Witnesses Become Upstanders

How can upstanders make a big difference for people experiencing online abuse?

If you witness cyberbullying or online harassment:

  • Don’t be a bystander. Be more than a witness. Be an upstander.
  • Don’t publicly engage the person who is cyberbullying.
  • If you feel comfortable, reach out to the person engaging in cyberbullying privately or reach out to a mutual acquaintance.
  • Let the person know what he or she is doing is wrong and hurtful.
  • Be careful.
  • If you know the target, consider reaching out and offering support.
  • The same applies for youth, but you can also speak to an adult — parent, relative, teacher, guidance counselor, coach, clergy, activity leader, etc.

When Lisa-Michelle was the target of cyberstalking and harassment, there were a handful of people who stood up for her and privately reached out to the harasser. She was impressed with their bravery and compassion. At the same time, it hurt to know there were many people who witnessed what was happening, but chose not to get involved. People often are afraid those engaging in cyberbullying or online harassment will retaliate when upstanders try to assist a target. If you are uncomfortable communicating directly with someone who is engaging in cyberbullying, consider reaching out to someone who can help.

Check out The Tyler Clementi Foundation Upstander Pledge!

I pledge to not remain a passive bystander but rather be an active Upstander when I witness bullying behavior.

As an Upstander:

I will intervene whenever I see or hear anyone being targeted with bullying behavior; whether I’m at school, at home, at work, or in my faith community; whether I am speaking in digital spaces or out in the real world with friends, family, colleagues or teammates.

Continue reading the full pledge.

The Tyler Clementi Foundation’s mission is to end online and offline bullying in schools, workplaces, and faith communities.