3 minute read

Table Talk – Conversation Starters About YouTube Trends

Last Updated: August 6, 2021

Luke Gilkerson

Luke Gilkerson has a BA in Philosophy and Religious Studies and an MA in Religion. He is the author of Coming Clean: Overcoming Lust Through Biblical Accountability and The Talk: 7 Lessons to Introduce Your Child to Biblical Sexuality. Luke and his wife Trisha blog at IntoxicatedOnLife.com

Using fresh news stories can be a great way for parents to spark discussions with their kids and teens about how to be a good cyber citizen. “Table Talk” is a series on Breaking Free, passing along recent headlines about Internet temptations and dangers. Use the questions provided to get your family thinking about Internet safety and responsibility.

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Did Facebook Dad Do It Right?

Another viral video is making it big. In its first two days it was watched more than two million times. It has now been watched more than 31 million times, received more than a quarter of a million comments on YouTube, and 36,000 shares on Facebook.

In the video Tommy Jordan, an obviously disgruntled parent, reads aloud a message his 15-year-old daughter Hannah posted on Facebook. In the message Hannah complains about being her parents’ “slave.” She accuses her parents of being lazy, messy, and cruel, dropping a few expletives along the way. Hannah apparently didn’t intend on her dad finding the message, but he did. So what does he do in response? He gets out his camera, a lawn chair, and his .45 and makes an eight-minute video rant and posts it on YouTube. It all builds up to the point where he puts nine bullets in his daughter’s laptop.

(Watch it for yourself. Be warned: There are a number of curse words and a laptop is brutally murdered, but other than that it’s pretty clean.)

Public opinion about the video is split. Some parenting gurus call Tommy out on how he publicly humiliated Hannah, doing the very thing to her that he is so angry about her doing: using social media to defame the family. “She was disrespectful publicly…and then he turned around and did exactly the same thing,” said Dr. Phil McGraw. “You never, ever humiliate your child publicly…You’re supposed to be the adult, the calm in the middle of the storm.”

Others apparently like the way Tommy fought fire with fire. In a TODAY.com poll, 73% said they thought Tommy dished out an appropriate punishment for Hannah.

Tommy never intended the video to be seen by so many people. He later admitted in another video, “By accident, the punishment did far outweigh the crime.”

Discussion Points for Parents to Teens:

  • Do you think what Hannah did was reprehensible?
  • Do you think Tommy should have posted the video on YouTube and Facebook?

. . . .

“Am I Pretty?” Trend on YouTube

“Am I pretty? Am I ugly? I can take it, you can tell me.”

Newsfeeds are all ablaze with the latest YouTube trend: teen/tween girls posting videos asking their viewers if they are pretty.

There are so many on YouTube now it’s difficult to tell at first glance if they are young girls legitimately asking the question or just girls making fun of those who do. One video viewed over five million times has received the bulk of the media attention (and more than120,000 comments). Others have been viewed several thousand times.

  • One girl looks like she’s pushing the ripe old age of nine asking if she’s fat or skinny, striking a pose before the camera, singing Maroon 5, and making you wonder where in the world her parents are.
  • One girl stands on a chair (so we can get the full-body shot) and berates her looks. “I personally think I’m fat and ugly because that’s been told to me my whole life by people.”
  • One girl scrolls through kissy pictures of herself apologizing for lack of makeup. “My friends tell me that I’m pretty. It doesn’t seem like I’m pretty though,” she confesses.

Sophie Roessler, 21, posted a 51-second piece on YouTube reflecting on her own unhappy memories from middle school as she transitioned to womanhood. “A lot of my work is interested in how hard it is to learn how to be sexy when you’re still really vulnerable,” she said in a phone interview. “I found the videos these girls were making and thought, ‘How awful.’ I just wanted to hug them.”

Thirteen-year-old Faye told ABC News after posting her video, “Deep down inside, all girls know that other people’s opinions don’t matter, but we still go to other people for help because we don’t believe what people say.”

“They feel so needy for approval that they rally strangers to find it,” writes Dr. Meg Meeker. “We need to change this, Moms and Dads, because the most important boost to any girl’s self-esteem needs to come from home.”

Discussion Points for Parents to Teens:

  • Do you think the question these girls are asking is common for their age? Why do you think they are so concerned about how they look?
  • What do you expect the comments on these videos are like?
  • How important is self-esteem?