Bystanders are kids and teens who witness bullying and cyberbullying in action, who stand by and watch, who videotape it and make it viral ... and WHO DO AND SAY NOTHING.
Very often bystanders don’t know what to do. They’re afraid of retaliation or fear that their own group will exclude them for helping an outsider.
When you’re a bystander it’s important to know that by doing nothing you are sending a message to the bully that their behavior is acceptable.
And that’s not a message you want to send, nor is it a message you would want someone to send if you were a victim.
Yes, it is scary to directly confront a bully and sometimes it can mean taking a big risk.
Whether you know the victim or not, there are things that you as a bystander can safely do to support the victim:
- Don't laugh
- Don't encourage the bully in any way
- Don't participate
- Stay at a safe distance and help the target get away
- Don’t become an "audience" for the bully
- Reach out in friendship
- Help the victim in any way you can
- Support the victim in private
- If you notice someone being isolated from others, invite them to join you
- Include the victim in some of your activities
- Tell an adult
There is strength in numbers. Every school and every community has more caring kids than bullies.
Becoming an Upstander looks like this:
- Taking action by telling the bully to stop
- Taking action by getting others to stand up to the bully with them
- Taking action by helping the victim.
- Taking action by shifting the focus and redirecting the bully away from the victim
- Taking action by telling an adult who can help
Being an Upstander:
- Takes courage - Telling a friend who is bullying to stop is hard. They may be mad at you. But at least you won't feel guilt for being silent and allowing the bullying to continue. And you will be doing your friend a huge favor in the end by helping them stop really hurtful behavior.
- Takes action - Doing something that does not support the bullying can be a really small intervention with big results! Two words - "That's bullying" - can open others eyes to recognize the problem.
- Takes assertiveness - Telling a friend how their behavior makes you feel and how it affects others requires being able to use your voice!
- Takes compassion - Upstanders have the gift of compassion. They recognize when someone is hurt and take steps to help.
- Takes leadership - Upstanders are leaders in their social group, helping others to recognize ways to get along and be supportive to others.
If you are NOT part of the solution, you ARE part of the problem!
Unite, be empowered and speak out against bullying and cyberbullying!
Be an ally online as well as in person!
Together, you can STOMP Out Bullying – but only if you do something!
When you see someone being bullied and/or cyberbullied and you help them ... you stop being a bystander and become an upstander!
STAND UP for others! Be a Hero! Be a leader and STOMP Out Bullying!
It's up to you ... It's up to all of us! You can change anything you want -- Why not STAND UP and change the way bullies treat their targets! Be kind and be an UPSTANDER! You change the way your peers are treated.