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Tell the Teacher or Tell the Bully off: Children's Strategy Production for Bystanders to Bullying


Patrick F. Rock, Department of Psychology, University of California Los Angeles, 1285 Franz Hall, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA. Email:


Although children's reticence to intervene as bystanders to bullying is well established, the reasons for their inaction remain unclear. One possibility is that they are incapable of generating appropriate response strategies in these situations. This study examined the number and type of strategies children (N = 104, 6–11 years) could generate for bystanders to a variety of bullying situations. Across bullying situations, older children generated more strategies than did younger children. Children most often suggested that the bystander confront the bully directly, followed by the suggestion that the bystander find a teacher for help or comfort the victim. An exclusion incident prompted more frequent proposals that the bystander help by comforting the victim while a pushing incident prompted more frequent appeals to a teacher. A priming story about a peer bystander intervening successfully in a bullying incident boosted strategy production in girls but did not affect boys.