Bullying almost always happens in front of other kids, who are called bystanders.
Bullying is not a normal or natural part of childhood. Children and youth learn to bully – often when they themselves have been bullied or see it happening to others. When bullying occurs without consequence, children and youth see bullying behaviours as acceptable.
Reasons why a child might engage in bullying behaviour include the following:
There are two types of bystanders – the hurtful and the helpful.
Hurtful Bystanders: Those who support the bullying by laughing, cheering, taking videos or making comments that encourage the bully. Forwarding cruel photos, videos or texts and visiting websites that target a specific youth also encourage the bully. They may also join in on the bullying once it begins. Hurtful bystanders can also include those who simply watch and say or do nothing – they give the bully the audience he/she craves, and silently allows the bully to continue with his/her hurtful behaviour. Even “liking” a cruel comment on a YouTube video or on Facebook is wrong – it’s just as bad as writing it.
Helpful Bystanders: Those who directly intervene by discouraging the bully, defending the victim or redirecting the situation away from bullying. Helpful bystanders may also rally support from their peers to stand up against bullying or report the bullying to adults. This could also be as simple as telling the bully to "leave him/her alone" or "cut it out".