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Category: Bullying

How to Foster Empathy for Bullying Prevention

Empathy for Bullying Prevention

Regrettably, bullying is very common among children. However, that doesn’t make it normal, and parents shouldn’t rely on their children to “grow out of it” as they mature. Why? Because growing out of it is a quick fix, while fostering empathy in your child is a long-term solution.

Emotions, kindness, comforting words, hugs, and feeling others’ pain are all traits associated with empathy. When your child is empathetic, bullying is entirely out of the equation. But the question is how to foster empathy for bullying prevention. Below are a few ideas.

How to Instill Empathy in Children

When your child is authentically empathetic, they’re guided by their empathy in all their actions. They’re able to put themselves in others’ shoes, relate to their feelings, and help others feel better. Here are some ways to teach your little one to be empathetic.

Fulfill Their Needs

Even among grownups, we usually say that when someone bullies us, they feel bad about themselves or are jealous. By that very same token, if your child doesn’t receive the love they need from you, they won’t be able to treat others with love either.

Loving your children extends to include making them feel enough, and that’s the keyword. Avoid comparisons with classmates who receive better grades, sports mates who continuously win the gold medal, and similar situations. This very often triggers bullying behavior.

Encourage Your Child to Speak Up

Kids often have trouble conveying their feelings, especially when they don’t understand exactly how they feel. Always encourage your little one to share their feelings in the best way they can –– be it through art, speaking, a song, or other. Then, you can help them name their feelings.

When they’re connected with their emotions, they’re able to pick up on situations where others feel the same way they did, and they’ll understand how that felt like. If your child doesn’t let out their feelings, it may result in violence, bullying, and tantrums.

Lead by Example

Children are the best copycats. Showing them what empathy looks like is one of the best ways to instill empathy in their behavior. For example, visit your neighbor who lives alone and take them with you. Then, when you’re back, tell them that the neighbor had been feeling lonely and you wanted to give her some company and cook her a good meal.

When you take action and explain it, your child builds up a life guide of situations and behaviors that they use when they need to. You don’t even have to make huge actions; they can be as small as explaining why an actor was crying in a particular movie scene. Also, make sure to hear what your child thinks of the reactions they’re perceiving.

By doing so, not only does your child eliminate bullying from their dictionary, but they’re also better equipped to identify it and stand up to such behavior if it ever happens to them.

Explain to Children How Their Words and Behaviors Impact Others

Sometimes, children simply don’t understand the repercussions of their behaviors. They don’t mean any harm, but their mind doesn’t grasp the impact of their actions. Therefore, always make a habit of talking to your child about what happens to the other person due to their behavior.

Make sure to tackle issues such as spreading rumors, gossiping, being violent, calling others names, leaving some people out, and more. That way, they’ll learn to think before taking action, and they’ll consider how the other person will feel.

It’s also best if your child’s school works on preventing bullying by using a program that promotes an overall positive school climate using age-appropriate lessons. Make sure to check the school’s efforts in that area.

Final Words

Being empathetic is a cornerstone of leading a healthy life. For the longest time, people thought that empathy is equivalent to being nice, but actually, empathy is the bigger umbrella encompassing high levels of emotional intelligence that children can employ to make compassionate decisions and relate to others.

We hope that you now have an idea of how to foster empathy for bullying prevention, and at the end of the day, we all share the same vision of putting a stop to bullying!

Regrettably, bullying is very common among children. However, that doesn’t make it normal, and parents shouldn’t rely on their children to “grow out of it” as they mature. Why? Because growing out of it is a quick fix, while fostering empathy in your child is a long-term solution.

Emotions, kindness, comforting words, hugs, and feeling others’ pain are all traits associated with empathy. When your child is empathetic, bullying is entirely out of the equation. But the question is how to foster empathy for bullying prevention. Below are a few ideas.

How to Instill Empathy in Children

When your child is authentically empathetic, they’re guided by their empathy in all their actions. They’re able to put themselves in others’ shoes, relate to their feelings, and help others feel better. Here are some ways to teach your little one to be empathetic.

Fulfill Their Needs

Even among grownups, we usually say that when someone bullies us, they feel bad about themselves or are jealous. By that very same token, if your child doesn’t receive the love they need from you, they won’t be able to treat others with love either.

Loving your children extends to include making them feel enough, and that’s the keyword. Avoid comparisons with classmates who receive better grades, sports mates who continuously win the gold medal, and similar situations. This very often triggers bullying behavior.

Encourage Your Child to Speak Up

Kids often have trouble conveying their feelings, especially when they don’t understand exactly how they feel. Always encourage your little one to share their feelings in the best way they can –– be it through art, speaking, a song, or other. Then, you can help them name their feelings.

When they’re connected with their emotions, they’re able to pick up on situations where others feel the same way they did, and they’ll understand how that felt like. If your child doesn’t let out their feelings, it may result in violence, bullying, and tantrums.

Lead by Example

Children are the best copycats. Showing them what empathy looks like is one of the best ways to instill empathy in their behavior. For example, visit your neighbor who lives alone and take them with you. Then, when you’re back, tell them that the neighbor had been feeling lonely and you wanted to give her some company and cook her a good meal.

When you take action and explain it, your child builds up a life guide of situations and behaviors that they use when they need to. You don’t even have to make huge actions; they can be as small as explaining why an actor was crying in a particular movie scene. Also, make sure to hear what your child thinks of the reactions they’re perceiving.

By doing so, not only does your child eliminate bullying from their dictionary, but they’re also better equipped to identify it and stand up to such behavior if it ever happens to them.

Explain to Children How Their Words and Behaviors Impact Others

Sometimes, children simply don’t understand the repercussions of their behaviors. They don’t mean any harm, but their mind doesn’t grasp the impact of their actions. Therefore, always make a habit of talking to your child about what happens to the other person due to their behavior.

Make sure to tackle issues such as spreading rumors, gossiping, being violent, calling others names, leaving some people out, and more. That way, they’ll learn to think before taking action, and they’ll consider how the other person will feel.

It’s also best if your child’s school works on preventing bullying by using a program that promotes an overall positive school climate using age-appropriate lessons. Make sure to check the school’s efforts in that area.

Final Words

Being empathetic is a cornerstone of leading a healthy life. For the longest time, people thought that empathy is equivalent to being nice, but actually, empathy is the bigger umbrella encompassing high levels of emotional intelligence that children can employ to make compassionate decisions and relate to others.

We hope that you now have an idea of how to foster empathy for bullying prevention, and at the end of the day, we all share the same vision of putting a stop to bullying!

Breaking Down Cyberbullying and Its Prevention

Cyberbullying Prevention

Before the world went online, children worried about being bullied at school, on the playground, or in the park. However, today’s bullies have access to mobile phones, computers, gaming consoles, and other technology. This has led to the rise of cyberbullying, and this type of digital abuse can have far-reaching, devastating consequences.

Let’s take a closer look at it and how to prevent it from happening.

Tactics Of Cyberbullies

People who haven’t experienced cyberbullying might think it begins and ends with mean comments on the victim’s Facebook profile or nasty text messages. Those are a couple of tactics used by cyberbullies, but there are many more.

These are the most common ways in which bullies attack people online:

  • Posting hateful, nasty comments about someone’s body, ethnicity, gender, religion, race, socio-economic background, or other characteristics online
  • Posting embarrassing or hurtful comments about them online
  • Posting or sending them threats of violence
  • Posting comments or sending messages telling them to kill themselves
  • Posting humiliating or mean photos or videos of or directed at the victim
  • Creating a nasty fake profile, blog, or webpage about someone
  • Creating fake profiles to gain personal information about the victim and then posting or sharing that information
  • Creating fake profiles to spread false information about the victim
  • Doxing victims by posting personal information such as their full name, contact details, home address, credit card number, social security, and more

As you can see from these tactics, cyberbullies use electronic devices such as mobile phones to harass, mock, or threaten people intentionally and repeatedly. Victims will agree that the effects can be as hurtful and damaging as face-to-face bullying on the playground, office environment, or anywhere else.

Cyberbullying – The Characteristics

Cyberbullying differs from bullying that happens in person, and the tactics that cyberbullies use have certain characteristics.

These are a few of those characteristics:

Anonymity – Cyberbullying often is anonymous. Bullies hide behind fake profiles, which makes it more challenging to put a stop to them. Not knowing who is behind the abusive behavior can also make it more terrifying for victims.

Difficult to detect – It’s easier for parents to detect physical bullying. For example, mom or dad would notice if Johnny or Bailey came home from school with a black eye or a ripped shirt. It’s far more difficult to detect that a child is receiving threats online if they don’t say anything about it to their parents.

Cyberbullying is ongoing – The persistence of this type of harassment is a major factor. Rather than being limited to school hours, bullies can use their phones or other devices to attack or harass victims at any time of the day or night.

Attacks can be permanent – If others share posts made by cyberbullies, or if online content goes undeleted, their attacks can be permanent. Some social media platforms may delete abusive content if reported, but it can be impossible to track everything shared. Once something has been posted online, it’s difficult to delete it completely.

Cyberbullying can be far-reaching – Due to the nature of the internet and social media platforms, cyberbullying has a much bigger audience than bullying that happens face-to-face. Nasty posts made about someone online can reach thousands of people around the world in a few minutes.

Cyberbullying Has Serious Effects

According to UNICEF, victims of cyberbullying often feel as though there is no escape. Whether they are at home, school, or anywhere else, they know that the bully can strike at any moment. The constant threat of attack can have serious consequences.

Cyberbullying can cause stress-related physical problems such as tension headaches, stomach aches or stomach upsets, and sleep loss. It can also have an emotional impact by making the victims feel ashamed about the things they enjoy. And it can cause mental anguish by making victims feel angry, embarrassed, stupid, or upset.

Some victims of cyberbullying have been made to feel so ashamed, embarrassed, and upset that they’ve never spoken out. Of course, the bullying did not stop. It got so bad that the victims took their own lives in some situations because they could not deal with it any longer.

Parents and children need to understand that, as terrible as cyberbullying can be, it’s not the end of the road for the victim. They can regain their peace of mind and confidence again. This takes time and possibly counseling, but recovery is possible.

Cyberbullying Prevention Tips For Young People

Arguments between people happen from time to time, and they’re normal. However, if someone is repeatedly nasty to you for no fault of your own, it’s bullying. Don’t blame yourself for it, because no one deserves to be bullied.

Save the evidence of bullying. Whether the cyberbully sends text messages, posts on Facebook, or leaves nasty comments on Instagram, save the messages, download the videos, or take screenshots of the posts. Evidence may help authorities take action if you have to proceed with a bullying lawsuit to end the harassment.

Do not retaliate. Your upset or angry response may add fuel to the fire. If bullies know they’re getting to you, they’re likely to continue. If you know the bully’s identity, don’t retaliate in vengeance because that will turn you into a bully too. Instead, save the evidence and seek help.

Tell someone you trust. Even if it seems difficult or embarrassing, telling a parent, relative, friend, or teacher what’s happening can be one of the best things you can do for yourself.

Cyberbullying Prevention Tips For Parents

Follow or befriend your child on social media. This way, you can keep an eye on what they’re doing and what others are saying in response to them.

Educate your child. Tell them about not accepting friend requests from strangers, and warn against posting personal information and compromising photos online.

Be proactive. If you see cyberbullying taking place, report the posts – even if your child is not the victim.

Cyberbullying is one of the downsides of the digital age. Victims need all the support they can get, while bullies need to learn that good people will not accept their vile behavior.

Which States Are Doing to Fight Cyberbullying?

Before the world went online, children worried about being bullied at school, on the playground, or in the park. However, today’s bullies have access to mobile phones, computers, gaming consoles, and other technology. This has led to the rise of cyberbullying, and this type of digital abuse can have far-reaching, devastating consequences.

Let’s take a closer look at it and how to prevent it from happening.

Tactics Of Cyberbullies

People who haven’t experienced cyberbullying might think it begins and ends with mean comments on the victim’s Facebook profile or nasty text messages. Those are a couple of tactics used by cyberbullies, but there are many more.

These are the most common ways in which bullies attack people online:

  • Posting hateful, nasty comments about someone’s body, ethnicity, gender, religion, race, socio-economic background, or other characteristics online
  • Posting embarrassing or hurtful comments about them online
  • Posting or sending them threats of violence
  • Posting comments or sending messages telling them to kill themselves
  • Posting humiliating or mean photos or videos of or directed at the victim
  • Creating a nasty fake profile, blog, or webpage about someone
  • Creating fake profiles to gain personal information about the victim and then posting or sharing that information
  • Creating fake profiles to spread false information about the victim
  • Doxing victims by posting personal information such as their full name, contact details, home address, credit card number, social security, and more

As you can see from these tactics, cyberbullies use electronic devices such as mobile phones to harass, mock, or threaten people intentionally and repeatedly. Victims will agree that the effects can be as hurtful and damaging as face-to-face bullying on the playground, office environment, or anywhere else.

Cyberbullying – The Characteristics

Cyberbullying differs from bullying that happens in person, and the tactics that cyberbullies use have certain characteristics.

These are a few of those characteristics:

Anonymity – Cyberbullying often is anonymous. Bullies hide behind fake profiles, which makes it more challenging to put a stop to them. Not knowing who is behind the abusive behavior can also make it more terrifying for victims.

Difficult to detect – It’s easier for parents to detect physical bullying. For example, mom or dad would notice if Johnny or Bailey came home from school with a black eye or a ripped shirt. It’s far more difficult to detect that a child is receiving threats online if they don’t say anything about it to their parents.

Cyberbullying is ongoing – The persistence of this type of harassment is a major factor. Rather than being limited to school hours, bullies can use their phones or other devices to attack or harass victims at any time of the day or night.

Attacks can be permanent – If others share posts made by cyberbullies, or if online content goes undeleted, their attacks can be permanent. Some social media platforms may delete abusive content if reported, but it can be impossible to track everything shared. Once something has been posted online, it’s difficult to delete it completely.

Cyberbullying can be far-reaching – Due to the nature of the internet and social media platforms, cyberbullying has a much bigger audience than bullying that happens face-to-face. Nasty posts made about someone online can reach thousands of people around the world in a few minutes.

Cyberbullying Has Serious Effects

According to UNICEF, victims of cyberbullying often feel as though there is no escape. Whether they are at home, school, or anywhere else, they know that the bully can strike at any moment. The constant threat of attack can have serious consequences.

Cyberbullying can cause stress-related physical problems such as tension headaches, stomach aches or stomach upsets, and sleep loss. It can also have an emotional impact by making the victims feel ashamed about the things they enjoy. And it can cause mental anguish by making victims feel angry, embarrassed, stupid, or upset.

Some victims of cyberbullying have been made to feel so ashamed, embarrassed, and upset that they’ve never spoken out. Of course, the bullying did not stop. It got so bad that the victims took their own lives in some situations because they could not deal with it any longer.

Parents and children need to understand that, as terrible as cyberbullying can be, it’s not the end of the road for the victim. They can regain their peace of mind and confidence again. This takes time and possibly counseling, but recovery is possible.

Cyberbullying Prevention Tips For Young People

Arguments between people happen from time to time, and they’re normal. However, if someone is repeatedly nasty to you for no fault of your own, it’s bullying. Don’t blame yourself for it, because no one deserves to be bullied.

Save the evidence of bullying. Whether the cyberbully sends text messages, posts on Facebook, or leaves nasty comments on Instagram, save the messages, download the videos, or take screenshots of the posts. Evidence may help authorities take action if you have to proceed with a bullying lawsuit to end the harassment.

Do not retaliate. Your upset or angry response may add fuel to the fire. If bullies know they’re getting to you, they’re likely to continue. If you know the bully’s identity, don’t retaliate in vengeance because that will turn you into a bully too. Instead, save the evidence and seek help.

Tell someone you trust. Even if it seems difficult or embarrassing, telling a parent, relative, friend, or teacher what’s happening can be one of the best things you can do for yourself.

Cyberbullying Prevention Tips For Parents

Follow or befriend your child on social media. This way, you can keep an eye on what they’re doing and what others are saying in response to them.

Educate your child. Tell them about not accepting friend requests from strangers, and warn against posting personal information and compromising photos online.

Be proactive. If you see cyberbullying taking place, report the posts – even if your child is not the victim.

Cyberbullying is one of the downsides of the digital age. Victims need all the support they can get, while bullies need to learn that good people will not accept their vile behavior.

Which States Are Doing to Fight Cyberbullying?

Which States Are Doing to Fight Cyberbullying?

Keeping kids safe online while learning

In many ways, the internet is a great learning tool and can be wonderful for connecting children with the rest of the world. Unfortunately, there is also plenty of inappropriate content, and online social networks can give other kids a forum for teasing and bullying.

Currently, there are only a few federal protections to keep minors safe online—the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) and the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) being the most prominent.

The good news is, states have the power to rein in bullying and inappropriate interactions that happen in the digital sphere—and several are going above and beyond to keep kids safe online. Here’s a closer look at which states are doing the most to keep their young residents protected while learning on the internet.

States Taking Action

Many states have implemented some combination of laws specifically addressing cyberbullying (at school and otherwise), online harassment, and texting inappropriate content (known as “sexting”). But nine states have doubled down on establishing protections for kids online:

  1. Arkansas
  2. Connecticut
  3. Florida
  4. Georgia
  5. Kansas
  6. Pennsylvania
  7. South Dakota
  8. Texas
  9. Utah

These states have taken clear legislative action against both cyberbullying—bullying, belittling, or harassment that occurs via digital means like social media or texting—and inappropriate texting with minors.

In Arkansas, schools are required to institute and enforce anti-bullying policies. Schools must also offer group conflict resolution services for students and training for teachers to learn how to recognize bullying.

Connecticut is a leader when it comes to cyber-bullying policies and resources for students and teachers. In addition to the laws put in place by Arkansas, Connecticut school districts also have strategies for including parents of both the student who was bullied and the student(s) doing the bullying to ensure the safety of everyone involved. Texas also has a strict policy that covers all these bases, though protections for specific classes aren’t clearly delineated.

The state of Florida includes a process for involving families in cyberbullying situations. It also requires districts to keep a list of programs that can offer training for school staff, parents, and students on how to identify and react to online harassment. Like Texas, specific groups aren’t called out in the laws, but state-funded schools are still held to federal anti-discrimination rules.

While the requirements in Georgia do not include training for school personnel, the state has implemented character education programs for all grade levels and includes off-campus cyberbullying directed toward students or school personnel in their laws and regulations.

Laws in Kansas don’t include off-campus incidents, but they do require training for educators and staff on navigating bullying situations. And Pennsylvania and Utah include everything except offering mental health support for students who have been bullied, even going so far as to require regular policy reviews and to involve families in policy creation, respectively.

South Dakota’s laws focus on responding to bullying as it happens, and while there aren’t plans in place for prevention or family involvement, the state does offer immunity for reporting bullying.

Additionally, all nine of these states have laws that directly address minors sending and receiving inappropriate content via text.

What Can Parents Do?

Regardless of what state you live in, there are some basic precautions you can take to keep kids safe online.

  1. Educate yourself on what dangers are out there and how to identify them.
  2. Figure out where your state stands on online privacy and safety for minors.
  3. Monitor your children when they’re using the internet, keep computers in common rooms, and set up restrictions to keep your kids off message boards, chat rooms, etc. until they’re old enough to engage responsibly.

Last but not least, have a conversation with your children about the importance of being careful with personal information and the potential risks of being online.

In many ways, the internet is a great learning tool and can be wonderful for connecting children with the rest of the world. Unfortunately, there is also plenty of inappropriate content, and online social networks can give other kids a forum for teasing and bullying.

Currently, there are only a few federal protections to keep minors safe online—the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) and the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) being the most prominent.

The good news is, states have the power to rein in bullying and inappropriate interactions that happen in the digital sphere—and several are going above and beyond to keep kids safe online. Here’s a closer look at which states are doing the most to keep their young residents protected while learning on the internet.

States Taking Action

Many states have implemented some combination of laws specifically addressing cyberbullying (at school and otherwise), online harassment, and texting inappropriate content (known as “sexting”). But nine states have doubled down on establishing protections for kids online:

  1. Arkansas
  2. Connecticut
  3. Florida
  4. Georgia
  5. Kansas
  6. Pennsylvania
  7. South Dakota
  8. Texas
  9. Utah

These states have taken clear legislative action against both cyberbullying—bullying, belittling, or harassment that occurs via digital means like social media or texting—and inappropriate texting with minors.

In Arkansas, schools are required to institute and enforce anti-bullying policies. Schools must also offer group conflict resolution services for students and training for teachers to learn how to recognize bullying.

Connecticut is a leader when it comes to cyber-bullying policies and resources for students and teachers. In addition to the laws put in place by Arkansas, Connecticut school districts also have strategies for including parents of both the student who was bullied and the student(s) doing the bullying to ensure the safety of everyone involved. Texas also has a strict policy that covers all these bases, though protections for specific classes aren’t clearly delineated.

The state of Florida includes a process for involving families in cyberbullying situations. It also requires districts to keep a list of programs that can offer training for school staff, parents, and students on how to identify and react to online harassment. Like Texas, specific groups aren’t called out in the laws, but state-funded schools are still held to federal anti-discrimination rules.

While the requirements in Georgia do not include training for school personnel, the state has implemented character education programs for all grade levels and includes off-campus cyberbullying directed toward students or school personnel in their laws and regulations.

Laws in Kansas don’t include off-campus incidents, but they do require training for educators and staff on navigating bullying situations. And Pennsylvania and Utah include everything except offering mental health support for students who have been bullied, even going so far as to require regular policy reviews and to involve families in policy creation, respectively.

South Dakota’s laws focus on responding to bullying as it happens, and while there aren’t plans in place for prevention or family involvement, the state does offer immunity for reporting bullying.

Additionally, all nine of these states have laws that directly address minors sending and receiving inappropriate content via text.

What Can Parents Do?

Regardless of what state you live in, there are some basic precautions you can take to keep kids safe online.

  1. Educate yourself on what dangers are out there and how to identify them.
  2. Figure out where your state stands on online privacy and safety for minors.
  3. Monitor your children when they’re using the internet, keep computers in common rooms, and set up restrictions to keep your kids off message boards, chat rooms, etc. until they’re old enough to engage responsibly.

Last but not least, have a conversation with your children about the importance of being careful with personal information and the potential risks of being online.

Are you a Cyberbully Bystander?

cyberbystander for online bullies

People talk a lot about cyberbullies and their victims. One part of this social ill that people rarely talk about is how bystanders effect the situation. Some researchers call them “cyberbystanders.” Cyberbystanders are those who watch cyberbullying while it happens.

They are the other people in chat rooms or on social media apps who can read the posts that the bully posts to the victim.

Cyberbystanders can be middle-school kids, college students or even business associates. These people will watch the exchange and have a chance to speak up. But do they?

Many studies have been done to see exactly what happens to cyberbystanders. A university study found that only one out of ten cyberbystanders will take a stand during the exchange. The action these people take is usually limited to posting support for the victim or posting comments that the bully should back off.

Most of the time, though, cyberbystanders do nothing. The studies seem to show that cyberbystanders didn’t want to get the middle of a situation that was none of their business. They didn’t seem to make the connection that they were on a public site—making everything that happened there public.

Some of the cyberbystanders who did nothing during the bullying did take action afterwards. They sent comments to moderators or to the site’s security officers. Moderators and site security can remove offending posts and even ban bullies from the site.

Companies are taking cyberbullying more seriously these days and will often respond to comments within hours. This can help prevent further bullying, but still doesn’t make a difference to the victim of the bullying that’s already happened.

Cyberbystanders online act much like real-life bystanders. When an accident happens on the street, if there are lots of people watching, then people are less likely to help. In other words, the more witnesses there are, the fewer people will help.

That is the same online. If lots of people are watching the posts and tweets, the less likely someone will step in and defend the victim or criticize the bully. If only a couple people are reading the posts—or witness the accident—the more likely they are to step in and help. On the other hand, the more people that are following an ugly exchange online, the more brutal the bully will be. It seems that bullies like an audience.

Social scientists are still trying to understand the difference cyberbystanders make to online communication. What you can do is remember that you are probably a cyberbystander. Talk with your teachers, friends or family about what you should do when you see bullying happen online. Don’t be one of the nine out of ten who does nothing.

Are you being bullied in school or cyberbullied online?
Learn what you can do to get help.

People talk a lot about cyberbullies and their victims. One part of this social ill that people rarely talk about is how bystanders effect the situation. Some researchers call them “cyberbystanders.” Cyberbystanders are those who watch cyberbullying while it happens.

They are the other people in chat rooms or on social media apps who can read the posts that the bully posts to the victim.

Cyberbystanders can be middle-school kids, college students or even business associates. These people will watch the exchange and have a chance to speak up. But do they?

Many studies have been done to see exactly what happens to cyberbystanders. A university study found that only one out of ten cyberbystanders will take a stand during the exchange. The action these people take is usually limited to posting support for the victim or posting comments that the bully should back off.

Most of the time, though, cyberbystanders do nothing. The studies seem to show that cyberbystanders didn’t want to get the middle of a situation that was none of their business. They didn’t seem to make the connection that they were on a public site—making everything that happened there public.

Some of the cyberbystanders who did nothing during the bullying did take action afterwards. They sent comments to moderators or to the site’s security officers. Moderators and site security can remove offending posts and even ban bullies from the site.

Companies are taking cyberbullying more seriously these days and will often respond to comments within hours. This can help prevent further bullying, but still doesn’t make a difference to the victim of the bullying that’s already happened.

Cyberbystanders online act much like real-life bystanders. When an accident happens on the street, if there are lots of people watching, then people are less likely to help. In other words, the more witnesses there are, the fewer people will help.

That is the same online. If lots of people are watching the posts and tweets, the less likely someone will step in and defend the victim or criticize the bully. If only a couple people are reading the posts—or witness the accident—the more likely they are to step in and help. On the other hand, the more people that are following an ugly exchange online, the more brutal the bully will be. It seems that bullies like an audience.

Social scientists are still trying to understand the difference cyberbystanders make to online communication. What you can do is remember that you are probably a cyberbystander. Talk with your teachers, friends or family about what you should do when you see bullying happen online. Don’t be one of the nine out of ten who does nothing.

Are you being bullied in school or cyberbullied online?
Learn what you can do to get help.