Feb. 24, 2012 at 2:15 PM ET
In the latest news that will make parents of teenage girls want to shoot their computers and/or become Amish, teen and tween girls are taking to YouTube to post "Am I ugly?" videos, asking the denizens of the Internet whether they are attractive. Because really, who better to reassure insecure young girls about their self-worth than anonymous Internet trolls? Yikes.
TODAY Moms contributor Dana Macario reported on this trend:
Dozens of tween and young teen girls have decided to poll the YouTube audience to find out how pretty or ugly internet trolls think they are. The girls pose and flaunt, asking strangers to tell them if they're cute. While the girls post videos with headlines reading, "Am I ugly?," the main question for many viewers is whether these vulnerable girls should have such unrestricted internet access. Please, check your kids' YouTube accounts.
Before you load the shotgun and take the laptop out back, experts say the real answer is to keep hammering home the message to kids that their worth is about who they are, not how they look. Teen therapist Arden Greenspan Goldberg advises TODAY that parents should tell their kids, "You are your personality. You are your talent. Even though they roll their eyes at you, they're always listening."
On the TODAY Moms Facebook page, many moms reacted with horror and dismay at the videos -- and said this is exactly why parents need to keep a very close eye on what kids do online.
"That's terrible, my daughter is only 7 and I hope that she never feels the need to do that," wrote Bobbie Jo Dawson. "I've always taught her that natural beauty is true beauty and tell her several times a day how beautiful and intelligent she is... I wish the parents of these girls would take some time and spend with them and let them know how truly wonderful and beautiful they are and that no strangers opinion will ever be worth more than their own self respect."
Helen Russo commented: "All I can say is, I hope my daughter never feels she has to do something like this, but that's also why I'll be monitoring her internet use until it's legally out of my control... my house, my rules and there's no such thing as privacy when it comes to my kid's safety and well-being."
Related stories from TODAY Moms:
A little bird told me your teen is on Twitter
Do you snoop on your kids online?
Is self-compassion in your parenting toolbox?