An alarming new trend among teens and tweens are a slew of YouTube videos they are posting of themselves titled "Am I Ugly?" This video got over 3 million hits. Notice the bevy of comments ranging from insults from kids to come-ons from pedophiles.
These children's naivete and insecurity are out there for the world to see. In this particular video, it is clear the girl is seeking compliments. She believes she is pretty and wants everyone to agree with her. But, how does a parent prevent their tween or teen from exposing themselves like this? We have seen kids harming themselves due to cyberbullying when they do not put themselves out there. Now, they are asking for the ridicule, not to mention exposing themselves to sickos that want to hurt them. As parents, how do we help them to make better choices and control some of this? Here are some of my tips that can help.
1. Parents need to learn social media
So many parents tell me they are clueless about social media, do not have a Facebook page and don't even know what Twitter is. There is no excuse for this. Parents need to educate themselves on how to use Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and any other social media their child uses.
2. Own the passwords
Parents must have all account passwords and should monitor texts, posts, and uploaded photos and videos. Being "friends" on Facebook is not enough because they can block you. You need to be able to get into their accounts.
3. Privacy settings
If your child posts to YouTube, go to the "Info and Settings" tab, scroll down to "Comments" and check off "Allow all comments with approval only." Your email should be attached to the account so you can personally monitor the comments. For Skype, only allow calls from contacts. For Facebook, be sure your kids do not have personal information on there and only allow friends to view their pages.
4. Remove inappropriate videos from Youtube
If your child has posted an "Am I Ugly" video, remove it immediately. Ask them why they felt the need to do this, what they were looking for, and show them the dangers of it.
5. Scare your kids
Educate your kids about the evil people in the world that want to harm children. Show them these videos and point out the comments that could be from pedophiles. Also, explain to your kids, once its posted on the Internet, it is in the cyber world forever. No comment even on your private Facebook page is private. Even deleted YouTube videos can be found.