Although bullying happens a lot, that doesn’t mean it’s normal and that we have to accept it. Bullying is wrong. A bystander is the person who happens to be watching when bullying occurs.
Bystanders might not think they can help in a bullying situation because they are afraid, or they think they will lose friends. Sometimes they think they might even become the bully’s target if they try to help. They also might be worried of being called a tattletale.
But telling is not tattling when it comes to bullying. Tattling is when you try to get someone into trouble. Telling is when you tell an adult about unsafe behavior to keep someone from getting hurt. Keeping silent just gives the person who is bullying more power.
As bystanders we all share great powers:
We have the power to decide to help a bully continue his or her behavior by joining in, watching, or saying nothing.
We have the power to be a hero and help a person escape a bullying situation.
If you choose to help, there are several steps you can take:
1. If you witness bullying, interrupt it. (If it is safe to do so.)
2. Stand next to, or speak up for, the person being bullied.
3. Refuse to watch. Never laugh at a bully’s jokes. It only gives the bully more power.
4. Ask the bully to stop. (If it is safe to do so.)
5. Privately comfort the person being bullied and offer to help.
6. Walk away and find an adult who can help.
7. Set a good example. Don’t bully other people.
8. Encourage other bystanders to help too.
9. Treat all people with respect.
If you think your friend is being bullied, try and talk to them about it. Let them know that as a friend, you want to help.
Tell them that you’ll be there for them whenever they need to talk, and take their problem seriously. Just knowing that there’s someone on their side can help people who have become a target for people who bully.
It’s also important to tell them that it’s not their fault they’re being bullied – it’s the person bullying who has the problem. They don’t have to put up with it.