Bullying and the Bystander
Bullying usually involves three individuals or groups: the bully, the victim and the bystander. Bullying is repeated, aggressive behaviour towards one person from another person or group of people--and it is hurtful. It might be shoving, name-calling, lunch-stealing or even gossiping.
You may think that as long as you're not the bully you're not hurting anyone, but that's not true--the bystander plays an important role in a bullying situation.
YTV believes that bystanders have the power to help stop bullying.
- Bystanders (other kids watching) are present most of the time (85%) when there is a bully episode on the playground or in the classroom.
- Most kids feel uncomfortable witnessing bullying, but very few intervene.
- When peers step in, the bullying stops within ten seconds 57% of the time.
HOW BYSTANDERS CAN HELP
You're a "bystander" if you watch the bullying, but don't take part in it. In fact, you are exactly the audience that the bully wants. But you can help stop the bullying. Here are some tips:
- Recognize bullying -- It's not just physical. It can be social and verbal as well. Telling someone they're "ugly" is considered bullying, and can be just as hurtful as hitting them.
- Walk away -- By standing around and watching you encourage the bully. Walk away and go get help.
- Encourage bystanders to get involved as a group -- Band together and walk away.
- Keep track of places where bullying is taking place -- If you tell an adult in charge, they will monitor these areas more closely.
- Speak up -- Tell the bully that they're wrong and that you won't get involved in any bullying.
- Help the victim -- Put yourself in their shoes. Would you want someone to help you if you were being picked on? Of course!
THERE ARE NO INNOCENT BYSTANDERS
If you're standing around watching, you're part of the problem not the solution.
NOTE: Reporting bullying is NOT tattling. Tattling is when you want to get someone in trouble. When you report bullying, you are helping someone else. It is important to know and understand the difference.
IT'S DIFFERENT FOR BOYS AND GIRLS...
If you find yourself in a situation where you are being pressured into doing something you don't want to do, try these tools. Boys and girls have different experiences with bullying, so we have some tips for both of you.
- STOP and THINK. Don't just rush in.
- Walk away.
- Make a joke, sometimes humour is the best way to relieve tension.
- Let it pass, ignore the situation and carry on as if nothing happened.
- Talk it out. It can be a teacher or a friend. If something is really bothering you, talk about it.
- Create a scene to draw attention away from the bullying. Yell, sing, jump around, anything that will draw people away from the bully.
- Speak up! You have a right to be heard.
- Have a positive attitude.
- Make up your own mind. Just because everyone else is doing it, doesn't mean you have to as well.
- Choose your friends carefully. Like them for their good qualities, not just because they're popular.
- Be true to yourself. In the end, no one matters more than you do.
Don't put up with bullying in your school!
ARE YOU A VICTIM OF BULLYING?
Bullying is scary and embarrassing. It can make you feel as if it's your fault--it's not! Here are a few things to remember:
- THIS WILL END. You will not have to feel this bad forever!!
- Stay calm, bullies LOVE a reaction so don't give them one.
- Don't fight back; you may get hurt or make the situation worse.
- Try to calmly withdraw from the situation.
- Avoid being alone.
- Try to use humour to diffuse the situation.
- Don't be afraid to tell an adult you trust. Even if you just want to talk about it, they will listen.
SOURCES FOR HELP WITH BULLYING
Talk to an adult you trust, at home or at school.
If you've tried the above tips and the bullying still continues, then check out these other sources for more help:
To talk to someone try Kids Help Phone
Whatever the problem, Kids Help Phone is available 24/7 to help you. They offer free confidential counselling and information on the phone or online. You can reach them at 1-800-668-6868 or post a message online at kidshelpphone.ca
For information try:
Concerned Children's Advertisers -- they have loads more info on bullying. Visit www.cca-kids.ca