How Many Does It Take to Stop a Bully?

Think about this.  If you saw someone in a crowd being bullied, would you try to stop it? 

The startling truth is that, the more people who witness the act, the more likely it is no one will stop it. 

A new study sheds light on the behavior of “bystanders” who “witness” cyberbullying.

According to, "The higher the number of 'bystanders,' the less likely intervention would occur during a cyberbullying incident."

The perceived anonymity of “bystanders” also reduced the likelihood of intervention. However, the closeness that a particular “bystander” felt toward the victim was most consistently related to his or her decision to intervene.

That's why cyberbullying is such a threat.  The perceived “invisibility” offered by digital communication allows for less adherence to societal standards (who hasn't blown the horn from the safety of your car at someone who turns unexpectedly without signalling, yet would never confront someone who doesn't hold the door for you?).

It's probably impossible to stamp out all bullying.  But the findings of this study might be used to educate schools, colleges, and even parents about the nature of interventions and how they can be cultivated to disrupt episodes of cyberbullying. Such steps could have an impact on reducing the practice, or at least the impact, of cyberbullying. 


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