Bystander Effect on the Internet

Bystander Effect on the Internet

Bystander Effect on the Internet

Help! someone help!"... What? No one? But there's a bunch of you? Do something... Sigh... That, in a nutshell, is what psychologists refer to as "The Bystander Effect".

It is something that happens when a large group is present, even if you can see something is going wrong, even if you can clearly see that someone needs your help, you will hesitate to do anything, and most of the time just stand there, hence Bystander Effect.

social media causing bystander effect

Injustice happen all the time, misfortune can strike us all at any given time, yet the bystander effect can usually take precedence. You know where else injustices, sufferings, and other misfortunes happen? Online. So if the bystander effect can stop us from lending a hand in real life, then would that stop us from coming online to the aid of a fellow netizen in need? Well, the answer to that would be yes. Unfortunately yes. It is even said that the bystander effect happens everyday online, today I'm here to answer the burning question. Why?

1. Fear of Being The First Act

Online, there are hundreds, maybe even thousands of people that can see certain conversations between people. There are times when one person just gets cyberbullied really hard, yet how many people really step in to defend the bullied person?

fear of being first act

Psychology suggests that the more people present, the less likely is that they will take actions. "Someone help him/her" is what you tell yourself. You can see that everyone else is not doing anything, so you are afraid to be the first one to act.

2. Fear of Retaliation

In the endless rage filled troll infested depths of the internet, there are a lot of people who simply do not get involved in any situation, no matter if someone's reputation or even well-being is at stake.

faer of retaliation

You think that if you're the one that acts, someone might take offense at you, start bashing you, make your online life harder."I really want to help but..."Is what you would be thinking. It is known that online most people prefer to stay out of trouble, so that is another reason why bystander effect is so prevalent online.

3. Apathy

The internet is always crowded, online all kinds of things happen all the time. So it is not a surprise that there are a lot of people that just grow accustomed to the toxicity, to the bashing, to other people getting hurt online.


While looking on at a conversation online, when someone involved is seriously in trouble, you fail to intervene because you simply don't care anymore. "Why should I do anything, it's not my problem" is what you would be thinking because of the dimmed out online moral compass.

Whether you are walking the streets or browsing an online forum, the bystander effect can cripple any chance the victim has at making it through the situation unscathed. There are many reasons why people do not help, but there must be many more reasons why you should break free from the bystander effect and save the day. The bystander effect happens everyday online and that cannot be avoided in this modern day and age. Next time though, try to see if you can help and maybe you will become someone's hero.