Responsibility of the Bystander

The Media Smart Organization ( states that even if your child isn’t harassing another child, but knows who is, they need to come forward and tell an adult. If a person knows someone is being harassed but does nothing to stop it, then they are also responsible for the pain that person suffers.

    1. Harmful Bystanders. Those who encourage and support the bully or watch the bullying from the sidelines, but do nothing to intervene or help the target. Some Harmful Bystanders:

    • instigate the bullying by prodding the bully to begin.
    • encourage the bullying by laughing, cheering, or making comments that further stimulate the bully.
    • join in the bullying once it has begun.
    • passively accept bullying by watching and doing nothing. Often without realizing it, these bystanders also contribute to the problem. Passive bystanders provide the audience a bully craves and the silent acceptance that allows bullies to continue their hurtful behaviour.

    2. Helpful Bystanders. Those who seek to stop the bullying, protest against it, provide support to the target, or tell an adult. One of the most important strategies to address cyberbullying is the helpful bystanders. Some bystanders:

    • directly intervene, by discouraging the bully, defending the victim, or redirecting the situation away from bullying.
    • get help, by rallying support from peers to stand up against bullying or by reporting the bullying to adults


Eyes on Bullying