Teen body image

Adolescence, with the acne, awkwardness and hormone changes that embody this pivotol time in life, is already hard enough for most kids. But some have started looking for reassurance in a disturbing place: the internet.

Kids turn to Internet for reassurance

These girls (and a handful of boys) posted videos on YouTube, asking random viewers if they are pretty or ugly. The videos have garnered millions of views and many harsh comments for these insecure kids.

YouTube, a vehicle for insecurities

One can type in the simple phrase "am I ugly" and pull up an assortment of adolescents baring their souls to the internet world at large. Many look into the camera and ask viewers for their honest opinions: Are they ugly or pretty?

"I just wanted to make a random video seeing if I was, like, ugly or not because a lot of people call me ugly," one of the girls, who looks middle school age, said candidly into the camera. "I think I'm ugly and fat."

Her video, which was posted in 2010, has received more than three million views and multiple pages of comments. The video received 101 new comments during the time it took to view it. Comments run the gamut from positive -- "You are lovely. But you have to feel pretty inside. Other opinions don't matter." -- to those that are frank and hurtful -- "You are ugly," or "It looks like she doesn't have eyebrows."

Such is a typical "Am I ugly?" video being posted by youngsters and the responses from random Internet voyeurs.

New trend for teens?

The story was first brought to light by Jezebel, and has since become an Internet phenomenon.

"There are dozens of videos along these lines, and nearly all of them are made by teenagers displaying the same awkward shrugs and smiles meant to display an artificial casualness," Jezebel's report reads.

Kids as young at 11 are asking viewers to comment on their looks, even though YouTube's policy does not allow for people younger than 13 to post videos.

The role parents can take

"Low self-esteem begins for many kids right around the time puberty happens."

Low self-esteem begins for many kids right around the time puberty happens.

"Girls today face significant pressure to be physically attractive and have a perfect body," states Mayo Clinic. "As a result, many girls feel dissatisfied with their bodies and are at higher risk of developing mental health problems."

Parents can take a proactive role in the self-confidence of their youngsters, girls and boys. Parents are encouraged to have certain conversations with their teens involving the impact of genetics and hormones during puberty, media images and self-perception.

Watch one of the "Am I Ugly?" videos posted on YouTube

Tell us

How can we bolster our kids' self esteems so they don't turn to YouTube for reassurance (or criticism)?

Read more on children and self-esteem

Boost your teen girl's self-confidence
Boost your teen boy's self-confidence
Teaching kids how to make friends at school


Recommended for you


Comments on "Girls ask Youtube viewers "Am I ugly?""

Lynne February 25, 2012 | 4:33 PM

All of you girls and young women are beautiful, have you ever seen an ugly baby? No, I haven't. Even baby wharthogs are cute. It's a sad statement and I can see you are feeling soo bad and hurting. But, inside all of your eyes I can see encouragement and a strong desire to be cared for and loved, and a lot of life. We watched a Show on CBC, TV, last night 'All ed Up', kind of about this very subject. It's a huge complex problem that comes from within our society as a whole. So not your fault girls! It is tragic that girls and young womens lives are being so negatively affected by the smarmy _hit that's being fed to you via media. I wonder when, and if, people are ever going to smarten up. I wonder where all of your parents are? Are your parents the enemy in your mind or, do you talk to them, have fun with them, go places together etc.? Anyway all of you lovely girls,take heart please!!!, stay sober, be strong. Try hard to see the future for yourselves. Slow down! I'm sure that this is a huge thing to ask of you but, many young women these days do have great careers, earning excellent incomes. People come in all shapes and sizes. Look out for YOUR own interests. Looks aren't forever but what's inside really counts. What really matters is how you feel about yourself. If anyone is stupid enough to call you ugly, etc. ect. ect. understand that the name caller is actually calling him/herself down with those names and trying to drag you down with them.

larry February 24, 2012 | 3:52 PM

No you are not ugly. Be yourself. Dont worry about guys at your age. Alot of them only want one thing from girls.

Bernie February 24, 2012 | 2:44 PM

I don't think any girl should have to go to utube and ask if she is pretty. All of them are beautiful inside and out and have all there lives to live and there parents should be building up there self esteem and showing them how much they are loved and how Special they are. There is too much peer pressure out there to be beautiful and smart and if you look at yourself in a mirror you are one of a kind and that is beauty,

tmckay February 23, 2012 | 5:11 PM

That video BREAKS MY HEART. :-( So sad.

+ Add Comment

(required - not published)