According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is the third leading cause of death in kids and young adults ages 15 to 24.  Suicide attempts are on the rise too, from 6.3 percent in 2009 to 7.8 percent in 2011.  A recent study in the Journal of Adolescent Health showed that kids who are bullied are three to five times more likely to have suicidal thoughts or make an attempt than those who are not.

Social media is the newest aide in bullying. Kids now have more access to showcase themselves for the world to see.

In the age of cyber-bullying, a trend has gained popularity on YouTube.

If you do a simple search of “Am I Ugly Or Pretty?” on YouTube, you’ll notice thousands of videos made by young girls asking viewers to judge them based on their looks.  Some of the girls point out their own flaws, such as small ears, or an odd shaped face, but they’re seeking public validation of their beauty.

Take a look at one video in particular:

Although most of the comments were positive, and reassured the young girl that she wasn’t ugly, other comments were quite disgusting and mean:

Johnniboi1997 5 days ago

Ugly attention whore. You look like a pile of crap. Actually a pile of crap looks better than you.

 

Iam soepic 1 week ago

Yes there is you half wit. Some people are ugly, some people are pretty. She is ugly.

 

Eve jepsen 3 weeks ago

OK, brace yourself, coz i WILL be honest. i do not think it’s healthy to patronize you…

i think you are too beautiful, but i hate your hair…

it’s messy and makes you look old…i would go natural, and wear a beautiful fro, or grow my hair naturally and then truly you would look your best:)) hope i helped…

 

It’s sad that young girls are out there seeking validation from a bunch of strangers and chances are they’re taking these comments to heart, but who’s to blame?

Most people would blame society and the fact that people are judged on their looks every day.  But why put yourself out there to be judged even more? It’s bad enough you have to deal with bullies in classrooms at school, but now young girls want to subject themselves to anonymous bullying, all for the sake of having someone say if they’re pretty or not.

Most of the girls in these videos look to be anywhere from the age of 10 to their mid teens. One has to wonder where are their parents, and if they’re even aware their child is posting videos on YouTube. Chances are they have no idea what they’re child is doing.

Are the parents are to blame?

There’s the old saying “mothers love their sons and raise their daughters”. Maybe the 500,000 “Am I Ugly Or Pretty” YouTube videos are from girls that don’t receive love or attention at home. When either of those are missing from a child’s life, they will seek it elsewhere. And nowadays unfortunately, it’s from strangers on the internet.

After watching about 5 of the videos, I appreciated the fact that even though I did point out the flaws I had as a kid to certain family members, they always assured me that I was beautiful, smart and to never let anyone tell me otherwise. Even though I don’t have any daughters of my own, I still make it a point to let my son know the same thing.

If only someone could tell each of these girls on YouTube the same thing, and then remove access to their webcams and social media accounts.

  • Nikkoli

    this seriously breaks my heart….my parents never were vocal abt telling me how beautiful I was..and yes, I did seek that from others…but realized later on in life to look for it in myself.

    so sad.

  • Chelle

    I was never told these things by my parents either and like you and other girls, I sought attention and validation in all the wrong places. I’m 26 yo now and I’m just starting to love the person I am.

  • http://gravatar.com/geenababe geenababe

    I heard about this a long time ago but I didn’t know it was still going on. I think it’s something mental on both sides. From the girl who is trying to seek validation from a bunch of strangers to the people who get their kicks out of saying horrible things.

  • Laura Charles

    These girls posting these videos are seeking attention. The wrong kind of attention and from people they don’t even know. Very sad.

  • Afrostyling

    Pathetic and yes, their parents are to blame.

  • Bree

    These girls are seriously neglected. Parents please love and supervise your children.

  • http://www.lillian-mae.com Knotty Natural

    I wasn’t told that I was beautiful as a child, but my parents did a pretty good job of instilling self esteem and self worth! I feel for these little girls who are basically depending on someone else’s perception of beauty to the wolves! I agree w/ those who have said, parents protect your children and monitor their internet usage! Also, I have to wonder why these young girls are so obsessed w/ beauty? Why not being smart, or athletic, or kind?

  • KG

    I was bullied from high school into college (yup, I was bullied for the first two years of my college years) and my self confidence has been extremely lowered because of it. Even though people tell me I am pretty, when I take pictures of myself and look at them, there is such a disconnect between that picture and how I feel about myself. I I have convinced myself that the person in the picture cannot be me.

    I wish I could hug these girls and tell them that there is nothing wrong with them. That physical flaws are only imperfections of the mind. That the thoughts and opinions of others are only manifestations of that person’s own lack of self confidence. That they should only seek the approval of themselves than other people. That they are simple beautiful.

  • Orange Starr Happy Hunting

    This is just so sad and scary to me. When I was a preteen/adolescent I struggled with my looks, self esteem and acceptance. Awkward not very confident, wanting to fit in and be liked etc It wasn’t until the age of 16 or that I stopped looking outward for acceptance validation etc and started looking inward and owning who I was not caring about fitting in but creating my own lane you know and that is when folks started gravitating towards me. Anyway I cannot imagine having to go through this phase on line and in a public world wide domain such as the internet with all the cruel remarks and facades that are on line personalities. These girls need real life self esteem development and boosting in real time and living color. I think they need more of this in schools as well as what the parents should be doing.

  • Me

    They probably just like you. People tell them how pretty they are and they can’t see it. What changed your mind?

  • http://gravatar.com/geenababe geenababe

    @KG
    Did you live on dorm or were you a commuter. I just never heard of bullying in college not saying you are lying it just crazy. But if people can bully at the workplace I am pretty sure college is not a rare place for that to take place.

  • KG

    I lived in a dorm and was seriously considering transferring because of how bad the bullying got. I was called the n-word and physically assaulted – they were male students who also lived on my floor. Even more surprising, I went to school in the north with a very large and involved minority community. I moved off campus for my junior and senior year which did wonders for my mental psyche.

  • stellaxo

    and the sad thing is, that with social media, we notice these things more than we would without it.

    Imagine how vulnerable these girls are when it comes to dating and pressure from boyfriends. This just highlights how important the roles of mom & dad are to teach/show their children self worth. It also highlights how image obsessed we’ve become in our society. Culture tells us that being ‘pretty’ is an important step to ‘having it all.’ I sympathize with these girls, because the road to loving yourself as you are (especially as a young girl) can be a difficult one. Wish them the best of luck.

  • http://www.lillian-mae.com Knotty Natural

    I hope you filed charges against whomever assaulted you

  • http://www.lillian-mae.com Knotty Natural

    Should have read:
    I feel for these little girls who are basically depending on someone else’s perception of beauty to validate their own; they are wolves!

  • lolala

    This a trend? I remember girls were doing this on myspace when i was a preteen (10 years ago). Guess nothing changes…

  • Eduardo

    I’m glad for this articles. In a few years my daughter and her friends will have more attention on their looks and will be exposed to all kinds of nonsense. During my teenage years (late 80s/early 90s) social places like Facebook or Youtube didn’t exist.

  • noirluv45

    Knotty, I think they are obsessed with beauty maybe because our society is so obsessed with it – not inner beauty, but outer. These videos break my heart. These girls are obviously neglected, and I’ll wager to bet that they probably spend a lot of time watching TV or other mediums that continuously tell girls/women that we have to meet these certain “standards,” plus a society that has cosigned it.

    This is just my take on it.

  • noirluv45

    Young girls like these are very susceptible to perverts who can smell low self-esteem a mile away.

    Parents best wake the heck up and monitor what their children are doing. A friend of mine has two nieces, 9 and 11, who are on the Internet constantly, and her parents don’t even give a rat’s behind as to what they are doing there. She has attempted to tell her brother and sister-in-law that they need to stay on top of what their girls are doing, but they are too busy worrying about drinking and partying. SMH!

  • Treece

    This is so sad. I noticed this trend a while back and it’s so disheartening. It is natural for teen girls to want validation from thier peers at this age, but when they open themselves up to cruel bastards like ones who commented on the first video it does nothing but tear down their already fragile self esteem to shreds. I would get on the whole “parents should monitor their kids internet activity” train, but really, some of these kids are on cell phones recording stuff away from home. At their friends’ houses. You can’t really control what you don’t see, or know is going on if you trust your child enough to leave the house.

    More importantly, I think some parents are doing a piss poor job of raising kids with good character. There are not enough parents focusing on setting good examples for kids or teaching them to be kind to each other, or just plain respectful. It’s like nowadays you have kids who are the white privileged group; and then you have ALL races of adolescents and teens who just seem to me like a generation that is very self-centered, and walk around like thier sh*t don’t stink. And you had better not tell them otherwise, because some of them will cuss you out. They don’t give two sh*ts about you being an “adult”. If they talk nasty about someone else and say mean things they don’t care. If they are threatened with punishment or suspension they don’t care. All that, coupled with the fact that they are harrassing other kids who already are emotionally weak and fragile. Constantly comparing themselves to Beyonce (or, insert your pop star, model, actress here) and thinking they aren’t attractive enough…….It’s a recipe for disaster for teenage kids. Sad.

  • http://twitter.com/hairunruled un’ruly (@hairunruled)

    Every Western woman (and maybe man) should be able to see herself in these girls. If you pay close attention to your everyday actions, you’ll find both obvious and not so obvious instances where you seek outside approval–whether it’s for your work or your appearance. It comes from a desire to belong, to survive, to thrive.

    There’s a lot to gain from a society that puts pretty on a pedestal. So it’s not surprising that women want to be pretty.

    All that to say: we’re up against a lot when it comes to SELF-VALIDATING. The world can make you aware of its perception of you at an early age and it doesn’t stop. As we age we know better than to seek direct validation like these girls, but caring about how the world responds to you can be an ever-present nagging voice that you constantly have to silence. These videos are just showing that we need to start training our girls to silence that voice at a much earlier age than we probably thought.

  • Me

    I get you, but I think silencing that voice is futile because that’s what all animals do. These girls are just really direct about getting the answer, but all animals and species look for validation that they are desirable to other people. You have to be desirable if you want to carry on your family line, and that’s pretty much the basic foundation of what these girls are after. I think they just need to learn that the fact is just about everybody is desirable to somebody, and it’s not necessary to ask even if nobody is in your face telling you you’re desirable every day. You’ll hear it from the person you need to hear it from when it counts the most, so just chill and focus on other things in the mean time.

  • Phillygurl

    I can’t imagine what it is like being a teen in the internet age. This just baffle and disturb me.

  • chnyere

    Honestly, if it were my daughter…I would f**k a chick up

  • Erica

    Scary.

  • Enough Already

    I guess this is the new thing? I don’t know…it seems sad to me to put this online…although I recall being younger and in your circle of friends people sometimes some friends would ask you to rate them out of 10. At the time I thought that was odd but I guess it is this same behaviour now with the YouTube videos. Just back then it was face to face and more private. I personally don’t agree with putting yourself out there on the on the net like that but I guess this behaviour of asking how pretty or ugly you are is really not new..just a new medium to ask the question. Perhaps by seeking strangers they feel the opinion is more valid than that of their friends and family? Asking this question can be tricky as well….I mean everyone has ideas about beauty to them so how do you really know what an outside person thinks of your features is true? They just need time I think to figure out that they are pretty (for lack of a better word) or their own true worth.

  • http://www.lillian-mae.com Knotty Natural

    I think you’re right! That’s why I think parents need to build their girls (and boys) from the inside, out. Not only that, but get them off the damn internet and TV! Make sure they have actual personal, face to face relationships with people! Put them in sports, math and science activities, dance, ANYTHING that gets them away from a screen and actually encourages LIVING life!

  • Bren

    The sad thing about this is that the inquirer will beat themselves up over the few negative comments rather than focusing on all the positive things about themselves. Attractiveness varies from person to person so people do themselves a disservice by seeking validation from others in this arena.

  • ruggie

    And they’re different from their adult counterparts how?

  • Blue

    “Are the parent’s to blame”? Yes & no. I do feel parent’s should teach & monitor their kids activities. They should also be a positive influence to their kids but think about it….You can talk about having high self esteem & loving yourself to you’re blue in the face but that person has to realize it for their self. And at that age, it’s tough. You want to be liked, you want to be admired by your peers. You want to be cool. You want to be popular. For a lot of kids, the opinions of others means everything. Now this attitude has moved to social media. It’s sad these kids set themselves up to be cyber bullied. Now this really takes a negative effect on their self esteem. The internet is an evil place where what people wouldn’t normally say to your face, they say it behind a computer screen. They shouldn’t let others opinions of them dictate how they feel about themselves. That’s what they have to be taught.

  • Danger

    This reminds me of a friend of mine. She has a 9 year old daughter and one day she caught her googling, “How to be popular…”. I remember being this way to some degree, but there was no Youtube or Facebook to capture it. I think parents must do their best to ground their children. They have to set a great example. But then the rest is just a matter prayer because ultimately you can’t control your children’s every thought or action.

  • Phillygurl

    Exactly, I am rarely on Facebook and Twitter because my nearly middle aged counterparts annoy the crap out of me sometimes. Attention seeking doesn’t always change with age.

  • Concerned

    It is questionable why a girl would subject themselves to people judging them on a website. But what is worst is the people who sit at home and say awful things to the girl. What type of person are you that you want to be so unkind? I mean are they happy after they hit enter? I find this just as disturbing.

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