Most teenagers have looked in the mirror at some point in their lives and asked the question am I ugly? But today's teens have taken the insecurity to another level, creating videos that ask strangers on YouTube what they think about their looks.
Am I ugly, pretty, fat? Are my boobs big enough? These are some of the questions boys and girls ages 11 to 14 are asking the public in the online world.
The trend started about two years ago, when YouTube user sgal901, posted a video called, Am I Pretty or Ugly? The blonde middle school girl innocently tells her audience that a few people have called her ugly, while others have called her pretty, which seems to have confused her and fueled her insecurities.
'A lot of people tell me I'm ugly. I think I'm ugly and fat,' she says to the camera, before putting up a slideshow of some stills to help people judge her looks.
The video has attracted more than 3 million hits, bringing in harsh comments such as Yea you're ugly as hell, just go ahead and end your life. You're going die alone. This highlights just how dangerous posting such videos can be. Some teens and young adults have taken their own lives as a result of cyber bullying.
Other users were gentler in their comments, with one saying, You are? so pretty. Ignore the cruel stupid people of the world. Love yourself. Alright? (:
Scores of similar videos have been surfacing on YouTube in recent months, with teenagers asking all sorts of questions about their looks.
In December 2011, a girl with the screen name Beautiful and Proud, posted a video on YouTube, saying she has been called ugly at school and wanted to find out the truth through the Internet. Unable to look directly at the camera she asks, So, I am ugly? Am I?
The most recent trending question among teens is: Am i fat? YouTube user, The Bailey Bugg, posted a four minute video showing her body and squeezing her belly, asking her audience if they think she is over weight.
The trend has attracted much criticism from child protection advocates. Under YouTube's terms and conditions, children under the age of 13 are not meant to upload videos, according to Mommy Files blogger Amy Graff.
So then why is there a video of an 11-year-old girl asking the world if she's ugly? Where are this girl's parents? Something is wrong with this picture, she said. Adolescence is dark and savage and when teenagers put themselves up on the Internet it only magnifies the experience.
It's not just girls who are asking these questions on YouTube. Many boys have been found taking to the platform to ask the same questions. One user with the disturbing tag of fuehrerxss tells his audience that he cut his hair by himself and asks them if he is hot or ugly. Am I faggy or queer looking? He asks. Feel free to call me a fag, he adds.