Young teenagers want to know if they’re pretty, so they upload videos to YouTube posing the question to hundreds of thousands of strangers.
“People at school will tell me I’m ugly, but then my friends will say I’m pretty,” is a line that’s heard in most all of the videos, the average age of the uploader 12 or 13-years-old. “So just tell me in the comments what you think.”
The girls asking are young, adorable, and sweet. The question they’re asking is presented innocently. It’s all you can do not to reach into the screen and give them a hug, telling them to stay away from YouTube if they’re looking for any sense of self at such a fragile age.
The videos can range anywhere from a minute to five minutes long, The New York Times reports. Some of the girls give long explanations on why they want or need to be validated on a social network filled with strangers notorious for being cruel and unusual in their written punishments.
The Times covered the phenomenon this past weekend, but it’s a trend that’s been circling the media for nearly a year.
In October 2013, Buzzfeed wrote about “Pretty or Ugly” videos, saying that at the time, over 500,000 videos from young girls had been uploaded, some of the girls as young as 9-years-old. Now, a quick search on YouTube shows that since January 2014, an additional 275,000 videos had been added.
They all are dying for strangers on the internet, whom the teenagers truly believe to be a fair sampling of the world’s population, to validate them.
“I can take it,” a lot of the girls say in the videos, The Times points out.
Buzzfeed spoke to Louise Orwin, a 26-year-old artist from London, who concluded that the internet acts and looks like a safe space for teens but can be truly be dangerous.
“The problem is, the internet is so private for these girls because their parents probably don’t know they’re posting these videos,” Orwin concludes. “But at the same time it’s so public. And the way these girls express themselves makes them such an easy target for abuse.”
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