Girls (and some boys) as young as 11 are posting videos on YouTube asking the world to rate their looks. “Am I ugly?” they’ll ask while posing for the camera. “Am I pretty?” is another popular one. Comments range from supportive to downright nasty.
One 12-year-old girl tells the camera, “I think I’m ugly and fat…so I just want to know what you think.” (The girl, by the way, is notably thin.) As creepy as the video itself are some of the comments. Case in point: “Damn, you’re cute. Too young for me though” and “…you are SO FUCKING UGLY…I ALMOST VOMITED SHIT.” (Charming, right?)
Another high-school girl wonders why she doesn’t have a boyfriend, asking the camera, “I just wanna know… Am I pretty? Am I ugly? I can take it. You can tell me.”
What’s so disturbing about this trend is not only the fact that tweens and teens are turning to Internet trolls for affirmation, but also the fact that most comments only end up making them feel worse. Even grown men and women have a hard time accepting criticism, but at least most of us are mature enough to know that there are lots of crazies out there on the world wide web. An 11-year-old doesn’t have that maturity. And so a mean-spirited comment from a total stranger could be enough to set an already insecure girl down a path of self-destruction.
Never mind the bigger picture, which is that these kids are so obsessed with their looks in the first place. I guess that’s to be expected – it’s all part of adolescence, no matter what decade you happened to grow up in – but technology just brings this obsession to a whole new level. Needless to say, it’s not healthy. Just Google “Am I Ugly?” and you’ll see what I mean. Too bad YouTube isn’t keeping tabs on what goes up on its site; though more concerning is that parents aren’t aware of what their impressionable young teens might be doing in front of their computers all day long.