- Robert A Iger (Board of Directors)Board of Directors
- Angela Ahrendts (Senior Vice President, Retail and Online)Senior Vice President, Retail and Online
- Tim CookCEO Apple
- Lisa JacksonVice President, Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives
- Apple Media Australia
- Apple Media Enquiry
iTunes remove 'plastic surgery' apps for kids
Have you ever searched for 'plastic surgery kids' in the iTunes App Store? We are guessing you haven't because a) you wouldn't think that such things exist, b) most parents would never let their children play with these harmful 'games', which are really just marketing material and c) why would you? We did. Because it's our job. We work in eating disorders and body dissatisfaction prevention. We work with parents and children from all walks of life to teach them that to be happy in your body, no matter what size, shape or colour it may be, is the healthiest, most empowering thing you can do! Marketing cosmetic surgery to children is harmful. It is wrong. We want it to STOP. We can give you all the facts and data about why apps with cosmetic surgery content should not be shown to children, but our guess is, you don't need them. If you agree that 'plastic surgery' apps designed for children should be permanently removed from worldwide iTunes platforms, please help us to petition Apple to make this change. Thank you for your support. The EMBodIED Research Team, La Trobe University and The Butterfly Foundation, Australia
- Board of Directors
Robert A Iger (Board of Directors)
- Senior Vice President, Retail and Online
Angela Ahrendts (Senior Vice President, Retail and Online)
- CEO Apple
- Vice President, Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives
- Apple Media Australia
- Apple Media Enquiry
I am petitioning Apple to permanently remove all apps with cosmetic surgery content designed for children. Apps currently available on iTunes use children’s themes, colours, music, language and characters to directly encourage children (4+ apps), pubescent adolescents (12+ apps) and teens (17+ apps) to simulate surgical procedures such as rhinoplasty and liposuction. I also encourage Apple to review its policies to ensure that harmful appearance-based content is not being marketed to children in the future.
I agree with the EMBodIED Research Team at La Trobe University and The Butterfly Foundation Australia that all apps with cosmetic surgery content designed for children should be permanently removed from all iTunes platforms worldwide.
These apps are in appropriate and potentially harmful for the following reasons:
1. Cosmetic surgery is not recommended for people under 18 years of age, and is not legal without parental consent while an individual is a minor. These apps may be accessed without parental consent if a mobile device does not require a password for an iTunes purchase. Many of the apps are free to download.
2. Cosmetic surgery should not be marketed to children. Apps designed for children, which have cosmetic surgery content, are a form of marketing to children. Advertising codes, such as those by the Australian Association of National Advertisers state that marketing for products or services are considered to be “directed primarily to children if they use children’s themes and characters.” There are more than 20 apps that use children’s themes and characters to simulate surgical procedures, currently available on iTunes.
3. Apps with cosmetic surgery content openly reinforce stereotyped and narrow beauty ideals through their imagery, language and the activities users are encouraged to undertake. These messages are damaging to children, who are particularly vulnerable to social messages about appearance, fitting in and beauty ideals.
4. Body dissatisfaction is a strong risk factor for the development of depression, anxiety, obesity, smoking and eating disorders by the time a child reaches adolescence. Apps marketing cosmetic surgery to children are likely to increase risk for, or actual experience of, body dissatisfaction, and thereby also increase risk for a range of debilitating and complex health issues.
5. Research has shown that by the time a child is 4 years old they are able to internalise and express negative social stereotypes about appearance, such as ‘fat people are mean’ and ‘thin people are tidy’. In addition to what are likely to be harmful effects on health, giving children access to cosmetic surgery marketing material is highly likely to negatively influence a child’s developing ideas of beauty, personal value and self-worth.
Apple is a world leader in developing technology that enhances children’s ability to learn about and engage with their world. I believe Apple should take its social responsibility to children very seriously and protect our next generation from harmful content by permanently removing all cosmetic surgery content designed for children from its worldwide iTunes platforms.
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