Stop Bullying: Be a Powerful Bystander

We just did a series of podcasts on the bullied brain. Now that we understand the impact of bullying on young people, what do we do about it? Too often when we talk about taking action we focus only on the bully and the victim. But bullying doesn't happen in a vacuum. It takes place in a social context that can either fuel or combat bullying and cruelty. Talk with your kids about the powerful role they can play by being a good bystander.

Don't participate:

  • Never egg on, laugh, or encourage the bully in any way.
  • Don't like, share, or tag mean comments on social media.
  • Walk away and make it clear that it is not cool.
  • Anonymously report to a trusted adult.

Step in:

  • If you feel safe, say something like, "Hey, stop it." Or "That's not funny."
  • Get a trusted adult involved.

Be a friend:

  • Reach out to the person being bullied to let them know they aren't alone.
  • Send a sympathetic text to the victim or sit with them at lunch.
  • Ask the victim if they are okay.

Set a good example:

  • Don't use language that insults someone based on their sexual orientation, race, or other categories of difference.
  • Work to include kids that don't have a lot of friends or support.
  • Don't make or laugh at inappropriate jokes, even if the target of the joke isn't there.