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We’re all bystanders at some point.”Dillon said this research may aid in designing interventions that can help bystanders find ways to stop cyberbullying.

For example, this study showed that relatively few participants responded directly to the victim, which may be most helpful in some cases.“If witnesses think that they have to confront the bully, that may be tough for many people to do.

The abuse wasn’t real – the bully and the victim were part of the experiment – but the participants didn’t know that.“The results didn’t surprise me,” said Kelly Dillon, lead author of the study and a doctoral student in communication at The Ohio State University.“Many other studies have shown bystanders are reluctant to get involved when they see bullying.

The results disappointed me, as a human, but they didn’t surprise me as a scientist.”The bright spot in the results was that a much greater percentage of participants who noticed the bullying (nearly 70 percent) indirectly intervened by giving the bully or the chat room a bad review when given the opportunity later.“Most of the people didn’t stand up to the bully, but behind the scenes they did judge the bully harshly and try to pass that information on later when the incident was over,” Dillon said.

I lost my wife 2 years ago and I have been single ever since then.

After months of prowling Internet chat rooms, posing as the mother of two young daughters, Detective Michele Deery thought she had a live one: “parafling,” a married, middle-aged man who claimed he wanted to have sex with her kids.

Participants could see in the chat window that the victim was having trouble saving a response in the survey.

Dillon said we shouldn’t judge the people who didn’t intervene too harshly, because we don’t know why they didn’t respond.“At the end of the study, when we told participants about the true purpose of the study, many who didn’t respond or who responded indirectly said that they wished they had directly intervened.

Many said they wanted to respond to the bullying, but weren’t sure what they should do,” Dillon said.“We all do that occasionally.

One response, for example, was “How are you being helpful at all right now?

” A quarter of those who responded insulted the bully, saying things like “I can smell the odor of loser from you.”Less commonly, some participants offered technical support and social support to the cybervictim.