A few days ago, news outlets reported on "WW" – formerly known as the diet industry giant Weight Watchers, now operating underneath the wellness sugar coating of "wellness that works", but still being a diet company – and its release of a diet app targeted at children as young as 8 years old. The app called "Kurbo" separates food into categories of "good" and "bad" and is supposed to help its users make healthy choices.
What the app and the whole idea it’s based on ignore, just like every other weight-loss diet, is the fact that your own body can tell you what nourishment it needs. It also feeds the assumption that only slim bodies are good bodies and that thin equals healthy, while fat equals unhealthy. This is a dangerous and erroneous message to promote to children.
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Together, we managed to put enough pressure on a giant company to make them take a hard look at their policy around cosmetic surgery apps for children and change it (or the enforcement of it) for the better.
Back in April, an Apple spokesperson made the following positive statement to the media about the company’s stance on cosmetic surgery apps targeting children: “‘We do not want nor allow these types of apps on the store. We have rules in place against these apps and do not offer them on the App Store.’”
Although we were pleased to see that these cosmetic surgery “games” in Apple’s app store were removed, we were reluctant to declare victory because, over the last four years, Apple would swiftly remove flagged apps but new ones would quickly take their place. As our petition was focused on companies creating an official policy, we wanted to be confident that the absence of cosmetic surgery apps for kids in Apple’s app store was a permanent change. After several months of monitoring Apple’s app store, we are now sure:
Kids, Body Image and Technology
By Deirdre Cowman, Co-ordinator of Endangered Bodies Ireland
Technology is an amazing and sometime scary thing! It offers children opportunities for creativity, learning and fun but can also an impact on how they see themselves and their bodies. As parents, you want your children to enjoy all the exciting experiences that technology can offer and to grow up with a healthy relationship with their bodies. As today, February 5, is international safer internet day, you may hear and read a lot about various aspects of digital safety. One aspect of technology that doesn’t receive a lot of attention is the relationship between computer games and body image. Many parents are already aware of the need to make their home a body positive environment but struggle when it comes to staying on top of potential negative influences online and in games. More and more parents are concerned about how to help their children to feel comfortable in their skin in a digital world.