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Camera-equipped Barbie sparks controversy

A new Barbie doll that comes equipped with a video camera has sparked a controversy Down Under.

The doll, called "Barbie Video Girl," has a camera embedded in its necklace that lets kids film each other, creating video clips up to 30 minutes long that can be viewed on an LCD screen on the doll's back and downloaded to their computers.

Once online, those videos could be used inappropriately, according to Sally-Anne McCormack, a clinical psychologist.

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"I am calling for all Australians to boycott this product and to refuse to shop in any store that justifies selling this potentially pornographic tool," she told the Herald Sun.

"Children don't look at video clips the way that adults do, and there might be inappropriate shots that they upload on to YouTube," she told the Sydney Morning Herald.

While the doll might creep some parents out, it's hardly as if kids today don't have access to cameras, whether it's through their cell phones or iPods.

"I don't think you can stifle innovation, the proliferation of mobile phones, hidden pen cameras...there are so many of them out there already, I can't see how one extra can tilt the balance from the playful to the perverse," Christopher Zinn, a spokesperson for the consumer group Choice, told The Sydney Morning Herald.

He added that it's likely we'll start to see more such toys in the future.

"As the cost of video innovation drops, there will be more and more. I don't think it's fair to say that kids' toys can't have cameras in them."

Parents, what do you think?

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About the Author

Dave McGinn writes about fitness trends for the Life section and also reports for Globe Arts. Prior to joining the Globe, he was a freelance journalist, covering topics from trying to eat Michael Phelps' diet to why the Joker is the best villain in comics history. He's working on improving his 10k time. More

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