a statement, Endangered Bodies said these cosmetic surgery apps feature animated characters, vibrant graphics, and simple actions young children can understand to glamorise cosmetic surgery and encourage children to go to drastic means to achieve "perfection."

Dr Virginia Braun, a professor of psychology at the University of Auckland, said games like this could send "complicated messages to children." 

"It's problematic in that it teaches children an ideal that the body is plastic and can and should be changed in these very permanent ways. It normalises it - like it's just 'something you do'," Braun said.