Attention, parents of teenagers! Do you know if your child has ever made an “Am I Pretty?” video? That’s a video kids post on YouTube where they ask strangers to rate their attractiveness. The thinking is that someone they don’t know will be more truthful about their looks than their friends or loved ones, who are more likely to automatically say, “Of course you’re pretty.”
And experts warn that the disturbing new trend is taking off with male and female teens across North America. In fact, there are hundreds of thousands of these types of videos, and more are uploaded every day. One in particular has gotten over 3-million views and nearly 100,000 comments in just one year.
A typical video is less than a minute, and the teen simply asks, “Am I pretty or ugly?” Then, anyone in the world can weigh in. And that’s where it gets scary, because some of the horrific comments include: “You’re uglier than a demon” and, “You’re so ugly that you should kill yourself.”
Experts warn that most teens already have major insecurity issues, and they aren’t prepared to be flooded with vicious, mean comments, which could trigger them to slide into a depression or even become suicidal.
And this need for approval coincides with the age at which self-esteem starts to plummet, which is 9 years old. And according to the NYU Child Study Center, 59% of girls in 5th through 12th grade are unhappy with the way they look.
People are urging You Tube to ban the videos, but that’s really just a band-aid. Parents need to take the focus off the way their kids look. The best way to build confidence is to help your kid find something they’re good at – whether it’s a sport, playing music, art, or even cooking. For kids, confidence comes from feeling capable, and loved for who they are, not how they look.