COMMENTARY | What would drive a young girl to post a video of herself on YouTube and then open herself up to a slew of cruel comments about her looks? That's the latest trend, according to The Week. And it's really ugly.
This disturbing trend has young girls posting pictures of themselves on the popular video-sharing site and daring to ask the question: "Am I ugly?"
Some of the responses are downright obscene. At over three million views, one of the most viral of the videos has a commenter suggesting the original poster jump off a skyscraper and end her life because she's so unintelligent and ugly. The girl looks to be 12 or 13 years old.
The Houston Chronicle's MomHouston blog calls the new trend a "parenting fail."
But is it fair to blame parents for their child's insecurities? Of course not, that's a normal part of growing up. What's not normal are today's forums in which young tweens have access to get opinions from total strangers.
Should a 13-year-old be holed up in a bathroom taking random photos of herself and posting them online for critiquing? Absolutely not. And it's true, that behavior can only be stopped at home and by the parents.
So where are the parents here? In the case of the video that has gone viral, it's impossible to believe that the parents of the unnamed girl can allow her self-destructive video to continue to air online. We don't know the girl's home life situation, but either no one has informed her guardians that their child is a YouTube sensation or their heads are in the sand. It's a little hard to believe that not one friend or neighbor has clued them in.
If that were my child, the video would be yanked and we'd be heading to therapy to assess the damage. We'd be pulling the web cam plug and there would be no more computers behind closed doors.
Because even though the little girl's question was innocent enough -- "Am I ugly?"-- there's no way a tween mind can handle the onslaught of nasty responses that have come her way.
And because we live in a world where we have to tell our 12-year olds that a stranger's opinion doesn't matter. Those trolls on the Internet don't care about your kid-or the lifelong damage that they are undoubtedly doing to them.
Victoria Leigh Miller is a freelance writer. She has been writing about parenting topics since 2001