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Plastic surgeons say an app that allows kids to simulate procedures could be dangerous.
Beauty Clinic Plastic Surgery, an app designed for teens by Bravo Kids Media, invites users to manage a beauty clinic in Beverly Hills and virtually inject and operate on patients to improve their looks. The company also offers games like Princess Plastic Surgery and Superhero Surgery Surgeon.
The app, which has a 3.5 out of 5 star rating on Google Play. depicts a girl with wide eyes and a pimply face getting injected with a syringe, having her chin drilled into and applying cream to reduce acne — all for her prom night. Players get rewards and virtual coins for surgeries they complete.
Plastic surgeons tell The Hollywood Reporter that the app’s cartoon style is clearly targeting kids younger than teenagers. Board certified plastic surgeon Adam Hamawy says, “The concept worries me. I think we’ve all played Operation, but we understood that it was a game. This undermines the seriousness of [plastic] surgery.” He adds that the Bravo Kids Media app could cause self-esteem issues or worsen body insecurity for some younger users.
Doctors suggest that playing with the app could cause children to want to change their bodies before they fully develop. “Your body is going to change so much. You’ve got to give it time, because you do something now, and then all of a sudden you go through a growth spurt,” says Hamawy, adding that children are “not comfortable enough with their own selves yet to be able to make a permanent decision like that.” (Double board certified plastic surgeon Jimmy Firouz says patients should wait until they are 18 to make decisions about plastic surgery, except in the case of deformities, when kids are being bullied for big ears or one abnormally large breast, for example.)
“I think it reflects what our current culture is. When we have video games where people are killing people…I’m not so sure that this is the most evil thing out there,” counters Daniel Barrett, a board certified plastic surgeon who downloaded the Beauty Clinic Plastic Surgery app to put it to the test. But he does agree that the app should be for more mature users (16 and older) to avoid body dysmorphia.
An awareness of plastic surgery is not a bad thing, since kids already see it on Instagram and television, he adds. But Barrett does believe the app developers are seeking publicity by targeting young kids through cartoons.
See inside the game below.
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