SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - When it comes to bullying, there are many roles that kids can play.
Kids can bully others, they can be bullied, or they may witness bullying. Experts say understanding those roles can help effectively prevent and help to end bullying. It's important to know the characteristics are often similar.
"Bullies tend to be very similar in some ways to the victims, they tend to have low self-esteem, they tend to be insecure and they tend to make themselves feel better by picking on someone weaker than them," explained Brentwood Hospital's Charles Lee.
Each role is transitional, and most kids find themselves in more than one role over time.
"Sometimes somebody that's been a victim of bullying, later may be somebody who picks on other kids that they perceive as weaker and vulnerable," said Lee.
Lee says perhaps the most influential role is that of the bystander. They have the power to stand up and defend or do nothing.
"The witnesses may identify with the bully and may enjoy in some ways seeing somebody else being picked on," Lee said. "They may identify with the victim and be afraid that they'll be a victim, often times they won't speak up for that reason."
Every situation is different, and helping is easier than you think. Just my alerting an adult of what you witness is doing your part to stop bullying.
"It's very important to keep an eye out for all of those things and to have frank discussions with children about all of those dynamics," said Lee.