Think back to when you were in high school. Were you happy with how you looked?
Chances are the answer is "not really". For many, the teen years are fraught with insecurities. Growing up and growing into yourself tends to go hand-in-hand with concerns about being "cool enough", "funny enough" and, in particular, "hot enough".
As if that's not enough to deal with, the internet has given teens a whole new audience with which to share these thoughts - and it's produced some heartbreaking trends.
Teens and pre-teens as young as 10 are posting homemade videos on Youtube, earnestly asking other users to rate their appearance. In the videos, usually filmed on webcam and given titles like "Am I ugly or pretty, be honest", the kids - usually girls - plead for straight answers, no matter how brutal. "People tell me I'm ugly. So tell me - am I?" whispers one girl. "All my friends say 'you're so pretty', but I kinda think I'm ugly, so I wanna know what you guys think," explains another with an air of feigned nonchalance. Many claim to "not really care" about the opinions of others, and are instead merely "curious" to hear an outside opinion.
There are almost half a million of these videos on Youtube. The young subjects sit alone in their bedrooms, surrounded by the innocent minutiae of their teen and tween lives - posters, books, photos of their family and friends - while putting their self-esteem at the mercy of people they will never meet.
They receive mixed responses. Many of the comments are complimentary and even concerned. However, others take the chance to post anonymous insults that have enormous potential to shatter a teen's self-esteem at a time when reassurance is needed most.