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Worrying trend sees youth evaluating appearances online

Finnish children are increasingly posting pictures and videos of themselves on social media sites as part of the "selfie" trend sweeping the globe. Another, more damaging trend is developing, with young people asking others to evaluate their looks, potentially allowing offensive comments to warp their fragile sense of self-worth.

"Olenko ruma?". Kuvakaappaus YouTube-kanavalla julkaistusta videosta.
An example of several young girls' posts on YouTube. Image: YouTube

Seeking to strengthen their sense of self, many children are asking the online community to evaluate their "selfies".

Online picture and video services are full of material posted by children and young people, some accompanied by questions like: “Am I pretty enough?”  Feedback to these posts can be very rude and hurtful. Youth counsellors believe the trend is worrying, as individual self-worth should not be dependent on feedback from social media.

Jonna Saxberg from the youth support organisation Kalliolan Nuoret Ry is worried about the rising trend. Young people should look to their family and close friends to build their self-identity, not to social media.

Saxberg recognizes the worry and stress that many young ‘YouTube-girls’ may carry about their appearance.

“The attention devoted to our looks has extended into everything and it has also become the basis by which we construct a large part of our self-image. Girls think that the ‘exterior me’ that people see from the outside is equivalent to the ‘real me’. The other components that make up a person’s personality and self are in fact missing.”

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