Give the Gift of Being an Upstander!
This holiday season, you might be looking forward to receiving gifts, but have you thought about the best gift you could give your peers and your community?
Give the gift of being an upstander!
What is an upstander?
You have probably heard of a bystander (someone who sees bullying, in person or online), but have you heard of an upstander?
The definition of an upstander is “A person who speaks or acts in support of an individual or cause, particularly someone who intervenes on behalf of a person being attacked or bullied.”
Upstanders can make a huge positive difference in minimizing the effects of bullying and discouraging bullying altogether.
How can you be an upstander?
- Be a friend to the person being bullied. Let them know they are not alone and that you want to support them! This can help them feel seen amidst the shame or sadness they may be feeling because of being bullied.
- Shift the focus away from the bullying. Interrupt the moment if it feels safe to do so. This helps to end the bullying and get the victim out of harm’s way.
- Leave the situation and then act. It might be best to walk away from the situation at this point and think of what you can do safely to help the situation after the fact. Often, the bullying will last longer if there is an audience, so walking away can be the right solution in the moment.
- Help your friend ask for help. They might need moral support reporting the incident to a trusted adult. Help them know who to go to, such as a parent or guardian, teacher, administrator, other community leader, or the police. Having someone else there with them to report what happened can be a confidence boost to the victim.
Being an upstander can be the greatest gift you give to yourself and those around you! You will feel good for helping others and will gain self confidence in the process.
Encourage all of your friends and peers to be upstanders! The more upstanders we have, the less bullying will be tolerated, and the less damage it will do to those we love and care about. Always remember, you are not alone!