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There are roughly half a million videos that have been uploaded on YouTube by kids inviting others online to validate their looks by deciding if they are ‘pretty or ugly.’
Many of these so-called POU videos have hundreds of comments ranging from kind and encouraging (“You are beautiful! Don't ever for a second feel you aren't) … to harsh (“You’re too young for YouTube. By the way, you're kinda ugly”) … to downright cruel (“You’re ugly, if u want the truth. A lot of people lie so u won't kill yourself”).
Despite restrictions prohibiting kids younger than 13 from posting on sites like YouTube and Facebook, girls as young as nine are getting thousands, in some cases tens of thousands, of people to weigh in on their appearance. As a dad of an 11-year-old girl, it makes my stomach turn.
When our kids are toddlers, we keep them away from unattended stairs, electrical sockets, and the hot stove. When they are tweens and teens, we need to show we care by staying on top of what they are doing online.
Here are three simple things we can do:
There’s no substitute for staying engaged with what’s happening with your kids, whether online or off-line, even when they may seem put out about it. Love your children well and stay involved with them and what they are doing, and they’ll be less likely to look for unhealthy attention elsewhere.
Rich Bennett (@coloradorich) is a contributing writer for Dad Matters and the Vice President of Ministry & Marketing Strategy for Focus on the Family.
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--What is also so sad about this is, when I looked up the videos on youtube I found the girl posted in your picture and that girl posted on another girls video bullying her and telling her that her and her 12 friends think she is ugly. It is just so heartbreaking to see these girls not only with low self esteem but bullying. so sad.
--Good stuff Rich! And super helpful.