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Kids Safety: Preteen Girls Ask YouTube, Am I Pretty or Ugly?

March 5, 2012 at 3:55 PM

uKnowKids YoutubeAs a parent, I worry about my daughters' self-images a lot. I worry about them hearing their classmates say “I'm fat” and wondering if that means they need to lose weight – at 8 years old. I worry about the sexualization of little girls at a younger and younger age.

I also worry about a disturbing YouTube trend where preteen girls post videos of themselves, asking viewers to respond to some variation of the question “am I pretty or ugly?” It takes cyberbullying to a whole new level.

Your preteen (and teen) daughters are probably struggling with these same kinds of questions: Am I smart? Am I cool? Am I pretty? Wrestling with these types of insecurities is part of growing up. The part that dismays me is not that these preteens are asking the question “am I pretty or ugly?” but that they are asking it to several million strangers on YouTube and emtional kids safety is at an all time low.

Posting your insecurities on the Internet (and in the process opening yourself up to all kinds of abusive comments and making yourself an easy target for cyberbullies) is a lack of good judgment and maturity. Perhaps it's partially for this reason that YouTube requires users to be at least 13 years old in order to post videos.

Talk to your kids, especially your daughters, about posting this kind of stuff. Ask if they've heard about the “am I pretty or ugly” videos, and what they think of the girls who post them. What's a better way to work through these questions than posting them on YouTube?

Tim Woda

Written by Tim Woda

Tim Woda is an Internet safety expert, and a passionate advocate for empowering families and protecting children from today’s scariest digital dangers. Woda was on the founding team of buySAFE, an Internet trust and safety company, and he started working on child safety issues after his son was targeted by a child predator online. While his son was unharmed, the incident led Woda to kick-start You can follow Tim on Twitter or on his blog.

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