Characteristics of those involved in Bullying
There are three Key Players involved with bullying incidents. These are: the Bully, the Target or Victim, and the Bystander(s). Each of these players has their own set of characteristics that are typical for most.
The Bully is Characterized by:
- Low self-esteem
- Hunger for power and control
- Contempt of those different
- Often driven by jealousy and/or envy
- Attention seekers
We don't always understand or know why a bully behaves the way they do, and sometimes the bully doesn't even realize that their behavior is abusive. They may see it as just teasing or taunting when, in fact, their actions are causing pain, embarrassment and distress to the target or victim.
If you have been guilty of being a bully, and no longer want to live your life this way, know that you can stop and take a stand to teach other bullies that this behavior is wrong.
Actions You Can Take:
- Apologize to past Victims
- Don't let your friends bully others
- Stand up and speak out for the Victim the next time you witness a bullying incident
- Talk to a parent, counselor or other trusted adult if you need help with learning how to stop bullying
- Join the A4K Club, take the Pledge and step up and speak out to help spread the word with your Voice that bullying and all child abuse is wrong and is not acceptable.
The Target also known as the Victim of bullying is the person who receives the insults/abuse from the bully in bullying incidents. If you are or have been the target of bullying, please know that you are not alone and it is not your fault. There is help out there for you and things will change and get better. We want you to know that the A4K Club is a community that welcomes your individuality and uniqueness and we do not tolerate bullying within our boundaries.
Some common characteristics of the Target or Victim may include:
- The Target/Victim often remains silent and won't tell anyone
- Additionally, he or she may feel ashamed or embarrassed
- Sometimes they may even believe it is their fault – but it isn't
Actions You Can Take:
If you are the target of bullying tell someone! Confide in a trusted adult:
- A parent
- A teacher
- A counselor
- A coach
- A friend
Keep this person informed each time an incident occurs so that they can help you determine the best course of action to take next. Other things you can do in the meantime, until things get better, are to:
- Try to walk with a friend or group of friends -- there is safety in numbers.
- Find a safe place that you can go to get away from the bully.
- Turn and walk the other direction when you see the bully heading your way – if possible, walk towards an adult.
The last key player is the bystander – there is usually more than one Bystander or Witness to the bullying incident. Like the Bully and the Target, the Bystander also has characteristics that are common.
The characteristics of the Bystander include:
- Between 70 and 85% of kids aren't bullies or victims, they are the bystanders.
- Bystanders can be positive:
- They may try to get help or
- If they feel safe to do so, they may tell the bully to stop
- They can be supporting to the person who is being bullied.
- Bystanders can also be negative:
- They may laugh, cheer or otherwise encourage the bully
- They may just silently stand by and do nothing
- Bystanders may include a follower of the bully who may even carry out acts of bullying at the direction of a lead bully
- Bystanders may feel unsafe
- Bystanders are a very powerful group of individuals who can take power away from the bully
Actions You Can Take:
If you witness someone being bullied there are several things that you can do to try to help. Some of these actions include:
- Go up to the Target/Victim and ask them to walk away with you
- If you feel safe to do so, tell the Bully to stop
- Go get help from an adult
- Tell a parent or other trusted adult what is going on
- Recruit some of your other friends to join you in befriending the Target/Victim
What not to do:
- Do not encourage the Bully
- Do not try to fight or otherwise engage in physical contact with the Bully
- Do not laugh or joke about the incident
- Do not take pictures or videos of the incident, unless your sole intention is to show the video to a teacher or parent for the purpose of helping!
- Never post embarrassing photos or videos of a bullying incident on the Internet, or share them with anyone, other than a parent or teacher for the purpose of helping.
- Even if you can't speak out in front of others, don't remain silent about the bullying
Having good character and doing the right thing will take you much farther in life than being popular. If you have been a Bystander in the past, you may have done the right thing and stood up for the person being bullied or gone and gotten help. If you did nothing, you may be experiencing feelings of guilt and remorse for not taking a stand. Regardless of what may have happened in the past, you can move forward with the intent to do the right thing in the future.
The A4K Club is here to help you learn how to best use your Voice!
In the face of bullying there is really no such thing as an innocent bystander. The fact that there are so many more bystanders than bullies and those bystanders typically do nothing to help gives power to the Bully to continue their harassment of the Victim. Together “We have a Voice!” and by joining forces with A4K and speaking up, You can help make a difference. You can choose to do the right thing and make the world a more peaceful place by stepping up and speaking out against all abuse, including bullying.
So take a stand and become an Ambassador with a Voice – join the A4K Club and Take the Pledge, then enlist your friends to join in this cause and help make your environment a better, more caring and decent place in which to live. After all, the next time a bullying incident occurs it could easily be one of the 85% of Bystanders who are the Target/Victim -- and wouldn't you want others to stand up and speak out if the Target/Victim was YOU?