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Girl, 7, has plastic surgery to prevent bullying

Plastic surgery - such as ear pinning - is on the rise among young people.

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How far would you go to spare your child from being the victim of bullying? One South Dakota mom allowed her seven-year-old daughter to get plastic surgery to have her ears pinned back after she was teased about them.

Telling her story on Good Morning America (and thereby subjecting her daughter to further scrutiny), Cammy Shaw acknowledged that her fellow adults actually tended to be meaner than their kids, but defended the operation: "This was a preventative way, so she wouldn't get bullied."

The Good Morning America segment included a video of her daughter, Samantha, getting the bandages snipped off her head (complete with before and after pictures), and the reporter's breathless declaration that the big reveal was "an epic moment that would change her life forever." Samantha, all cheerful sweetness with her blond bob, tells the camera, "I really don't like people asking about my ears."

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Statistics show that plastic surgery is on the rise for teenagers. And studies suggests that young people seek out plastic surgery most often to help boost their self-esteem or to avoid bullying. One study reported that reality television shows that celebrate the results of plastic surgery have also made it a more accessible procedure.

Still, as the Good Morning America piece pointed out, more than a few famous people have been able to get by with an oversized set of ears - including the current president of the United States.

So is it a better life lesson to learn to live with a unique characteristic, even if it gets you teased? Or, given the damaging impact of bullying, should a child be allowed to go under the knife to avoid years of pain?

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About the Author

Erin Anderssen writes about mental health, social policy and family issues. More

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