Most children have witnessed some form of bullying. Encourage bystander action without being specific about what that means. Do not encourage children to get directly involved in the situation, especially if it could escalate. Here are possible strategies to discuss with youth about being an active bystander. Talk through these ideas together.
- What are ways that we can help someone being bullied?
- Wait for children to come up with ideas, and help move conversations in a positive way.
Some possible strategies that might come up are:
1) Choose not to be part of the problem. Quietly choosing not to spread a rumor, or telling your friends to join you in not spreading it, may be the most effective way to stop the rumor- just like removing flammable material stops a wildfire from spreading.
2) Seek help from a teacher or an adult.
2) Help the target get away. Targets are often told: “Just walk away,” yet young people say that walking from bullying alone feels unsafe and weak. If peers invite the target to leave the situation with them, targets can leave without a sense of defeat.
3) Sit with, walk with, or be friends with the target after the bullying is over. Targets of bullying may be chosen by the bully because of their social isolation, or they may become isolated as a result of the bullying. Either way, they often need friends and the protection of a social group.
4) Talk about bullying with friends, and discourage it. Friends are likely to listen to each other and if it is known that bullying is not cool, it will help prevent it from occurring.
More on preparing for activities: