A professor from Manchester University performed a study on online games for children and was horrified by the results. Certain games have children perform plastic surgery on dolls and princesses and, although they are meant to entertain them, they might lead to the development of lots of insecurities and mental health issues.
Online games promote plastic surgery among children
Professor Jeanette Edwards discovered among the online titles which target children as young as nine some make-over games called Little Skin Doctor, Pimp My Face, or Plastic Surgery Princess. These games present certain physical features as problems, and encourage children to modify them and make the princesses ‘beautiful’.
Therefore, the Nuffield Council on Bioethics is asking for a ban on such games. They are calling on app stores to be careful with what titles they promote to children, and realize that plastic surgery games might have a damaging impact on them.
They contribute to the promotion of unrealistic beauty standards
These games add up to the constant promotion of unrealistic body images as the current beauty standards. They have the potential to leave a great impression on children and teenagers, who would want to conform to these standards. If they have certain features which society labels as ‘problems’, they will start feeling insecure and will want to ‘correct’ these features.
Therefore, both social media companies and game developers should try and make children feel comfortable with their appearance, instead of encouraging them to change things to be beautiful. The problem with these standard is not necessarily that children are told to take care of themselves, but rather the fact that certain features are promoted as ugly.
For instance, Little Skin Doctor labels freckles as a skin problem, and asks the players to correct them. Such games should not be available online for easily impressionable children. Promotion of ideal body images leads to the development of depression, anxiety, and self-doubt, and it needs to stop.
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