Flight, Fight, or Film

Megan Dean, Reporter

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The bystanders effect is by definition the denial to intervene or help a victim in the presence of others.  Also known as bystander apathy, the bystander effect has become obvious in today’s society. However, with easy access to technology and social media the normal fight or flight responses of bystanders in the midst of a calamity have a new option joining them: film.

In a 2015 survey representing 9-12 graders “7.8% reported being in a physical fight on school property in the 12 months before the survey,” according to the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance of the United States. If we consider that Clovis High has roughly 3,000 students and we assume these statistics still hold true, that would mean that 234 students have been in a physical fight here on campus within a year. That number should be alarming especially when knowing that from that same survey, “6.0% reported being threatened or injured with a weapon on school property one or more times in the 12 months before the survey.”

As we have seen, physical violence at the high school is no new thing. The new trend however, has become the “World Star Effect.” Like the bystander effect, the “World Star Effect” essentially embodies the idea of no one doing anything to help a victim; where it varies is the fact that rather than just watching a fight unfold and sitting there this new concept involves students recording a fight.

Why call it the “World Star Effect?

The worldstarhiphop.com website houses a plethora of filmed fights, most submitted by teens. While these clips can aid police in investigating a fight, how much can they really benefit if the police are not first notified of such an occurrence? It seems as though the attention received for a fight’s entertainment on these cyber hubs trumps the need for immediate action.

Just as it is easy to pull out one’s phone and press record, it is also easy to pull out one’s phone and dial 9-1-1. Knowing this, the question is: why don’t more teens do the latter?

Issue one, as proposed by ABC 47 in Delaware: “…the idea of pulling your phone to get help could gain kids a bad reputation.”

 With peer pressure as evidence, teens primarily are the victims of simply wanting to fit in. Thoughts like, “If no one is calling the police, why should I? Maybe there’s a reason the police aren’t being contacted. I can’t call the police because then they’ll call me a snitch!” may rush through one’s head. In an intense situation, some may choose to protect their reputation before protecting a fellow student.

Issue two: fear of personal harm.

There’s no doubt that one of the most viable reasons to stay out of a fight is to keep safe. When weapons are involved, the risk factor only increases. To this, it makes sense why no one would physically intervene. Why not give the authorities a call though? There is no harm in sitting back and “enjoying the show” while there are repercussions for being the person who chooses to seek help.

Issue three: attention.

Because of the entangling nature of social media, it seems as though the need and desire to get the most likes, views, or shares has captured the minds of teens. Why then would one try to stop a fight that could go viral?

Unfortunately the nature of the bystanders effect suggests that the more people present the less likely anyone will act as proven by bystander effect researchers John Darley and Bibb Latane. With this concept in mind, it seems as though releasing a video of a fight in which no one acts to global population via the internet only decreases the chance of anyone acting in the future.

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Flight, Fight, or Film