Posted on April 29, 2019 by Dani Leever
Studies have shown in Australia that peers or classmates are present as onlookers in 85% of bullying interactions. There’s often a crowd when these things go down (both online and in person) – and whether they choose to realise or not, those crowds have a whole lot of power. So, with great power comes great responsibility: will the bystanders use their power for A.) good, or B.) evil mwahaha? Realistically, it’s usually option C.): they’ll do nothing.
When someone’s flinging insults, deliberately leaving someone out of a group or writing negative comments online, who’s gonna step up and save the day? Don’t look now! Could it be? Yes! It’s The Incredible Bystander!
(This is them, but in dog form)
Bystanders may decide to not get involved for a number of reasons; maybe they’re worried about being targeted next, they’re not sure what they can do to help, or maybe they think someone else will surely do the right thing.
P-ROCKERS everywhere know that when we see bullying happen and choose to do nothing, we’ve actually let it continue to happen. Silence in this case speaks volumes: it might say you’ve seen it and you don’t really care. That’s why we’re all about encouraging people to step up, instead of just standing by.
So, what’s The Incredible Bystander’s power?
Don’t worry, being The Incredible Bystander doesn’t mean getting into a superhero costume and saving the day Avengers-style. It can be something really small, but impactful, that has the potential of changing the entire situation around.
First, the person getting picked on knows that they have support. Secondly, the person being harsh gets strong messages about how they’re acting, and best of all, other bystanders can be encouraged to intervene next time. That’s pretty impressive, huh?
What can I actually do about it?
There are so many things that people witnessing a bullying situation can do to help out instead of scrolling on by, or making a big scene. Maybe you see a mate getting picked on, or someone you barely know – these are the strategies we’d recommend to de-escalate a situation if you saw it happening in real life.
Essentially, being The Incredible Bystander is all about using your empathy: putting ourselves in the shoes of someone having a rough time and asking ourselves, “ugh, that would really suck if that was me” or “I’d hate to go through that alone,” and using that to motivate you into action – no matter how big or small that action is.
As The Incredible Bystander, your power is endless. You have a massive impact to make, so go get ‘em.