Plastic Surgery Apps for Children Exist – Here’s How We Can Stop Them

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Diana Denza and Stacey Lorin Merkl

Plastic surgery is not a game – unless you’re a young child with access to a smartphone. Hundreds of cosmetic surgery apps featuring child-friendly, animated characters are available for download via Google, Apple, and Amazon. Using medical tools like scalpels and syringes, children can slice apart the bodies of cartoon princesses and mermaids until they are “perfect.”

Does this sound more like a nightmare than a fantasy-themed kids’ game to you? If you’re just as horrified by these games as we are, we invite you to take action now

We started a petition against these plastic surgery apps with Endangered Bodies, a global activist organization challenging the toxic culture that fuels negative body image. As of today, our petition has amassed over 120,000 signatures from concerned people across the world. Our U.S. petition is linked to eight international petitions across the globe.

According to the National Eating Disorders Association, 81% of 10-year-olds are afraid of being “fat.” In a society that places so much value on a narrow definition of beauty, plastic surgery apps send the message to impressionable children that the only way to “win” at life is to radically alter your body. 

As our petition continues to build momentum, we aim to work with Google, Apple, and Amazon to develop a policy against accepting these types of apps. Together, we can protect vulnerable children from the devastating effects of body hatred. Will you join us?

Diana Denza is an LGBTQ+, feminist, and body-positive activist who currently works as NEDA’s Senior Communications Associate. She has managed Endangered Bodies NYC’s social media channels since 2013. 

Stacey Lorin Merkl is the Founder/Executive Director of Realize Your Beauty, a non-profit organization promoting positive body image to youth through theatre arts.