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"Am I Ugly" YouTube Fad Thrives on Youth Low Self-Esteem

The popular internet tell-all trend is an invitation to cyber-bullying.

As a teenage volunteer in Greenwich I spend a lot of time around younger children and have the occasion to observe how they are when they're alone, versus how they act when they're in groups or with their close friends. It really saddens me to see how vulnerable they make themselves by asking for approval from their fellow eight-year-olds. 

For example, if I'm in the bathroom and see a wolfpack of eight-years-olds complaining about how they look, I always try to build them up. 

So, it shocked me to learn about a current trend among children of going on YouTube to ask millions of anonymous viewers this question: "Am I ugly?" I first learned about this on the MSN website, where the YouTube link of a girl roughly 12-years-old asks whether or not she is in fact ugly.

Then I learned there are thousands upon thousands of similar videos such as this one of another girl who appears to be about 8-years-old. This girl looks about the same age of kids I volunteer with. 

I think that the reality TV format with shows like "Jersey Shore" and "Real World" have erased the boundary between what is private and what you can bear to the public. There's an expression teenagers use: "TMI" which means too much information. Similarly these young kids on Youtube are mimicking that exact behavior, only with much more severe consequences. Everyone feels unattractive some days, but bearing your soul is not the answer to improving your self esteem.

Internet trolls have absolutely no mercy
These kids posting videos are completely vulnerable. Cyber-bullying is already a problem and children are setting themselves up for the full potential of a scarry mass pile on. Their opinion of themselves is so low that they might instead ask "Do I Have Low Self-Esteem?" YouTube viewers couldn't care less about your self esteem. Anonymous internet trolls will have absolutely no mercy.

Looks are supposed to be uninportant, that's what we've been told. But there is a new era of superficiality causing girls to conform to a fake ideal of "beauty." Beauty comes in different shapes, colors and sizes, but they're depending on the media to tell them that long blonde hair and blue eyes is beautiful. But if someone has brown hair and dark brown eyes, does that mean they are not equally beautiful? How can it be that you are not beautiful until someone tells you that you are?

My advice to these poor kids who feel the need to question their self-worth and appearance is to find someone you respect and trust, to share the difficulties you are going through. 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Jason Atkinson June 01, 2012 at 02:29 PM
Yes, blame the teachers and school personnel...it surely couldn't be poor or lazy parenting. I didn't see anywhere in these stories how the schools were involved in any way.
Jolie Bonnette June 01, 2012 at 04:39 PM
This particular phenomenon has nothing to do with the schools. It's all done at home. And that means PARENTS are not monitoring what their children are doing online. Ethics start at HOME, not in school. Or at least that's the way it SHOULD be. Personally, if I had kids and they were as young as some of these kids making these vids, they wouldn't even HAVE their own computers much less be accessing the internet unsupervised. It's far too dangerous with all of the freaky predators who use it to find their victims.
Alleyha Dannett June 01, 2012 at 05:26 PM
* There are links within the blue hilighted words "girl" and also in "another girl" to watch a couple of the videos*
jerry washington June 17, 2012 at 01:38 PM
Wow!!! Great story..i learned a lot from u.Im dealin with it in my old age!!! Yes can u believe it?I am 53 yrs old and i am ugly! The women at Cascade UMC ignore and dont speak to me..so i chill!! It could be the lack of money..the absent of a car and the fact that im unattractive for real!!(lol) the movie is shrek is great to watch!!! The winner of dancin with the stars was total inspiration!! The dude that was burned up??He made with the help.of a lovin mother. Hey...GOD doesnt like Ugly any way!!
patricia boudreau July 02, 2012 at 06:26 PM
you are so brave and theres nothing wrong with the way u look very attrctive people are just bad sometimes u are better then that stay strong teen years are so hard keep your head up and dont look down at the dirt thats for pigs to play in ha ha
patricia boudreau July 02, 2012 at 06:33 PM
omg this makeing me so sad I never delt with this.reading this I feel for people that are treated badly because of there looks that man who won dancing with stars was beutiful his soul shined throw the world saw beutiy if your a good soel people see it
Lou Irigoyen July 13, 2012 at 06:04 PM
I could not help but chime in on this topic. Just a quick thought. There are alot of people in this world that are beautiful on the outside, but once you go beyond the beauty, you find alot of ugliness. We all have known someone like that at one time or another. 2nd thought. Beauty is what we have been programmed and taught to believe is beautiful. Are roses ugly because they have thorns?
Gina Veesaert July 28, 2012 at 10:58 AM
Alleyha, excellent blog post! As the mother of four teenagers, I can't help wondering where the parents of these kids posting these youtube videos are? Why on earth would you allow your child to post a video of herself at 8, 9, 10 or even 16 on youtube, especially one that opens them up to such ridicule?
Amy Lang, MA August 07, 2012 at 11:30 PM
Great article and really sad as well. Parents have no idea what their kids are up to or feeling.
shirley gerald ware August 09, 2012 at 12:48 AM
Some of the parents I spoke with said that they couldn't be bother checking what their children are writing on face book
Amanda Turner August 16, 2012 at 01:25 PM
As a mother of 3 children, I am elated to see a teen taking the initiative to help with this. Too many "older" kids turn their backs when they hear or see things like this, thus giving the younger kids no one to look up to who is closer to their age. I know that it's our responsibility as parents to be good role models, and tell our kids that what other's say doesn't matter, you're beautiful to me, God made you perfect, etc. But realistically, once they're gone with their friends, or at school, all that matters, unfortunately, is how they're accepted by those around them. Keep up the great work that you're doing, you're really going to make an impact on someone for the better with your work. I hope that my children have the confidence when they're your age to stand up for what they believe in and make a difference in someone else's life.
kadi August 21, 2012 at 04:27 PM
Hello How are you today? My name is kadi kabore, I saw your profile and i like it so i decided to write to you. I will like you to write and tell me more about your self direct to my email id kadikabore@yahoo.com from there i will reply with more of my details and pictures. I will be waiting to recieve from you. have a nice day. kadi
Nisa Harper August 21, 2012 at 10:36 PM
Wow, I'm a little late reading this blog. I didn't even realize that the Patch had a blog section. I enjoyed your article and as a mom of young children, who do not have their own computer yet. I mainly enjoyed reading your thoughts as a pro-active youth and writer who is asking her peers and younger kids to recognize their worth. That is powerful! As a parent, your not going to be around your children 24/7 but it is something for me to think about when they get older to figure out how much their dad and I will monitor their internet access and what they information they are accessing. Your article can be used as a "teaching moment" with our children.
Leroy A Haggard September 26, 2012 at 12:07 PM
What does one say or do to a teenage girl that I have known since she was born. No, she is not my daughter, but someone special in my heart. I saw her off to her first day at kindergarten and flew from Tampa to Chicago to see walk down the aisle on her graduation day at grammar school. She is a second year steuden now in High school, and wants to quit school. How does one plead with her to not destroy her life. Maybe someone in her age group can talk to her. She has 50 pages of homework to be done. Her mother is a single parent with limited education as with her grandparents. I am at my wits end to do something, but cant. I am not family. But I just cannot sit idly by and watch a 16 year destroy her life. The problem she lives in Spring Hill, Fl about 60 miles from where I live in Largo.. Are there any answers out there. To me, the only answer can from her own age group as she is rebelling against h elders.
Will October 14, 2012 at 10:41 PM
Don't judge this young girls work. Her whole story is very important from start to finish. She is not speaking only to you. Great job Alleyha. Completely.
Sylvia October 20, 2012 at 12:28 AM
This is true. Beauty shines through, and you will be radiant.
Harry Obnrian October 21, 2012 at 12:47 PM
Common wisdom says that it's not what you look like and it's not 'who' you are or what you have, it's what your actions say about you and who you are inside. With today's ridiculous media influence too many people become obsessed by many of the seven deadly sins.
REYNALDO November 16, 2012 at 01:56 PM
A PERSON'S PHYSICAL APPEARANCE DOESN'T MATTER, WHAT REALLY MATTERS IS WHAT'S BENEATH ALL THE BEAUTY. SEARCH FOR WHATS BENEATH AND YOU WILL NEVER GO WRONG!
Ronald DeRosa (Editor) December 04, 2012 at 06:57 PM
Wow. This is a very well-written piece from a very thoughtful writer. Thank you for posting this blog. And, to echo many of these comments here, do not feed the internet trolls. You are so much better than they are, no matter what they say.
Bill Montague January 16, 2013 at 03:20 PM
Your beauty is all in your Heart! When you have a Beautiful Heart - it shows in every inch of your body. Self-confidence will also shine through as part of your beauty. No one has an unattractive Smile! If you are afraid you do not look as good as others - then just Smile a lot! What have you got to loose! Give it a try! Cheers! Bill Montague
Vicki Camacho - Public Access Producer January 18, 2013 at 01:44 AM
Thank you for this informative blog. I had no idea young people look to a group of strangers to tell them what they look like. I was raised to see myself as being beautiful because so many will not. On NEIGHBORS we list all of our young people as stars - the beautiful, wondrous hope for the future. Now I feel like I'm not doing enough.
Michelle Jones January 18, 2013 at 06:35 PM
That is awesome! My kids are 7 and 11 and they will totally be able to relate to that! Your teen is wise.
Integrative Change Hypnosis February 02, 2013 at 02:06 AM
Hi Alleyha, You are an amazing young woman and I want to congratulate you for your generosity of spirit, for your volunteering & for your caring. I know that your compassion and your wisdom will help people of any age (young or old) that you come into contact with. As several people have already said, Beauty comes from within. A physically unattractive person who has an awesome personality will appear attractive. People will look beyond the physical. One thing I can tell you, as a Hypnotherapist, is that everyone can build their confidence and their self esteem, very easily. If you or any Patch readers want to know how, leave a question or comment for me and I will respond when I can. If I happen to miss your comment or question please feel free to email me via my website at: www.integrativechangehypnosis.com You are an awesome young woman Alleyha and should be very proud of yourself.
Jerome Krasnow February 02, 2013 at 05:41 PM
Any thoughts to add, Alleyha, since nearly a year has passed?
Buck Shaw February 21, 2013 at 03:17 PM
"Like like way cool, uhm! totally tubular like , listen TV , like like oh my goosh." Perfect example of what the author is talking about..
Buck Shaw February 21, 2013 at 03:24 PM
If you want to know about what people look like. Ask mom or dad for a look at there High School yearbook. Note the changes to all, everyone. The only thing that is permanent is change. Ever read the story of the Ugly Duckling. If you can Don't sweat the small stuff.
Mary SMITH March 17, 2013 at 08:31 PM
Sadly, as I counselor I have seen the incredible rise in teen cutting and self harm much of this is coming from girls influenced by the media . Teens and young women who are experiencing emotional stresses turn on themselves, I would advice teens to turn of the television and be very selective about what you look at on youtube. http://stopcuttingyourself.blogspot.com/2013/02/do-you-have-to-tell-doctor-you-are.html
TATA March 25, 2013 at 09:43 PM
SHUT UP
kayla walker March 26, 2013 at 05:32 PM
yall its nt about who is pretty everyone in my book is pretty nohomo
Soulbalm Watson April 01, 2013 at 04:43 PM
People who bully by posting unrelated comments to present their personal vendettas and agendas should create their own blogs. Back to the article: Great job, Alleyha, presenting an important revelation to parents and concerned adults.

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