Before we go on to examine what defines a bystander, we must first discover what psychologists call the “Bystander Effect”, this term was coined to refer to cases of social interaction where a person does not offer help in any way to a victim whenever other people are around the scene in which a crime or offence occurs. Psychologists realized that a person is less likely to offer help to a victim the more other bystanders are around. There are other elements that go in the mind of the bystander at the moment a crime or an offence is being made, such as whether or not they feel the person is deserving of help, the competence or strength of the bystander and The relationship between the bystander and the victim.
When it comes to Bullying and Cyber Bullying, it has been found that one of the major reasons behind others being bystanders in events of bullying is diffusion of responsibility( not being responsible for any aspect of the bullying event whether negative or positive if the bystander decides to interfere. Bystanders may assume that other bystanders are more qualified to help, such as doctors or police officers, and that their intervention would be unneeded. They may also be afraid of being superseded by a superior helper or offering unwanted assistance.
1- Hurtful Bystanders
These are called bystanders by either instigating the bullying by prodding the bully to begin, or encourage the bullying by laughing, cheering, or making comments that encourage the bully to go on or they may even join in the bullying event or, and that is most negative type, passively accept bullying by watching and doing nothing as they provide an audience to the bullying, which is exactly what the bully craves, attention.
2- Helpful Bystanders
Bystanders can easily prevent or stop bullying by either intervening directly and defending the victim or taking the victim away from the scene of the bullying, like asking a cyber bullying victim to step away of the conversation or log off.
They can also get help by rallying support from peers or reporting the incident to the authorities whether at school or online.
Some might think “it is none of my business” or “I might get hurt” or “I got no power to stop that bully” or “Maybe he or she deserves it” or “maybe he/she started it.”
Some bystanders, in the event of bullying, believe that reporting it to adults will make matters worse.
When a Bystander doesn’t intervene or report the bullying, he or she may feel negative consequences such as the peer pressure to participate in the bullying, powerlessness, vulnerability, guilt and fear of not fitting in with the bully or the bully’s friends or clique.
What makes a bystander?
According to this source, You can be a bystander if you decide on purpose to ignore the event, or watch the event and make a conscious choice not to intervene or convince yourself it is perfectly fine under the pretext “at least I am not the victim.”
Remember that simply by being there when someone is bullied, you are giving bullies more incentive to threaten their victims because they just found an audience.
We understand that you may feel that stepping in will make you the new target for the bully, or that if you report it you will be called a snitch or a tattletale. But remember that if it happens to a friend today, it can be you or a loved one tomorrow, put an end to bullying by reporting it to a teacher or helping the victim step away from the situation.
Bullying can cause severe anxiety, depression, anger, and frustration in a person, and can turn their life into a nightmare. You wouldn’t want to feel that way.