It is commonly thought that the bullying game is run by two main players, the bully and the victim. However, there are many other players taking part in this game. Understanding the role of the other players can greatly change the dynamic of the bullying act. Their weaknesses are not obvious, so they are not easy targets, but do they defend the weak? Encourage the bully? Do nothing?
As a group, the kids who are watching an act of bullying are called “Bystanders”. Research studies claim that in 85% of the situations, there are other kids witnessing an act of bullying. Most bystanders feel very uncomfortable with the bullying, but do not intervene for different reasons. As a parent reading this, you probably say to yourself, “I’d rather my kid leave the scene and not get into extra trouble”. Well, this is very wise, but more often than not, bystanders leave without getting the help of anyone else.
Statistically, 57% of the times, when another child intervenes, the bullying stops within seconds! So bullying bystanders have lots of power. They just do not know it. The main problem is not that they do not help the victims. It is that they help the bully by being an audience for his act of power.
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