Are peers the strongest defense against bullying?
Bystanders are the people who see bullying happen, but do nothing to stop it. They may be the ones playing on the playground, getting something out of their locker in the hallway, or sitting across the cafeteria with their own group of friends. They may not be directly involved with the taunting and harassment of another student, but they see it happening. Bystanders will usually tell you that they feel bad about the bullying they witness and how often they consider speaking up, however, something stops them.
There’s been a bit of press lately on how bystanders are just as guilty as the bullies, but this is a hard pill for me to swallow. I do feel that bystanders have a responsibility to speak up when they see someone being victimized, but ultimately, speaking up is a scary thing. I think that if young people encouraged other young people to speak up, it could possibly be less of a daunting experience.
What do you think? Are peers the strongest defense against bullying? Personally, I think yes, but read the rest of the article to decide for yourself!
“In almost every tragic case of bullying, there are bystanders. They see the scuffles in the school hallway, and read the vicious stream of insults on Facebook, and look away, or log off. They are both the nervous audience for the bully, and the tear-stained faces in the school assembly when a student commits suicide and the grief counsellors step in.”
Interesting in learning more about the bystander phenomenon? Click here!