Free online games for young girls shown to 'significantly' lower body confidence

(1 ratings) Dress Up Dream Date
Of all of the things your child could be getting up to on the internet, dress-up games, to many parents, seem comparatively safe.

However, new research from the University of West London has shown that some games in particular can be 'significantly' damaging to young girls' body confidence.

The study asked a group of 40 eight and nine-year-olds from south-west England to play a free game hosted on called Dream Date Dress Up, which requires players to tailor their look to a virtual character's liking.

If they get their look 'wrong', they're told they're 'not his type'.

Another 40 were asked to play Penguin Diner – a game on that is not appearance focused.

The children were then shown a selection of silhouttes and told to identify which body shape was most similar to their own, and which they thought was most desirable.

Whilst both groups mostly selected a slimmer figure, those who had played Dream Date Dress up demonstrated a far greater preference for the thinner body types.

'This is concerning because we know that girls who have body dissatisfaction at a young age are more likely to experience ongoing concerns when they grow up,'Dr Amy Slater, a senior research fellow at the University of West London, explained.

'Body dissatisfaction is known to be a risk factor for lowered self-esteem, disordered eating and depression.'

'A game like that is sending a fairly blatant message for young girls that they need to change their appearance in order to be appealing to a boy, and that you need to focus on your appearance to be attractive to the opposite sex.'

'Young girls of six, seven, eight, nine and 10 are the target audience for this game. Do they need to even be thinking about how they would prepare to go on a date, and how they can make themselves look cute?'

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Would you let your child play Dream Date Dress Up? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below.

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I used to play this game and until reading this article i thought it was absolutely harmless and just a bit of fun. I see where you are coming from however when a little girl or boy plays this game they would generally be 7,8,9 or 10 at this age they wouldn't care what there body looks like or be that worried by their appearance.Grease the movies main character Sandy in the final scene changes herself completely for a boy but nobody ever makes a fuss out of that.

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