Surgery app aimed at nine-year-olds removed from the App Store


by Kate Heslop| 15 January 2014

Apple and Google remove controversial app from their online app stores after Twitter backlash.

An app that was promoting plastic surgery to children as young as nine has been removed from the App Store after people took to Twitter and Facebook to complain.

The app, called Plastic Surgery & Plastic Doctor & Plastic Hospital Office for Barbie, was created by Corina Rodriquez. It appears to have no links to Mattel, the makers of the Barbie franchise.

The version on Google Play, called Plastic Surgery, has also been taken down.

The game involves performing cosmetic surgery on a female cartoon character, including performing liposuction.

Once the user has given the girl plastic surgery, she is revealed as thinner and users can compare the character's body before and after the surgery.

The blurb of the app said: "This unfortunate girl has so much extra weight that no diet can help her. In our clinic she can go through a surgery called liposuction that will make her slim and beautiful. We'll need to make small cuts on problem areas and suck out the extra fat. Will you operate her, doctor??"

This caused controversy on social networking sites such as Twitter, putting pressure on Apple and Google to remove the app.

Although the app has been taken down, there is another game called Plastic Surgery for Barbara that is still available on the App Store. This game is listed as being suitable for people aged 12 and over.

In a statement, former British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons president, Nigel Mercer, described the app as "disgraceful". He said: "This app blatantly and shamelessly uses child-friendly brand names [such as Barbie] to target young, vulnerable children and exposes them to sexist and disturbing rhetoric as the 'game' critiques the body of a cartoon character who does not conform to an unrealistic beauty standard.

"That Apple or Google could condone this disgraceful app as a game suitable for children is no less than sickening.

"This app should not be available because it is not 'socially responsible'."

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