When is watching, not just watching? Bullying often takes place because those who see it in action don’t act. In this unit we discuss the different types of witnesses to bullying that exist and what parts they may actually be playing to make the bullying worse. We also give you information and ideas regarding how to teach your children the correct way to respond when they see someone being bullied.
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Bullying witnesses are often in a position to stop the bullying by simply speaking up in opposition to what is happening. However, in most cases, they end up doing nothing. Does this mean that deep down they agree with the bully’s actions or were they just afraid to speak up?
As you have learned in this lesson, being a witness to bullying is sometimes an experience that is no less traumatic than being the victim. It is worth getting to know the child's thoughts on being a witness to bullying so you can help him or her understand the situation better.
Review the stories below and try to answer the questions.
Robert is Michael’s friend. This morning, at school, Michael started to mock and ridicule a friend they both know and after a while he started to push him. Not thinking much of it, Robert joined Michael repeating his gestures and insults, laughing out loud at the same time.
Which type of bystander is Robert?
Mark came to school in the morning and he noticed a group of friends gathered in the corridor. He decided to approach them and take a close look at what was happening. It was Kate that was standing in the middle of the circle. She was ridiculed by a few girls. Some boys joined in after a while. The children were laughing. The girls spilled some juice on her. Mark was just standing there watching what was going on. Although he did not join the group, he did not help the victim as well.
Which type of bystander is Mark?
After having left the classroom, Monica heard some turmoil in the corridor. She saw that Patricia, together with some other girls, were mocking a classmate and after a while they started to poke and push her. Monica approached the group and asked them to leave the girl alone. The aggressors left laughing and Monica stayed with the friend to talk to her.
Which type of bystander is Monica?
After having left the classroom, Joseph approached William who was poking another friend. He joined William, spat on the victim, started to insult him, and encouraged him to humiliate the boy even more.
Which type of bystander is Joseph?