Saturday, January 16, 2010
Bystanders are Crucial
This world is one that grows more and more vicious everyday. The term dog eat dog is probably considered a form of good behavior now. Everyday we watch and listen to someone somewhere sabotage someone else. For the most part, we walk on by and ignore it or we participate and not in the right way.
Bystanders are probably the most crucial group in the bully, bullied and bystander family. One such group is the Olweus program which originated out of Norway. In 2003, it became a federal program in the US and one that is beneficial in educating the bystander and how to deal with the bully and bullied. In a recent article in the New York Times, Dr. Perry Klass discusses how pediatricians are becoming more aware and educated on the realities of this problem. Also, he discussed Olweus and the importance of the bystander. He stated that the bystander could change the whole scenario by speaking up and speaking out. Instead of enabling this problem, they try to help the victim as Olweus instructs schools to do.
All 3 parties really could use the help, not just the bystander. If bystanders do their part, it can certainly shake things up and change the social dynamic. Also, it can make others better aware of who the actual bully is. But what about the bully and the bullied? The bully is the one who really needs the help. I say this because it is the bully who brings the aggression to the situation. For someone to instigate these problems, they are being hurt or are in some danger themselves as this is a learned behavior. They need to be investigated and if legal action needs to be taken then take it. Bullies also could benefit from therapy and the earlier the better. Yes, the bullied needs help after the bully has left an impact on them. Bystanders could use help and to be taught that following the bully makes things worse for everyone. The bottom line is education and becoming aware of this problem itself before trying to solve it.
Bystanders, please speak up! If you see any abuse occurring either at school or work, speak up! Do not participate in any of it. Help put a stop to the problem so it does not grow into something bigger. One day a bully can be your friend. However, the next day he can turn on you and you could be the bullied instead of the bystander. Its something to really think about.
Elizabeth Bennett is the Social Justice Guru seeking social justice for all. She is also the author of “Peer Abuse Know More! Bullying From a Psychological Perspective” along with the e-book “Child Safety Online: Top Tips to Protect your Child from Internet Predators.” Please visit Peer Abuse Know More! To learn more.