'Am I Ugly' Videos Show Painful Teenage Reality

Video 12

am i ugly or prettyYou remember that "Hot or Not?" site where people posted their photo and everyone voted on their looks? That horribleness has gone to YouTube and teens and tweens (mostly girls) are posting videos of themselves asking strangers, "Am I ugly or pretty?"

Now this might be a "better" reason to shoot your child's computer. (Not really.) It's horrifying that teens are doing this, but I can't help but regress right back to my own teen years when I see these girls, full of insecurity, wondering what other people think about them. I get it. I've been there. But when I was there, the Internet didn't exist as it does today so all of the teen pressure to fit in and be thought of as pretty happened on a smaller scale -- in the neighborhood or in school. That's what makes this even more dangerous. These videos not only open a child up for ridicule from their peers, but total strangers. Some who may even be predators. Watch one very pretty young lady's video ....

I watched a few of these and got so upset. One very thin and beautiful young girl said: “A lot of people call me ugly and I think I am ugly and fat. But all of my friends that are girls are like, ‘Oh, you’re so beautiful,’ and I’m just like, ‘Shut up, because I’m not beautiful.’”

Yes, it's masochistic -- completely self-destructive -- to post these and actually welcome critique, but this is a young girl. A sensitive young person at a tender age filled with a yearning for acceptance, who measures her worth by how pretty others think she is. This is very common for many teens and tweens.

Sometimes I find the not-so-nice comments on my writings hurtful -- and I'm a big girl ... I can take it. But kids ... what other people think of them means everything. Posting an "Am I Ugly" video exposes their insecurity to potential predators, who know just what to say to an emotionally fragile child. It also opens them up to bullying.

Nothing good can come of it. So what can we do as parents?

We have to see it as a cry for help. This is the very reason it's good to keep tabs on our kids, see where they are posting online, being involved without being overly intrusive. So many of these kids are in need of self-esteem and confidence. But that isn't something that always magically happens. Sometimes professional help is needed.

Parry Aftab, a cyberbully prevention expert, told HLN:

Kids since forever have looked for ways to show that they are as good as others. Now you are able to quantify it. They really, honest to God, have no measure of how pretty they are, unless it’s ranked, unless it’s starred. Kids now function with numerical measures of how popular they are -- so how many people viewed your page, how many people friended you, how many people liked your page -- it’s all quantifiable now. Over the course of development and with repeated exposure to these messages, many girls internalize these values and the result can be shame, anxiety, poor body image, low self-esteem, depression, and/or sexualized expectations of their roles and their future.

I think we need to start a dialogue early with our kids ... make sure they know they can come to us or another family member to talk about things, even their insecurities. I think we need to remind our kids of their worth, and how it isn't about being the prettiest. Though that is an uphill battle considering the perfect images we see airbrushed and PhotoShopped on magazine covers and the stick-figure model look far too often being the ideal for young women. We, as parents, have a lot of work to do. And we can do it. We need to realize that they may even be a time that we need to ask for help -- because we aren't always perfect or able to solve everything either. And that's okay. We can't blame ourselves for everything our children do or think of ourselves as a failure -- there is no time for that. We just need to be there for our kids in whatever way they need us.

What do you think of these "Am I Ugly" videos? Does it concern you as a parent?

behavior, body image, tough topics


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mjp2707 mjp2707

This is so heartbreaking that such a little girl feels like she needs the world to justify how pretty she is. If I found out my daughter posted this I would be so upset. Wow

nonmember avatar MZippGutknecht

This is terrible,I would be upset if my daughter did this. So sad girls are so pressured to be pretty.

paren... parentalrights1

These teens don't understand that people's standard of beauty completely changes when they are online looking at photos and videos than in person.

Someone who is considered beautiful in person will be considered plain on the internet. There seems to be a model standard online rather than the realistic standard. It's something I've definately noticed.

Look at some girls in your school or in your everyday life that you consider pretty, then imagine putting their photo online. They would not get alot of high ratings like they would in person. It's weird but it's like that.

the4m... the4mutts

I don't think teens, and especially tweens, should be allowed to pot videos online. Hello! They're putting their face out for the world to see, and many times giving away personal information, like what school they go to.

I'm not going to comment on the "looks" aspect of things. But these parents need to get their kids's faces off youtube NOW!!

nonmember avatar Cass

What do you expect? The best way to gain attention in our society is to be hot. The Kardashians are American royalty... Because one of them is hot and made a sex tape. Kate Upton is worshipped for being hot. These women are doted on, while those who make legitimate contributions to society are often ignored. So no, you don't get to be surprised and outraged when teen girls can only measure their value by what others think of their appearance. This is the society you helped build. Either work towards fixing it or deal with the consequences.

tigge... tigger238

I hate that people are offering sympathy towards these kids. They are obviously posting these videos for attention! They don't care if it is positive or negative.

Ember... Emberbaby

This is so sad.

SwePea SwePea

Our culture is directly responsible.

Sucro... SucroseMonkey

I work for a forum site that has areas geared toward teens and we had to institute a "am I pretty/ugly/fat/etc.?" ban.  We were being inundated with these and a lot of the replies (reguardless of what the girl looked like) were vicous.  

There were those who were obviously doing it for attention and just wanted to bait people, but there were those who were really wanting somekind of validation.  You could tell because of body language, facial expression, etc.  For the record, doing duck face doesn't give you any credibility of being serious.


nonmember avatar Mrs. Clark

This is so sad, and I see a lot of myself in these girls when I was a teen. Ur self esteem should be coming from ur family,unfortunately many times it is not. I remember being 15 years old and my own mother telling me how pretty I am, and then turning right back around and saying, u should lose 10 pounds or u could lose 10 pounds. I don't think people realize how damaging that can be. These poor girls are opening themselves up for ridicule.

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