No, it doesn’t involve fire or anything like that. “Roasting” is, well, just like celebrity roasts, where people get together and just tell jokes about a single person. Sometimes it’s started by someone who wants to be roasted, but other times it’s more like ganging up on someone.
It’s happening on social media, and it travels quickly through schools. It’s been around for a couple years, but only recently has really taken off pretty quickly. When someone asks for it, literally, they make a post using the hashtag #roastme. People will then start to post pictures that may be embarrassing or show them in a bad situation, people will offer insults, sometimes lighthearted, sometimes viciously mean.
Some middle school students reported seeing fellow students compared to animals. One girl says she doesn’t like to even go on social media ny more after seeing a roast take place. Some students take it as a joke, and others break down in tears. As with anything social media related with younger people, sometimes it just goes too far.
Roasting can seem like a light-hearted comedy set, especially if someone literally asks for it, but when they’re brought on randomly or started by someone else to target another student (or if it just turns mean), it can get bad quickly, especially if that person is already the victim of bullies or suffers from depression.
Experts say you should have the conversation with your children, find out if they’ve been roasted, or ask if they’re doing roasting themselves. Psychiatrist Dr. Gail Saltz says that if your child actually asks to be roasted, it may be an indication that they’re depressed, or even just feels excluded. She says that roasting is “self-destructive behavior.” If your child is roasting someone else, she recommends talking to him or her about empathy.