YouTube is a mishmash of instructional videos, personal podcasts, music and, more often than not, some incredibly weird stuff. The site’s also known for the vulgar, insulting and insane comments people make about videos. Seriously, you could put up a video detailing how to use a humane mousetrap and someone — probably several someones — will accuse you of animal cruelty, threaten to call the FBI, claim you’re an alien and make a thinly veiled death threat.
And yet hundreds, if not thousands, of young kids are inviting the full wrath of the YouTube comment troglodytes by posting video where they ask people to tell them whether they’re pretty or ugly. The result is like throwing a live lamb into a tiger pit.
The “Am I Ugly?” Kids
Most of these kids are in their tweens, ranging from 11 to 13 (too young, by the way, to be posting videos according to YouTube’s Terms and Conditions). The vast majority is female, although it’s not uncommon to see boys asking the same question.
They are, for the most part, typical looking for their age, with that engagingly awkward coltishness so many kids have before they start to develop into teenagers. And there they sit in their bedrooms, asking the world to judge their personal appearance.
And, oh boy, does the world judge. Some people are supportive, telling the kid that yes, she’s pretty. Some try to talk the kid out of judging herself based on appearance. And some go overboard, fawning over the kid, telling her she’s beautiful, sexy and attractive — comments that range from overkill to creepily pedophilic.
And then there are the other comments: short responses that say little more than “ugly” and long, vicious rants attacking everything from the kid’s appearance to her intelligence. Foul, sexual and racial insults abound, often designed as much to start flame wars as to insult the child. If you doubt for a second humanity’s worth, don’t read YouTube comments. It’s enough to make you weep.
Low Self-Esteem or Exhibitionism?
Why are kids opening themselves up to this line of abuse? Some people suspect low self-esteem is the issue — the child is reaching out for positive comments and self-validation. If so, they’ve chosen the wrong place.
Others see it as exhibitionism, with the child gaining self-importance from the sheer number of comments, good or bad. And others worry the kids know what they’re in for and are setting the stage for massive “pity-sessions” and emotional drama as they respond to the horrible comments. Or, now that the practice has become popular, are kids just flocking to the fad without thinking about the consequences?
Depending on the child, any of these are possible reasons for this bizarre trend. Hopefully the “Am I ugly” videos will pass like any other fad. There’s something desperately sad about watching a child reach out over the Internet to receive page after page of abusive, vulgar comments.
About The Author: CJ who writes on a variety of topics, from YouTube videos to humane mousetrap use.