The U.K. advertising watchdog announced that they will ban all adverts for cosmetic surgeries designed to change a person's physical appearance if it targets users who are under 18 years old. The new rule will come into full force starting May 2022.
U.K. to Ban Cosmetic Surgery Ads That Targets Minors
Companies can no longer advertise procedures like nose jobs and breast enhancements across social media platforms that people under 18 years of age use when the new rule is implemented. That also includes T.V. programs.
In the United Kingdom, it is illegal to perform cosmetic procedures on patients under 18 years of age, but there have been no restrictions on advertising it to them, according to BBC.
The decision comes after a consultation by the Committee for Advertising Practice or CAP, which writes the rules that all advertisers in the United Kingdom need to follow.
Setting the Bar High
The CAP raised concerns about the harm of advertising cosmetic changes to young people as it may cause mental health issues and body image pressures. The potential complications of the procedure are also taken into consideration.
People who are interested in getting cosmetic surgery are those who are younger, mostly minors, and those who are above the age of 40.
The Committee stated that the evidence contributed to a clearer picture showing that children and young people are vulnerable to body image pressures.
Shahriar Coupal, the CAP director, said that because of the risks of cosmetic intervention procedures and their potential appeal to young people struggling with body confidence issues, it is important that they set the bar high in terms of marketing.
The ban also covers skin rejuvenation treatments, dermal fillers and injectable treatments, chemical peels, laser, light treatments, and teeth whitening products.
Earlier this year, the Advertising Standards Authority or ASA named a couple of social media celebrities to break the advertising rules.
Luke Mabbott from Love Island, Gabby Allen, Lauren Goodger from Towie, and TikTok celebrities from The Wave House have all been asked to take some posts down because they were not labeled as adverts.
In August, ASA named four celebrities who broke the rules: Jodie Marsh, Chloe Khan, Chloe Ferry, and Lucy Mecklenburgh.
Effects of Social Media on Teenagers
Since social media platforms are more popular than ever, experts stated that it had taken its toll on its young audience, as they are forced to see perfect bodies and skin from models worldwide, and they can't help but compare themselves to them.
According to Common Sense Media, around 75% of teenagers have social media profiles and log on to them every day. Too much online activities can cause depression and anxiety, especially if the content is not filtered.
The study also states that 1 in 4 teenagers suffer from body issues and eating disorders due to the cosmetic surgery ads and diet "tips" that they see online. Teenage girls began considering cosmetic surgery ever since selfies became popular in 2014.
Social media consumption also causes sleep deprivation. In the report that the Journal of Youth Studies posted, out of 900 teenagers that they have interviewed, one-fifth of them admitted to waking up in the middle of the night to log in to their social media account.
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Written by Sophie Webster