Being a bystander

Being a bystander


Everyone can make a difference and help stop bullying. reports that the bystander effect can defuse bullying, sometimes stopping the bullying within minutes!

To be a helpful bystander

Don’t provide supportive an audience to the bullying behaviour. 

Distract the person from bullying others. Don’t place yourself at risk just change the conversation focus to another  topic. 

Balance or counter hurtful comments indirectly by being positive.

Refusing to forward harmful online material. 

Help the person targeted report the bullying to their parents or school.

Don’t hit ‘Like’ or ‘Share’ it

Talk to your parent or a responsible adult.  

Help the person to report to the social media office of the eSafety Commissioner. 


Adapted from the Teacher Essentials Training ‘Cyberbullying’  from the 
eSafety Commissioner’s Outreach Team 26/06/2018 and Bullying no way 2018.

Bystanders may act in different ways and the Australian Human Rights Commission bystanders can be apart of the problem OR a part of the solution.

Some bystanders may encourage what is happening and forward messages to others on social media.

Some bystanders may watch whats happening in silence and don’t do anything which may indicate approval. 

Some bystanders just may not know what to do and are scared. 

Some bystanders take SAFE actions to support and help the victim! These are supportive bystanders who help the victims and respect the rights of others. 

human bystander-violence-harassment-and-bullying-fact-sheet

Supportive bystanders take action to protect the rights of others. It is not easy to know what to do or how to help out as bullying can take all types of forms and be complex. So its important for you to seek help from a trusted and responsible adult, like your teacher. You can talk to your parents about what is happening online! 

The Australian Human Rights Commission outlines some suggestions to help you:  

Make it clear to your friends you won’t be involved in bullying

Do not watch or encourage bullying behaviour. This includes watching videos, posting comments or viewing images.  

Do not gossip or tease others online, this includes on social media like snapchat or instagram.

Never forward or respond to messages or photos that may be offensive or upsetting to others.

Support the person who is being bullied by having them ask for help. i.e. Go with them to a place they can get help or provide them with information about where to go for help (Check out the eSafety Commissioner’s page).

Report it to someone who can take action or someone you trust at school like a teacher, or a school counsellor;  if the bullying is serious, report it to the police; if the bullying occurs on Facebook, report it to Facebook.

I need help!

Report to Office of the eSafety Commissioner

Teachers Lesson Plans: Active bystanders

Bullying No Way have complied lesson plans about being an active bystander. These lessons examine role and importance of individual students and the school community has on bullying. 

Lesson plans are available for early primary, upper primary, lower secondary and senior secondary. 

Early Primary
Upper Primary
Lower Secondary
Upper Secodary
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