It’s a disturbing trend to say the least. Many teen girls are taking to YouTube to post “Am I Ugly?” videos, asking internet users whether they are attractive.

The girls pose in front of the camera and ask complete strangers if they think they’re cute.

“Clearly they’re looking for attention and validation, but really what they’re doing is exposing themselves to people who can be quite cruel,” said Dr. Steven Tobias, Director of the Center for Child and Family Development in Morristown. “It speaks to the values of our society that beauty is everything and it’s something to aspire to. Unfortunately, children who are doing this are feeling very insecure about themselves and that’s what makes it most dangerous because these are the kids who are most vulnerable.”

As a parent, what can you do? “Communicate,” said Tobias. “Parents need to explain to their children that their worth is about who they are, not what they look like. Parents should talk about their family values with their children on a regular basis. It can’t just be a one time thing. Self esteem comes from things you can control. Focus on working hard in school, doing well, treating others with kindness, being friendly and things like that.”

“Most importantly, parents need to monitor what their children are doing online,” said Tobias. “Kids have a false sense of anonymity when they’re on the computer. They don’t really understand the implications and the trouble they can get into. The worst thing a parent can do is have the attitude that their kid would never do something. Parents simply never know and it’s their job as parents to find out.”