December 18, 2013 9:00 pm

Viral video highlights role of ‘silent witness’ in bullying

CALGARY- A social experiment has gone viral, leading to some tough questions about people’s perceptions of bullying.

The video which tests the reactions of random people witnessing incidents of bullying happening right in front of them was shot at an American university. Since being posted on YouTube two weeks ago, it’s gotten over four million hits.

“It’s only going to get worse,” predicts anti-bullying advocate Catherine Oshanek, who was bullied herself. “In the internet generation everyone lives in the bubble. It’s not just with bullying, it’s with abuse, sexual abuse and people turn a blind eye.”

Educators say it’s important to demonstrate the critical role of the “silent witness.”

“They contribute an incredible amount,” says Kim Edwards from Dare to Care. “They give the power to aggressor and are taking away power from the victim just by their silence.

“If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.”

WATCH: The Bullying Experiment on YouTube

Canadian statistics show nearly 80 per cent of children admitted to witnessing a bullying incident, and didn’t do anything to stop it.

“It doesn’t matter where you are, bullying is assault and abuse,” adds youth motivational speaker Kerry Girling. “Whether it’s on streets, schools, home, even in the workplace, it’s important to put a stop to it.”

It has been documented that if someone acknowledges and incident and tries to intervene, that the bully usually stops within 10 seconds.

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