What parents should know about roasting, a new cyberbullying trend

Psychiatrist Dr. Gail Saltz discusses what parents should know about this online trend where people ask others to insult them online.
5:27 | 08/25/17

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Transcript for What parents should know about roasting, a new cyberbullying trend
Now to a parent ago letter about a new form of cyberbullying, a growing trend caulk roasting where children ask others to insult them on social media. ABC's T.J. Holmes is back and he sat down with a group of teens to find out more about this. Good morning, T.J. Reporter: Good morning. This is how it all started. People would actually post a picture of themselves online that says roast me. Essentially asking people to insult them. Now, among adults and maybe amongst your friends this could be good-natured friend but it caught on with kids and teenagers and it turned mean pretty quickly. It's the comedic style known for not being nice. You literally are a guy that has it all except for friends, good parents and a grammy. Reporter: While TV roasts like these are popular with adults roasting is now a cause of concern for parents. Kind of smirked when I said the word roasting. Why is that? Because like adults don't really say it. It's like a kids' thing. They're talking about roasting. A social media trend in which they ask to be insulted using #roastme and photos and videos are posted on YouTube and Reddit and the insults start coming. You've seen kids be roasted online. Yeah. Do you think it's 50/50 good-natured fun and meanness. 50/50. Yeah, 50/50. Reporter: They say they don't participate but have seen the effect a video had on their friends. He put pictures of kids from our school and compared them to things like animals and stuff like that. You remember talking to any of the people in the video? Some of the girls that were in it were like crying about it at lunch. Reporter: Experts say it can be difficult for kids to distinguish when they're crossing the line online. Kids are volunteering this information but sometimes their pictures are being posted without their knowledge and don't know how that particular young person might react. They may already be suffering from depression and this is that thing that could send them over the edge. Reporter: These girls say roasting can affect you even when you're not the target. Does it turn you guys off to social media when you see some of this stuff? I don't like to go on it after I see that for a little because I don't really like people saying negative things to each other. I don't like witnessing that type of stuff. That makes me feel like critical because I was there. Reporter: They don't have the answers to make it stop. Is it going to go away? Probably not. They don't care because you can't see them face-to-face so they're not going to stop. They're just going to keep typing. Now, the disturbing thing in many cases some kids aren't asking to be roasted. They essentially have kids ganging up on them in this wle group mental and everybody, those insults just keep coming and keep coming. So disturbing. Let's bring in Dr. Gail sauts. I want to follow up. You talked to them. What surprised you most about this? That it's so prevalent. Right? It's just accepted behavior in a lot of ways and talked to kids before and they say sometimes the bullies are called out and the people will gang up on the bully but sometimes in these they say it's kind of this spiral effect to where, that kid is insulting him it's okay for me and it keeps coming at one kid. You're inviting the entire internet to come pick on you? Gail, what was most surprising to me, the teens are asking for this or wanting to be roasted. Why would that be the case? It's a self-destructive behavior like others like teens cutting or using drugs. And so usually underlying self-destruction is the feeling that I deserve it somehow so often underlying depression or anxiety or may be a group who feels so left out of things, so on the fringe and shunned that they would rather be the target than be not in at all. Negative attention better than no attention which, of course, it isn't. What do the parents have to say. Right now we're catching up. The kids were almost laughing at me using the term roasting looking at an idea. What do you know about roasting. Parents can't keep up. The kids are always ahead of us. So true if what should parents do in this case, Gail? If your kid is being roasted or if your child is roasting someone else. Both categories as you're bringing up it's moving so fast so parents have to monitor and need the passwords and look at what is going on to stay abrett linkletter of what's going on and communicate openly with their kids about whatever is going on, I will not ream you out, I will help you. Let's talk about what's going on so ha open communication, but if they are the ones who are being the victims, let's say then you need to look for that underlying cause. Is depression or anxiety going on? Get them help. If they're the ones doing the bullying you need to teach emempathy and say imagine you're standing in the shoes of the person receiving this. What does that feel like. Yeah, that's why we don't want too it and need to be consequences. Parents have stopped doing this. You need consequences for bullying. So whether that's you remove the computer and access for some period of time or I think more importantly make it right. Go -- I want to you go to that kid and say, hey, I'm sorry. How about say something nice. What's so great about that kid? Let's get together. I regret doing this. I am sorry. All right. Gail, T.J., thank you both.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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