It is important to understand why bullying victims don’t tell a responsible adult. Usually children don’t believe that an adult, especially in school, like a teacher will intervene when they are told about bullying. Sadly this is sometimes true.
Some schools and legal rulings say bullying and/or cyberbullying is not part of school policy, but this is changing since it is actually being noticed that it does interfere “materially and substantially” with the process of learning.
Children often choose not to tell an adult because of reasons such as:
* Fearing revenge from the bully
* Shame in that they cannot stand for themselves
* Fear they will not be believed by the adult
* Thinking that the adult and his/her advice will worsen the problem
* Believing that nothing will change
* Fear that the adult will tell the bully that he/she told on him/her
* Not wanting to worry their parents or caregivers
* Thinking they will be called a snitch or tattle tale
If the bullying is online, or using technology, children don’t tell their parents or caregivers because of reasons like:
* Don’t want to be held responsible for the problem
* Fear caregivers will simply get rid of the “source” of the problem, and they
don’t want to give up their computers and cell phones
* Another concern children have in telling an adult they trust is that the adults will
be reluctant to intercede on their behalf
* Fear the adult simply doesn’t know what to do, especially when dealing with
Unfortunately, these concerns are soundly based: Parents usually don’t know how to respond; teachers are afraid to respond on something that happens “away” from school, and law enforcement is also unlikely to get involved since it is hard to have a good articulation of the violation, as this will likely be considered something that goes against freedom of expression.
If there is an imminent threat to the safety of a child in either case, one must call the police. It is no joke!
Witnesses don’t tell because of fear of becoming the next target for the bully, or because they don’t feel responsible.