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2nd Story

Cyber bimbo game riles parents, media

Breast implants. Diet pills. Wild nights at a night club.
All of this adds up to an online game aimed at girls ages 9 to 16? In Miss Bimbo, billed as a "virtual fashion game," users try to keep their cyber hottie happy as they try to become "the coolest, the richest and most famous bimbo in the world." More than 300,000 players have registered in the U.K. and 1.2 million in France, according to a March 27 Canada.com article.

Players progress through the levels by completing such tasks as finding a mate who is "Mr. Right right now," having "a nip and tuck operation for a brand new face," or dropping weight for bikini season.. Throughout the game you can earn or purchase "bimbo dollars" so you can acquire breast implants, lingerie, outfits or, until recently, diet pills.

It is all just "harmless fun," according to London-based web designer, Nicolas Jacquart, who created the game. "The game is structured in such a way that it simply mirrors real life in a tongue-in-cheek way," he was quoted as saying in a March 25 Tech Herald story.

However, the website has upset parent groups and attracted media attention in various countries. New Zealand's Children's Commissioner, Cindy Kiro said "An adult looking at this would understand they're making choices that are not healthy choices but for children it's quite likely they're seeing this as quite cool," according to a March 26 Television New Zealand website story.

"This is as lethal as pro-anorexia websites," said Dee Dawson, medical director at the U.K.'s Rhodes Farm Clinic, which treats girls with eating disorders, according to a March 26 vnunet.com posting. "A lot of children will get caught up with the extremely damaging and appalling messages."

In reaction to the uproar, the site has pulled the option of buying diet pills for the virtual character. It states "in light of this week's proceedings it is the correct action to take." However, on the same page of Miss Bimbo, a posting reads "we would also like to remind players that the Miss Bimbo team assumes no responsibility or liability for any fashion faux pas, hair style disasters or boob jobs incurred in real life as a result of playing the Miss Bimbo game."

In a side note, socialite Paris Hilton has been drawn into the controversy. In a Showbiz Tonight piece about the website, the CNN show asked, according to a March 27 National Ledger story, "Are young girls being inspired by the likes of Paris Hilton to strip?" In response, the website apologized for the media's comparisons of Miss Bimbo and Hilton: "We feel that this does a disservice to the players whom send their bimbos to university, tea parties or chess tournaments."

Some of the players competing to be the coolest bimbo are upset by the media blitz.

"How is this any different than playing with a Barbie doll? This is a doll game," wrote PixieChickAz in a March 28 post on the site's forum. "I play on here with my daughter and I can honestly say that she's never asked me for plastic surgery or a boob job. The media needs to quit putting the responsibility to raise our children on television . If you raise your kids right they will know the difference between fantasy and reality."

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