Sunday, July 31, 2016

Roasting: A new form of bullying on the menu

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,
At the end of this past school year, my daughter, Caroline (not her real name), volunteered to be “roasted” on some phone app. Her so-called friends, especially one, Celeste (also not her real name), taunted her night and day about what was being said. Then, her “friends” spread it on Facebook with horrible random pictures saying vile things about Caroline.

Caroline came home crying every day for a week. She thinks her boyfriend broke up with her because of it. I told her to tell her friends that it was bullying and it was wrong. She said she couldn’t because everyone was already telling her she couldn’t take a joke from being roasted.

I didn’t know what being roasted meant to these kids so I looked it up. I had no idea that kids have started doing this to each other. I was appalled and called the school. They told me students have been told not to do this.

Her brother has not heard not to do this, and he said girls are worse when they roast guys. He said a lot of girls are doing this to guys. But he said his friends don’t want to admit it’s really gotten bad and messing guys up.

Caroline’s therapist got her to distance herself from Celeste and now Celeste has moved on to doing this to her sister, even.

What more can I do? I don’t understand this roasting bullying.

Signed,
Mom not buying roast

Dear Mom,


You are to be applauded for your good work as a parent, investigating your daughter’s (and son’s) problems and seeking out professional help. Please continue.

We understand the torment your daughter is going through. This is the newest and nastiest trend, usually done by girls to boys. However, girls bully other girls by telling them it’s funny to go online with a caption under a picture saying, “Roast me.”

This happens on several social media websites, but especially Reddit (it says you must be 13 to be criticized and condemned), and WhatsApp, where racists and misogynists make many posts along with trashing jokes.

When friends tell each other to go on-line and be abused by random strangers for the amusement of those strangers, they are sending their friends to an emotional beating worse than any physical beating.

Some experts say roasting’s a level up from bantering. We say its miles down from bantering and one-upping. The psychological slamming that these experiences give to our kids will derail the confidence, courage, and civility we, as a community, try to instill.

We must teach our Foundation’s Five Cs (Civility, Courage, Confidence, Creativity, and strong Carriage) constantly if we want a more civil society.

Memes, pictures with horrid captions, demeaning someone by name, are the most common culprits in this newest form of online abuse.

Why would anyone volunteer to be burned at the stake?

• Boredom

• Daring – “I can take it”

• Amusement (we call it confidence suicide)

• Negative attention – we are such a communication-deficient society that negative attention has become better than no communication.

Parents, many of you don’t think cyberbullying is a problem, but 70 percent of the letters we receive are about cyberbullying in some form. The truth is, kids don’t report it for the fear of more bullying. It’s the double-bullying effect.

That is a problem. Cyberbullying is seen by thousands or more with a few clicks, and goes on 24 / 7. Kids choose it because they are separated by space and time from those they bully and abuse.

Our youth are especially vulnerable to bullying when it’s presented as humor and joking. The reality is that roasting is NO JOKE!

Thank you, Caroline’s mom. You are exemplary in your efforts, care, and engaged parenting. Keep up the great and challenging work!

Signed, Rhonda and Dr. Cheri

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