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Posts Tagged ‘witness to crime’

What Is Cyber Bullying & Helping The Bystander To Bullying

Friday, October 11th, 2019

What is Cyber Bullying?

According to, cyber bullying is bullying that happens using the internet or electronic technology. Just like regular bullying, cyber bullying involves an aggressive act performed by a person that has (or that is perceived to have) more power toward a person that has (or that is perceived to have) less power. Bullying is repetitive and purposeful. It can include name calling, threats to cause harm and spreading rumors.

What Are Schools Doing to Prevent Bullying?

Nearly all schools take some measure to educate students about bullying and to prevent them from bullying their peers. Teachers talk about bullying in students’ health classes. Schools hold special programs and assemblies to educate students about the importance of not bullying. It all goes to enforce to students that bullying is wrong, hurtful and unacceptable. But if students know these things, why does it still happen?

Despite all the education that students receive about bullying, bullying still exists both at school and online. While anti-bullying measures demonstrate the school’s best intentions, The Total Bully Solution points out that too often school’s best efforts frequently don’t work. There are several reasons why people continue to bully when they know it is wrong. There are also several reasons why other students witnessing the bullying do not put a stop to it.

What is the Bystander Effect?

The bystander effect is what happens when people do not step in to help when they see another person being bullied or being placed in some type of danger. Named after the infamous stabbing of Kitty Genovese in 1964, the term “the bystander effect” refers to the tendency of people to not help in an emergency situation when other people are present.

According to social experiments done by Bibb Latané and John Darley, if one person witnesses an emergency situation where someone needs assistance, they are likely to help. They feel responsible for helping because they know if they do not help, no one else is around to do so.


Something strange happens when a group of people watch an emergency take place, however. Instead of rushing to help, people look at those around them to gauge their reactions. If no one else reacts, people rationalize not helping by saying that it is socially acceptable to not help or that someone else will help. They do not feel so responsible.

How Does the Bystander Effect Affect People who Witness Cyber Bullying?

People who witness cyber bullying online know that they are not the only people to see it. They feel removed from the situation and they figure that because so many people see the bullying taking place, they are not personally responsible for doing something to stop it. As a result, cyber bullies are able to continually harass their victims with no repercussions because no one intervenes. While it would be helpful if internet service providers were able to monitor online bullying, the best bully prevention techniques start at home.

How Can People Overcome the Bystander Effect?

The best way to overcome the bystander effect is to educate people about it. If people realize that they are in a large group of people who are not likely to help, they will be motivated to be the person that does help.


Nikki Longo is a writer based off the east coast. When she’s not writing at the desk that overlooks the beautiful tree in her backyard she can be found playing with her dogs or cooking up a new recipe. Feel free to reach out to her at

Empowering a Bystander or Witness to Crime

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

Empowering a Bystander or Witness to Crime

It’s happened to all of us at one point or another. We’re sitting in the office, playing on the swings, or walking our dogs and then it happens:  a mugging, a purse snatching, animal mistreatment or bullying.

In a split second we are drawn in a trauma or drama that is not expected and we feel has very little meaning to us personally.

What Would You Do

Adrenalin kicks in immediately and our bodies are flooded with messages to fight or take flight.  Do we get involved or do we stand by and watch or even leave the scene so we won’t have to see another human being or animal being abused?

Some of us are able to stop the problem immediately but others struggle with the decision… Old issues and experiences from childhood or the past will color how much power we feel that we have to intercede.

We may feel powerful or powerless.

When you witness a bullying situation or crime, you can call police and ask for assistance.

Those of us who are powerless or uninterested in helping become bystander bullies and add to the trauma of the victim.

There Are  No Winners

The seemingly innocent witness to this social crime may seem as if they don’t have much to do with it. This is not always true.

Bystanders can, without meaning to, make the victim of bullying feel even worse. They may end up inflicting more pain with their silence than any physical punishment can.

In addition to this, individuals who witness bullying by either verbal or physical harm often feel so much guilt and pressure they end up with more mental and psychological problems than the actual victim. Stomach aches, headaches, and even ulcers have been attributed to the lack of action from these bystanders.

Do You Get Involved?

It is understandable that people could be afraid to stand up to bullies. We all fear the possibility of being shunned or mocked for good deeds.

We don’t always like what we see but the chance of it being inflicted upon us rather than someone else is often enough to stay our hands and voices.

Get Help or Give Help

That is why it’s so important for us to remind individuals who see bullying that you don’t have to be out on a limb in order to stand up to bullies. Anonymous calls, tips, and information are easy enough to get to adults or supervisors.

Being a bystander bully isn’t the only option out there. You can always lend a hand to someone that you see who is too weak to stand up for him or her self. The important thing is to remember that as long as you’re silent there is no one who is going to take a stand.

Questions About How You Feel

  1. Have you ever seen a bullying situation and were not sure what to do?
  2. Have you become involved by calling authorities?
  3. Have you ever had a bully turn on you when you tried to help the victim?
  4. Have you ever assisted someone after they have gone through a trauma?
  5. What were you feeling in each of these situations?

Please feel free to answer and comment on these questions.  It is good to get a conversation going on how we can empower bystanders and witnesses to crime and bullying.  As each one of us steps up to be counted, we can lessen the trauma and drama of those who need assistance.

You can do it.  I have confidence in you.

Innocent Bystanders to Bullying and Sexual Coercion?

Saturday, June 19th, 2010

Welcome to our community of kind, thoughtful people who want respect for all,

Bullies have always been around.  Those who want all the power take it from those who appear to be less powerful.  Although we are used to seeing a bullying  or sexual coercion experience s one that is essentially between two parties, the victim and the offender, there is a third group involved.  That important part of triangle is the bystander or witness.

Bystander Bullies

Important research has been done by Ken Rigby and Bruce Johnson from the School of Education at the University of South Australia.

Bullies will often stop if a bystander or witness speaks up. Bystanders can help either directly or indirectly.

Their ground breaking studies have shown that while most bullying and sexual coercion takes place in at school and in the presence of bystanders, teachers are rarely present or find out what happened.

Although bystanders sometime will speak out to discourage the bullying, the most common response is to ignore what is going on and thus the bullying continues.

Step Up and Speak Out

When a witness or bystander does speak up and object to the treatment of a fellow classmate, in more than half the cases the bullying actually stops. A large number of the children interviewed indicated that as bystanders they would ignore what was going on as “it is not my business.”  A small minority admitted they would not only ignore the victim, but would yell encouragement to the bully.

This seemed to be true especially in teenage boys.  Over half of the boys interviewed indicated they would, as bystanders and witnesses, ignore both physical and verbal bullying.  However, when it came to sexual coercion fewer students were prepared to ignore what was going on.  They either helped the victim directly or helped indirectly by telling a teacher or adult.  But, sadly, there were still twenty percent of the witnesses, mainly boys, who were prepared to ignore what was going on.

What To Teach Your Children

When one observes or witnesses trauma, it affects our spirit and sense of values.  There are no innocent bystanders.

Schools, churches, clubs, sports and other places where children gather need to be aware of the dynamics of the group and the opportunity of some to misuse power by bullying and sexually coercing others. The positive feelings and self esteem

that those who step up and defend victims are important and need to be congratulated and encouraged.  By encouraging empathy and courage, we can all empower the bystanders to not just stand by, but to speak up when there is bullying and sexual coercion occurring within our circle of influence.

I have confidence in you, Judy