The “Pretty or Ugly” Video Phenomenon

A disturbing activity has surfaced from our tween daughters. If your daughter’s involved, you need to know. Many young girls are posting videos on YouTube asking complete strangers to pass judgment on them. You heard me: complete strangers. Old men, teen boys, teachers, pimps, maybe perverted grandfathers.

Girls are asking these strangers: “Am I Pretty or Am I Ugly?”  (the video below has been viewed over 4 million times)

Some may argue that this is simply young girls playing games. Maybe. But I don’t think so. I think that this activity tells us two very disturbing things about our girls. First, they feel so needy for approval that they rally strangers to find it. We need to change this Moms and Dads because the most important boost to any girl’s self esteem needs to come from home. Dads, hug your daughters and tell them they are beautiful. Moms, encourage your daughters to feel good about their character and intellect.

Second, this activity puts are young girls in harm’s way. Seriously. They post their lovely, innocent faces for all sorts of ne’er-do-wells to critique. Some will say cruel things and potentially wound them emotionally and some may like what they see and track these girls down.

So let’s engage the battle parents. We can’t afford to let any of our young girls avail themselves to such profound vulnerability. They can’t stop themselves because they’re just kids. But we can because, after all, we’re the grown-ups.

  • http://www.timsanto.com Tim Santo

    Hi Meg,
    I have not heard of this, so thank you for bringing me up to speed. I will be posting this link to your web site on my web site for my patients.
    Tim

  • Diane Krisotlovich

    I think these are questions that every young woman faces (again and again?). Putting anything on the internet is potentially dangerous for many reasons. But she seems to have a talent and curiosity about modelling. Modeling is not ‘evil’ tho it can innocently lead there by many who seek to exploit. She could investigate further with the help of Tyra Banks and others who know the industry. (Tyra she has a few books, specifically for young women. I consider her a much better role model than Oprah)

  • Diane Krisotlovich

    “Tyra’s Beauty Inside and Out” is a good one tho it might be hard to get. (last I heard, Tyra was working on her professional degree in Business at Harvard) A very interesting story! (find it on youtube)

  • http://www.wizardprang.com Wizard Prang

    This is a small part of a much wider issue – kids and the Internet.

    Moms and Dads, the Internet is not a child minder, it is a vast sprawling city into which two many kids are allowed – or even encouraged – to run unsupervised. There are bad areas; slums and dark alleys into which a child may be enticed.

    I know good people who put internet-connected computers into their children’s bedrooms. Some of them are in my extended family

    Being in IT, I know how dangerous this can be. Not being a parent, my opinion is never requested. But if they asked, it would be: “DANGER, WILL ROBINSON!” with the requisite turning and arm-waving.

    • http://www.wizardprang.com Wizard Prang

      Change “two” to “too”. Darned Homophones :)

  • http://daddydifference.com Ryan Ash

    Thanks for sharing, Dr. Meeker! I hadn’t heard of this trend. It’s really very disturbing to see such young girls turning to strangers online to determine if they’re pretty…or not. The people responding are only going to be looking at the outside, and not looking at their inner beauty.

    Dad’s need to step up and answer that question for their daughters, and I hope that your post will inspire many to do just that!

  • Fred Woodbridge (@fwoodbridge)

    Old men, teen boys, teachers, pimps, maybe perverted grandfathers.

    Yes, these are the people you should be warning against. Grandfathers, old men, teen boys, teachers AND PIMPS?

    Are you out of your mind? That’s a serious question, unlike your rather stupid warning.

    • Lawrence

      Fred. If the shoe fits, wear it!
      The Molesters 99% of the time come from: 1) Old men, 2)teen boys,3)male teachers, 4)pimps(male),5)perverted grandfathers, 6)Uncles etc.
      99% do NOT come from the ranks of pre-primary/ primary/ secondary school FEMALE teachers. Neither from Sunday school female teachers etc etc etc
      Your reaction to Meg’s comment is EXACTLY the same as when I proposed a system of random testing the public driving for alcohol excess, and if found in excess, to then summararily have the vehicle they are driving crushed! The people I know who DO drink and drive ALL have various “reasons” why this cannot be done! Be it legal, possesion/ownership itc. The fact is, THEY only, appose the idea.Period.

      • Fred Woodbridge (@fwoodbridge)

        “The Molesters 99% of the time come from: 1) Old men, 2)teen boys,3)male teachers, 4)pimps(male),5)perverted grandfathers, 6)Uncles etc.”

        Well then, let’s start culling them from our society right now before they can molest. You’re just as stupid as this doctor.

  • Kisten

    Nothing new. It is like Hot or Not. Social networking basically is the same where kids try to make as many so called friends as possible thru cool photos. They are learning to package themselves and present themselves in a cool manner like their fav. pop stars. This is the same on any dating site online.

  • http://goo.gl/Igcma JazerNorth

    Putting the “Am I Ugly?” question aside for now. Any child (17 & younger is a child) who posts personal information on the internet is at danger. That is like letting your child walk the mall alone. There are ages, that after teaching, you can allow your child to go to the mall alone, but you still keep very close watch on them. Just because the “internet” is in the house, does not make it safe. It is just as dangerous as letting your 4-year old wander the mall. The parents that are not watching their child’s internet activity and seeing that they posted a video are not watching out for their child’s safety. The home is supposed to be the safest place on earth, but when the parent doesn’t take care to protect their children on the internet, the home is no longer the safest place.

  • Matt

    I had not heard of this on youtube. Thanks Meg

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