Roasting the new Cyberbullying Trend

Dec 14, 2016

A new cyberbullying trend called “roasting” is taking the internet by storm and wreaking havoc for targeted kids across the globe. What started as a popular Reddit thread called “Roast Me” and then became a popular television event on Comedy Central roasting has been gaining in popularity. Some of today’s biggest celebrities have been the subject of these roasts including Justin Bieber, Joan Rivers, and even President Elect Donald Trump.

These roasts are often hard to watch as these people’s peers rip them apart with hurtful insults and personal attacks all in the name of a laugh. While celebrities can sometimes handle this situation, and do so voluntarily, recently young kids have started getting in on the action by roasting their peers on social media and other public forums with catastrophic consequences.

What is Roasting?
A roast is when a person subjects themselves to public ridicule and insults from their peers under the guise of joking. While this may seem like an easy way for some laughs on TV, it’s becoming a dangerous and harmful new form of cyberbullying among kids, especially young girls.

Are Girls or Boys More Likely to Roast Someone?
Recent articles claim that young girls are more likely to roast classmates and groups of girls roasting boys has become a trend. This bullying can include hurtful and direct insults, creating memes using the person’s face, and even attacking the person’s character on a public forum. The targets of these attacks then feel as if they have to take the treatment for fear of being unable to take a joke. While girls aren’t the only ones roasting their peers, a 2014 study showed that nearly twice as many girls (19%) have experienced cyberbullying than boys (10%).

Effects of Cyberbullying
This new cyberbullying trend is another disturbing way kids are targeting each other online resulting in self-esteem issues, depression, and even suicide. Cyberbullying is a form of emotional abuse that can have serious and long term consequences, but there are things parents can do to protect their children from this type of behavior.

Tips to Stop Cyberbullying

  • Talk to Your Kids: One of the best ways to protect your kids from cyberbullying is to talk openly with them about it. Parents should ask their kids if they’ve ever been bullied or seen someone else being bullied. And they should know they can talk to their parents about it openly, whether they are the target or one of their peers is being bullied. It’s also important that parents lead by example and don’t participate in any form of bullying and make it clear that bullying is not acceptable under any circumstance.
  • Keep Computers in a Public Space: If a computer is kept in a busy part of the house, kids are much less likely to participate in any form of bullying and are more likely to talk to their parents if they see such behavior. Most questionable online behavior happens when kids are in their rooms alone, so this is an easy and effective way to curb the issue without limiting online access.
  • Limit Internet Usage: The idea of limiting your child’s online access may sound impossible with mobile devices like iPhones and iPads, online school work, and the constant need to be connected, but there are tools to help parents do just that. NetNanny has an Screen Time Management Feature that allows parents to limit the amount of time and when their children spend online. This encourages healthy after school behavior and productive time on the internet, rather than hours of aimless browsing and chatting.
  • Become Friends With Your Kids on Social Media: Simply becoming friends with your kids on Facebook, Instagram, and other social media sites can have a huge impact and how they interact and what they post online. It’s also an easy way for parents to spot cyberbullying and stop it in its tracks. Kids are less likely to post inappropriate images on their social media if they know their parents will see them and since 64% of surveyed kids said they have experienced photo-related cyberbullying. Also consider installing parental control software that monitors social media and will send you alerts when online threats are detected such as cyberbullying.