We know the pre-teen and teenage years are tough, especially for girls. A new trend is raising red flags, specifically with young girls seeking validation for their looks. They are posting videos for the world to see, asking "Am I pretty?"
In a generation of iCarly, Facebook and Twitter, with the pressures of Photoshop, Botox, injectable cosmetics and reality stars, the pressures to 'be perfect' and 'be pretty' are stronger than ever on girls today.
One growing trend among tween and teen girls is posting videos on you tube asking... 'Am I pretty?'
The trend is catching on. YouTube has millions of videos with millions of views. Anyone can post, and anyone can comment. What is seen and said isn't monitored or rated.
"My friends say I'm cute, but I don't think so," one girl said.
We asked a Huntsville psychologist for his take on this trend.
"I think it shows a complete lack of self-esteem of teenagers," said Dr. Roger Rinn. He says the videos are a state of our society.
"I think we sexualize little girls early and they have no childhood," Dr. Rinn said.
It sends a warning for parents not to unplug from their children.
"I think it also demonstrates that there's not a lot of extracurricular activities going on in these kids' lives," Dr. Rinn added. "It may be that these kids parents are allowing these kids to use the Internet as a baby sitting tool."
Parents -- you should put parental controls on your home computer, as well as wireless devices. These include smart phones, iPods, even hand-held games.
If the device can shoot video and hold a wireless connection, the video can be shot, uploaded and online in less than 30 seconds.
These seemingly innocent questions, asked to the world, can quickly turn into a predator's playground.
"Predators look for inadequate folks, they look for people who look weak, who look vulnerable, and these kids are, to say the least, ultimately vulnerable," said Dr. Rinn.
It's up to parents to better monitor their kids' activities on the web. Here are some suggestions:
- First, talk to them. Explain the dangers of online interaction, especially how people aren't always who they say they are.
- Let kids know you plan to monitor their online activites. That might keep them in check.
- Keep devices age-appropriate.
- Does your 8-year-old really need an iPhone? Think about the maturity level of your child and decide what gadgets they can handle.
- Be where your kids or teens are online. In other words, get a Facebook account, follow your child and their friends, and be watchful for behaviors that could be a problem.