Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Miss Bimbo

With due supervision, there are many useful resources on the internet for children.

Miss Bimbo isn't one of them.

Miss Bimbo offers the chance to 'become the most famous, beautiful, sought after bimbo across the globe!' In the game, players find a cool place to live, a job, shop for the latest fashions, become a socialite, date famous 'hotties' and, more worrying, resort to medications (diet pills) or plastic surgery in a bid to becoming the reigning bimbo.

While the site warns registrants must get their parents permission if they're under 18, there's nothing to stop any child registering. In fact, the site is targeted at the 9-16 age group.

Concerned about possible impact on body image and associated eating patterns, welfare groups are understandably up in arms. Read here, here and here for starters.

Bill Hibberd, of parents' rights group Parentkind, quoted in the Times article, says the game sends a dangerous message to young girls.

"It is one thing if a child recognizes it as a silly and
stupid game but the danger is that a nine-year-old
fails to appreciate the irony and sees the Bimbo as
a cool role model. Then the game becomes a
hazard and a menace."

However, the creators of "Miss Bimbo" claim it is "harmless fun." As reported in the Times article, Nicolas Jacquart, the 23-year-old French web designer who created it, denies it's a bad influence for young children, saying they learn to take care of their bimbos and that the missions and goals are morally sound and teach children about the real world.

Right. That's okay then.

Of course, while registration is free, there's nothing like the money being charged to players for text messages to buy bimbo dollars/goods to skew your judgement.


Alison said...

I'm glad you posted on this, I heard about it this morning. It's continually disturbing that greed so often overrides ethical behaviour concerning children.

Anonymous said...

This was covered on the local news here in California last night. It doesn't seem like something I would have wanted my daughter to get into at that age (or even now!). It perpetuates some bad ideas.

I found it interesting that it was males that invented this website. It makes you wonder what they're thinking when they think of the perfect girlfriend or wife. And since when is all this crap part of the "real world"? I have a hard time with the idea that Jacquart actually believes what he says about the benefits of the website since he calls them "bimbos." It's not the nicest thing to call a female.


Psychgrad said...

I enjoy playing SIMS, but it does seem unnecessary to develop a game like this and market it to teens. It seems like if ethical behaviour is not legally required (not that I am fan of creating laws/bylaws), some people just don't care.

Health Psych said...

Hi Alison,
Yep, two issues here really...the body image/plastic surgery/drugs for weight control thing, particularly given the targeted age but also the money aspect.

Hi Donna,
The site is open to boys too. Not sure how that fits in. Himbos possibly?

Hi Psychgrad,
The parallel to SIMS struck me. My daughter does play SIMS/Pets but we're always around when she does. She created a SIMS to represent me. It was an ideal opportunity to explore image since she created me as 'Dolly Psrton meets Nicole Richie' if you catch my drift. We talked about what was realistic. When I came back 5 minutes later, I'd been blown up to the max. Ha.

Beachwriter said...

Interesting. It is amazing what is out there in cyberspace for our kids to see and be involved in.

It is sad! Very sad. My kids were not aloud on the internet until they were 15 years old!!!