Our recent Stop Bullying Video Challenge and our ongoing Ad Council “Be More than a Bystander” campaign are helping to promote the message that it is up to all of us to stand up against bullying, even if we are not personally involved.
Newly published research in Children and Youth Services Review shows just how important being the one who stands up is in encouraging others to do the same.
Authors Wernick, Kulick, and Inglehart surveyed over 1,000 high school students about their experiences with hearing hate language targeted at LGBT students. This included phrases like “that’s so gay.”
The majority of those surveyed reported hearing hate language often. The frequency of hearing hate language was not related to a respondent's age, race, sex, or sexual orientation. This indicates that hate language is pervasive.
The authors also asked whether students would intervene if they heard hate language being used, and whether they had seen others intervene. If a respondent reported having seen teachers or other students intervene, the respondent was more likely to report being willing to intervene themselves.
This relationship only explains a small part of why an individual might or might not intervene. Still, it's clear that being the one to stand up may encourage others to do so, too. When more bystanders stand up to bullying, the culture around bullying can change. Remember, it can only take one person to make a difference.