Obama's comments came during a Google+ Connecting Continents hangout session with students from both Kansas City and South Africa.
Obama asked the students questions during the event, and also responded to the teens' inquiries as well --including one about her role models.
"I think about President Mandela when I think about how I carry myself and what I do and how I contribute to the world. I think about him, I think about Martin Luther King, and, as I said, I think about my father," she said. "Because there is greatness under our noses in so many was. Role models are in our backyards; they're right in front of us."
Topics ranged from how to best take advantage of technology to how to deal with bullies.
"It's the same thing, haters are everywhere ... but that's one of the things I tell them," she said of her two daughters. "It's more important what they think about themselves than what other people do. "