15.9 Antisocial Behavior in Adolescence

15.9.1 Bullies, Victims, and the Bystander

Bullying is defined as unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. Further, the aggressive behavior happens more than once or has the potential to be repeated. There are different types of bullying. They are detailed in the table below.

Table 15.6: Types of Bullying
Type of Bullying Description
Verbal Bullying Includes saying or writing mean things, teasing, name calling, taunting, threatening, or making inappropriate sexual comments.
Social bullying (also referred to as relational bullying) Includes spreading rumors, purposefully excluding someone from a group, or embarrassing someone on purpose.
Physical Bullying Includes hurting a person’s body or possessions.
Cyberbullying Involves electronic technology. Examples of cyberbullying include sending mean text messages or emails, creating fake profiles, and posting embarrassing pictures, videos or rumors on social networking sites.
Cyberbullying.^[[Image](https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Email_final.jpg) by [Vivianlee2005](https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=User:Vivianlee2005&action=edit&redlink=1) is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0]

Figure 15.28: Cyberbullying.698 The Bystander Effect

The discussion of bullying highlights the problem of witnesses not intervening to help a victim. Researchers Latané and Darley (1968) described a phenomenon called the bystander effect. The bystander effect is a phenomenon in which a witness or bystander does not volunteer to help a victim or person in distress. Instead, they just watch what is happening. Social psychologists hold that we make these decisions based on the social situation, not our own personality variables. Why do you think bystanders don’t get help? What are the benefits to helping? What are the risks? It is very likely you listed more costs than benefits to helping. In many situations, bystanders likely feared for their own lives—if they went to help, the attacker might harm them. However, how difficult would it be to make a phone call to the police? Social psychologists claim that diffusion of responsibility is the likely explanation. Diffusion of responsibility is the tendency for no one in a group to help because the responsibility to help is spread throughout the group (Bandura, 1999). Have you ever passed an accident on the freeway and assumed that a victim or certainly another motorist has already reported the accident? In general, the greater the number of bystanders, the less likely any one person will help.699

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