Parents in the UK, France, Australia and New Zealand are horrified at an online game being marketed to their pre-teen daughters: Miss Bimbo.
Parents' groups have condemned a new internet game in which girls as young as nine are encouraged to "buy" their virtual dolls breast operations and facelifts.
The aim of the Miss Bimbo beauty contest game, which was launched in Britain last month, is to become the "hottest, coolest, most famous bimbo in the whole world", and contestants who compete against each other are told to "stop at nothing", even "meds or plastic surgery", to ensure their dolls win.
Children are given a naked virtual character to look after. They compete against other players to earn "bimbo" dollars so they can dress her in sexy outfits and take her clubbing. They are given missions, including securing plastic surgery at the game's clinic to give their dolls bigger breasts, and they have to keep her at her target weight with diet pills.
Although it is free to play, when the contestants run out of virtual cash they have to send text messages costing £1.50 each or use PayPal to top up their accounts.
But fear not, plastic surgery and dieting are not only about self-absorption and mindless consumerism. They are vital weapons in service of that all-important goal: getting a man. Some of the targets:
After you broke up with your boyfriend you went on an eating binge! Now it's time to diet... Your goal weight is...
Have a nip and tuck operation for a brand new face. You've found work as a plus-size model. To gain those vivacious curves, you need to weigh...
Summertime is coming up and bikini weather is upon us. You want to turn heads on the beach don't you?
Bigger is better! Have a breast operation
There is a billionaire on vacation... You must catch his eye and his love!
Are you nauseated yet?
A few quick Google News searches revealed a lot of parental outrage, which is good news. Meanwhile, telecom regulators are investigating the website, because it appears that children are being encouraged to call premium-rate numbers, and the game may "exploit or provide content that parents are likely to think unacceptable", which is inconsistent with the Phonepayplus ethical code.
I wonder, how many years from now will the name "Miss Bimbo" surface in eating-disorder support groups? The game will long since have disappeared, but its effects may be felt every time a malnourished young woman looks in the mirror and believes she is too fat.
Thanks to Mara for turning me on to this.