Posted by Deborah Pujoue on February 27, 2012
A new YouTube trend is causing concern for parents and some psychiatric experts alike. It turns out that young girls are posting videos on YouTube asking the notoriously brutal commentators, “Am I Ugly?”
Kids posting videos on YouTube is hardly new, but when kids seek validation from comments and “likes” on their posts, they may find themselves the targets of cyber bullies. As for why these girls are doing this, New York-based child psychiatrist Francisco Gonzalez-Franco told Yahoo! Trend interviewers “on a basic level, the videos are a masochistic way to diminish their anxiety.”
Gonzalez-Franco also stated that the girls are likely feeling incomplete without the public validation that they are attractive. Some of the commentators themselves are posting disturbing and even scary replies to these girls. (Far too racy to write about here.) If you want to get an idea of the types of things that are being said to these kids, you can simply visit YouTube and type “am I ugly” in the search bar. The videos are disturbing, but the comments are even worse.
While some of the comments posted to these videos are words of encouragement and even complementary, other commentators are making sexual advances toward these kids or criticizing the girls and calling them attention seekers (but in a more vulgar manner). Even if the children are seeking attention, it seems that they are exposing themselves for the worst version of it. In a popular public forum like YouTube, there should be more monitoring of what children post — but let’s face it, YouTube admins can only do so much. With millions of new videos being posted on a daily basis, no one can expect the admins of the site to know every move that every kid makes. Nor can it be expected that the admins will catch and delete hurtful and inappropriate commentators’ replies to every post, so it is up to vigilant moms and dads to try to monitor their children’s online activities.
But don’t take my word for it. According to the CDC, suicide takes the lives of about 4,400 youths per year. According to information from http://bullyingstatistics.org, “For every suicide among young people, there are at least 100 suicide attempts. Over 14 percent of high school students have considered suicide, and almost 7 percent have attempted it. Bully victims are between 2 to 9 times more likely to consider suicide than non-victims, according to studies by Yale University.”
These statistics alone are alarming and worth taking some extra time out to talk to our children and teens about what they are posting on the internet. When kids seek validation that badly, I see it as a warning sign. This new YouTube trend certainly poses a reminder that not all kids are posting their talents online in the hopes of becoming the next Justin Bieber to be discovered; some kids are begging for kindness and getting bullied and insulted instead. For the kids that are posting these videos, the insults and bullying may be too much to handle.