If You See Bullying Happening
Most teens agree that they are against bullying, but many do not know what to do about it. Here we will show you what to do and what not to do when you see cyber bullying happening.
As a bystander, you are playing a role in the bullying. You can choose to make things better or worse. You might wonder, "How can I be a bystander if the bullying is not happening in front of me?" You are a bystander if you read it, see it, or hear about it.
Some examples of how bystanders support cyber bullying:
- Seeing the bullying online and doing nothing.
- Participating and going along with the bully.
- Calling people and telling them to log on to see the comments or pictures.
- Talking to others about it or laughing about it.
- Commenting on wall posts, pictures, or messages in a way that encourages the bully.
- Forwarding messages, emails, instant messaging chats, tests, etc.
As a bystander you have a choice to take actions when you see or hear about cyber bullying. Now that you know what cyber bullying is and the hurtful effects it can have on the victim, you can change your behavior from encouraging the bully to helping the victim.
Below are specific actions you can take when you see cyberbullying.
Not all of these ideas may work best for you. Choose actions that you are most comfortable doing.
Responding to the bullying online.
You can stand up for the victim online by telling others what they are doing or saying is hurtful.
- Do so in a neutral or positive way.
- Say that you do not agree with the bully.
- Use positive comments about the victim.
- Do not engage in arguments, commenting wars, or act aggressively.
Talk to the victim.
This will let her know that someone cares about her.
- If you know the victim, call her.
- Ask if she knows or has seen what is going on.
- If she has not, tell her not to log on, check her phone etc. Offer to go to her house and look at it with her.
- If she has seen or does know about the bullying, offer support or advice.
Keep her calm.
Being the victim of cyber bullying can be overwhelming so the victim may need a voice of reason.
- Remind her that overreacting is what the bully wants.
- Remind her to breathe and to think before she acts.
- If the person wants to respond, help her come up with calm and appropriate responses.
Help save evidence.
If the victim decides she is going to report the bullying, she will need evidence to show what happened.
- First, ask the victim if she wants help keeping copies or notes, texts, emails, etc.
- Offer to save all of the information for her so she does not have to look at it.
Click the following link to read our instructions on how to save evidence (DOC).
Offer to be Cyber Free.
The best thing the victim can do is to stay off of the websites, phone, or email that she was bullied on. Doing this with a friend will give her an incentive to stay off social networking sites for a week or two.
- Tell the victim you will both stay off of the websites for a week together.
- Make a pact and sign it.
Remind her not to open it.
Anything the victim doesn't read cannot hurt her.
- If she says she has an email or a text that she's worried is harmful, tell her not to open it and to delete it.
- Open it for her and then delete it.
Make positive comments.
When a girl has been bullied, it feels good to know that others are thinking about her in a positive way.
- Send her positive happy text messages through the day.
- Write her nice notes.
- Leave positive comments on the wall of her social networking site.
Encourage her to tell an adult.
Being cyber bullied can be embarrassing, so it can be hard to tell someone else about the situation. It is always best to find an adult and tell them what happened. Remember, this is not tattling. Tell her that you really think she should tell an adult.
- Tell her that you really think she should tell an adult.
- Offer to go with her.
- Offer to do the talking if she feels uncomfortable.
Click here to learn how to talk to an adult about bullying.
Remember it's not tattling if…click here to learn the difference between tattling and telling (DOC).
Here are examples of how Laura might respond as a bystander.
Think you know?
The following questions will add to your understanding of what to do when you see cyber bullying. Work by yourself or with a friend and try to come up with answers on your own before looking at our answers.
Questions about the video:
First Laura encourages the bullying. Do you think she really feels this way about Amy?
- Laura probably doesn't feel this way about Amy.
- Bullying can be entertaining to people so it can be easy to laugh or talk about it to others even if you do not agree with it.
- Bullying on a social networking site like Facebook happens frequently, so although what was said was mean, Laura may not have recognized it as bullying.
When Laura's friend says. "Well, it's not me, so I can laugh about it." Do you think this is supporting the bullying? Why or why not?
Yes, this is supporting the bullying for several reasons
- Laura's friend is not disagreeing with the bullying.
- She is doing nothing to stop it.
- She is laughing about the mean comment when she reads it.
- She is discussing the mean comment instead of trying to help the victim.
What other things could Laura have done?
- She could have gone up to Amy and asked her if she was okay, if she wanted someone to talk to, or if she wanted help talking to an adult.
- She could have helped keep Amy calm and given her some ideas for how to calmly respond to the bullying.
- She could have told Amy not to read anymore of the posts and offered to be cyber free with her.
- She could have told an adult about what was going on.
Let's take a look at what happens next in If Bullying Happens To You →