The Possible Hidden Form of Bullying

The Possible Hidden Form of Bullying

Aamir Jamil

Roasting is a slang term that one website defines as being “tactfully mean (snarky) without being mean-spirited in poking fun at someone.” Middle school kids tend to use this word when someone (usually a friend) makes a joke toward someone else (usually another friend). But when does the “poking” fun” become “mean spirited” and where is that line? Can roasting turn into bullying?

This what some parents have been talking about. They say roasting has a bad effect on the victims, but others say it is just in the name of fun. A friend could roast someone and that friend could think it was a joke but that person could take it seriously. There are many people divided over whether it is a joke or a form of being mean and making fun of people. Some roasting happens on social media apps or through texting, but sometimes friends can roast each other verbally. Although roasts can be considered jokes, sometimes they are meant to cause harm to the victim.

One interviewed student said, “There are different degrees of roasting. On one hand there can be very subtle and gentle roasts that might offend the most sensitive people. However, the repetition of these roasts often are able to get to people. Like it might be gentle by itself, but in repetition might add up. On the other hand, there are more aggressive roasts in which one could get truly hurt.”

Roasting is usually thought to differ from bullying by this “poking fun” and having fun instead of actively attacking somebody and intending to harm them. The victim is usually being roasted by their friends and they’re having fun in roast sessions or they bring it upon themselves intentionally. Nobody wants to get bullied, but some people interviewed enjoy getting roasted.

“It depends on the circumstances,” said another student. “Two close friends could say really borderline stuff about each other and just laugh it off. But other people who are not as close might be offended things like that, and consider it as crossing the line. It really depends because I’ve heard of people who ask to be roasted online.” When asked where the line is, this students replied, “When the person stops taking it as a joke and thinks it is actually mean. When the person getting roasted no longer wants to participate and/or voices concerns.”

As time goes on, our definitions of roasting may evolve. But we should be cautious about allowing borderline behavior to tip over to really bad behavior, maybe even H.I.B.

Roasting may be popular amongst some for now, but it can often get very personal, even between the best of friends.