Most adults are familiar with the entertainment version of the word “roasting.” Roasts are traditionally intended as lighthearted dinners where various guests take turns “roasting” a guest of honor with good-natured jokes at that person’s expense. The key here is the phrase “good-natured.” As we’ve all witnessed, it can get awkward and downright uncomfortable. A roast that turns from lighthearted to vicious is becoming all too common. Guess who’s catching onto it? Your teenagers.
Too Young to Roast
It all started with the hashtag #roastme. Teenagers would post a picture or video on a social media channel (i.e., Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, Reddit, or a group text) of themselves with that hashtag. Like a traditional “roast,” they gave people consent to make funny comments about what they posted. However, like most things exposed online, the opportunity to post malicious, hurtful comments have gone unchecked and spiraled out of control.
This is such a dangerous trend that teenagers are often too young to understand the unimaginable repercussions.
- Teenagers are also more likely to follow others, feeling justified in participating and escalating the negative, hurtful remarks to make themselves look “cooler.”
- It happens so fast there is no time to distinguish the moment it turns dangerous
- The anonymity of social postings enables teenagers to disassociate themselves from what is happening to another human being
- Teenager witnessing or participating in the behavior often feel blameless because it isn’t face-to-face, even though the target of the comments is being hurt.
How to Stop Cyberbullying
What can you do as parents to protect your adolescents? Have access to their social channels and monitor them from time to time. If #ROASTME or #ROASTING appears, sit down with your child and talk to them about it immediately. What is funny and lighthearted to them may be the shove that pushes a classmate over the edge to self-hatred or even suicide.
For more information about ways to stop cyberbullying, visit ConnectSafely.
Timothy Dimoff – Speaker, National Expert, Author
Tim Dimoff’s engaging and thought-provoking presentations are sure to enlighten, inform, and move you into taking action on such critical issues as workplace risks, substance abuse, security, and societal threats. Feel free to contact Tim today to speak at your organization.