The Bystander Factor

Posted On June 22, 2011

As BullyTag™ targets the bystanders to be empowered by our app, the team at BullyTag™ had researched the roles of people in situations of bullying. Below is some information that we came across that speaks about the role of bystanders in bullying situations:

"A bullying incident directly involves only a handful of students but there are typically other students who are indirectly involved as bystanders (Hawkins, Pepler & Craig, 2001; Pepler, Craig, O'Connell, Atlas & Charach, 2004). Research indicates 85% of bullying incidents are witnessed by other students, yet bystanders try to stop the bullying only 11% to 22% of the time (Atlas & Pepler, 1998; Craig & Pepler, 1997). Contrary to popular belief, children who witness a bullying incident do not play a neutral role. Research states that bystanders may actually encourage and perpetuate the bullying problem; this occurs either directly, through actively joining in the bullying, or indirectly, by not taking a stand against the bully (Olweus, 1993; Pepler and Craig, 2000; Salmivalli, Huttunen & Lagerspetz, 1997; Smith & Shu, 2000; Wright, 2004). By failing to stand up to bullies, peer groups play a key role in locking bullies and victims into their respective roles (Sutton, Smith, and Swettenham, 1999). When bystanders do take an active stand, bullying is stopped within ten seconds over half of the time (Hawkins, Pepler & Craig, 2001)."