“Roast me!” is a phrase I would normally only use when pretending to be a potato, which doesn’t happen all that often.
Those of you over a certain age probably feel the same (aspirations to vegetable imitation notwithstanding). But for young people, its alternative meaning can have severe consequences.
It’s not at all new (this article was posted over a year ago and it had been around for a couple of years before that), but it seems to be coming round again.
What is it? Put simply, posting a photo or video of yourself alongside the hashtag #roastme and thereby inviting friends and strangers alike to tease you for it. Harmless banter…after all, they literally asked for it? Or something more nefarious?
We mustn’t forget the following: one person’s teasing is another’s bullying, and the same words can always have a different impact on us depending on who said them; these things can quickly spiral out of control; sometimes people haven’t actually posted the photo in question but ‘volunteer’ others; and asking to be roasted is clearly harmful and self-destructive in some cases (psychologists have likened it to self-harm where the user really is seeking abuse).
So what to do? Whether you use this half-baked term (pun very much intended) to talk about the issues or just think about all the instant social media putdowns we are all partial to now and again for a laugh at others’ expense, the issues are the same.
We could do worse than encourage young people (and adults) to do two simple things: stop and think before you click, and then ask the perennial self-reflective question “how would it make me feel?”
That’s enough from me, so why not head over to bullying.lgfl.net now for signposts to a wide range of resources and organisations that help schools and families with bullying issues.