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Despite the large number of individuals that do not agree with bullying practices, there are very few that will intervene on behalf of the victim. These individuals are labeled bystanders and unfortunately usually tend to lean toward the bully’s side. In 85% of bullying incidents, bystanders are involved in teasing the victim or egging on the bully.
However, in most bullying incidents, bystanders usually do nothing. If the bully faces no obstruction from the people around, it gives permission to continue behaving badly. There are a wide variety of reasons why children choose not to intervene. Typically, they worry that they will make the situation worse or risk becoming the next victim, due to the fear that children experience as the bystanders, which is a direct cause of the decline of anti-bullying attitudes. This points to the urgency for a better understanding of children’s attitudes to bullying and the factors that seem to predict these attitudes.
Researchers have been analyzing the just-world belief theory to help understand the decline of anti-bullying attitudes. "This is the idea that people get what they deserve and deserve what they get." The study determined that children do seek to understand, justify, and rectify the different injustices they come across in everyday life. However, further research is needed to link the two together.
- Katherine Liepe-Levinson and Martin H. Levinson, “A General Semantics Approach to,” Institute of General, 2005: 4-16
- E. D. Nelson and R. D. Lambert, “Sticks, Stones and Semantics: The Ivory Tower,” Qualitative Sociology, 2001: 83-106