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What are the feelings of bystanders?

An Australian study involving over 600 children found that most of the pupils felt that it was right to help children who were being bullied. Most also said that they admired someone who stood up for the child who was being picked on. Sadly however, a small number of children had no sympathy for victims. They took the line that victims deserved it and that they shouldn't complain about it. Some even thought that it was funny to watch. The study also found that girls tended to be more sympathetic towards victims than boys. However, as they get older (between eight and fifteen years) girls and boys become less sympathetic. According to a later study, this drop was halted in the late teen years, when children became more sympathetic again towards the victim.
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Article details

K Rigby (1996) 'Bullying in Schools and What to Do About It', Victoria, Australia: The Australian Council for Educational Research Limited.
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Author details

Ken RigbyKen Rigby is an Adjunct Associate Professor of Social Psychology and an educational consultant at the University of South Australia. He has been involved in major studies of bullying in Australia and has published widely on this topic. For more information about Dr Rigby and his work see the bullying pages here. Ken may be contacted by e-mail.
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