An Ugly Trend: Teens Turn to YouTube to Evaluate Their Looks

Call it this generation's Hot or Not. But when teenagers turn to YouTube to ask the masses if people think they're ugly, it's definitely not a pretty picture.

  • Share
  • Read Later

“People say I’m ugly, so tell me, am I?” is a daring question to ask online, but dozens of teenagers, mostly girls, are unhesitatingly putting it out on the Internet. Some of these teens are even younger than the required age to use YouTube, according to site’s terms of service – a user must be older than 13 to upload a video. It’s a disturbing trend: some of the videos are garnering thousands, if not millions, of hits.

(MOREDealing with Cyberbullying: 5 Essential Parenting Tips)

“I have a pretty basic question,” one girl begins, after revealing that her friends tell her she’s pretty but she’s not sure because she doesn’t have a boyfriend.

There, they face the wrath of YouTube commenters, some of who aren’t very shy or downright cruel about their opinions. “Just the fact that u did this video makes u ugly. But u were ugly already,” a viewer commented on one video.

That’s not to say there isn’t kinder treatment, as one user pointed out that “Beauty comes from within… that means when you are kind and treat others as you would like to be treated, it shows on [your] face and then you will always look and feel beautiful.”

(MOREAnonymous Online Name-Callers Beware: You Might Not Be So Anonymous)

The fact that some of the teens can be young as 11 years old signifies something is definitely amiss. Does YouTube need to monitor these videos more closely, or is it part of the need for greater parent vigilance when it comes to their children’s online activities? When every action is anonymous, commenters playing on the insecurities of young tweens is exactly the last thing the Internet needs.

Erica Ho is a contributor at TIME. Find her on Twitter at @ericamho and Google+. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.


Why is that a problem? I was worried about my looks when I was an eleven year old girl, and so was everyone else in my class. That was a long time ago, and nothing has changed. Evolution has dictated that looks are very important to us humans, and I doubt thats any attempts to "correct" this will work. I hope it doesn't. I like that what I look like matters. If everyone was beautiful, then everyone would also be ugly. It would simply be meaningless value, and I am glad it is not. Its part of what defines humanity. I doubt other animals care what they look like. …...It is natural and obvious that a girl in her mid teens would ask the question, and just as natural that she would get sarcastic responses. Feelings are not that brittle. The way kids stop being naive is to have their feelings hurt sometimes. Its perfectly healthy. Trying to force kids to act mature and thoughtful at all times is not. They are kids, and immature for a reason. What scares me is that at a time when journalists are being killed by terrorists for exercising their freedom of speech, and an economy in shambles we are worrying about wether teens are going to ask if they are hot or not. We have more worthwhile things to write about then examining how children act and trying to force it into ever more unnatural directions.