It's hard to step in when you see someone being bullied. There's the fear that the bullies will turn on you, or even the concern that you might end up making things worse. Being brave enough to take a stand makes a huge difference to the people being bullied, though, and you should try your best to do something.
Stepping in helps people feel less alone, calls out bullies for awful behavior, and could end up putting a stop to that kind of behavior in the long term. Even if it feels scary, it's important to step in when you see bullying happening. The person being bullied is definitely more scared and alone than you are, and they need your help.
If you need any inspiration, have a look at Burger King's latest commercial made in partnership with nobully.org, a non-profit organization that helps eradicate student bullying and cyberbullying.
The video starts with kids remembering words typically found in the classroom used to insult other kids. While the words may seem juvenile and harmless, they are still said with a lot of malice and can really affect a young, impressionable mind.
This mindset was mirrored by a younger child, who talked about how easy it is to get caught up in bullying "because you're just so happy you're not being bullied". Whether or not people are genuinely getting bullied, actively joining in on the bullying or passively letting it happen is a lot easier, but this mindset needs to change.
Burger King try and get the point across by bullying a high school junior alongside one of their Whopper Junior burgers in front of real customers, to see which one received more complaints. They got their child actors to push, shove and verbally abuse one child (another child actor) and wait to see who reacted. Then, they mashed up their burgers and serve them in wrapping as if nothing has happened, before gauging the public reaction.
Unfortunately, customers idly let the young child be harassed by his peers while they waited for their burger. Little did they know, their order had been beaten up, and face after face of bemusement flashed on their faces when they saw something of theirs, their burger, mistreated so badly.
Quickly looking to right that perceived wrong, they took their complaint to the staff and eventually, the manager. The customers were sent into a frenzy when they were told that the staff can 'bully' the burgers. They were told Burger King employees could do whatever else they want to them with no implications, as it's just some harmless fun.
In total, 95 percent of customers reported their Whopper Junior being beaten up and bullied. When asked if the customers had seen their burger being bullied if they would have done something to prevent, they all very quickly said "yes".
In comparison, 12 percent of customers stopped the high school junior from being bullied. Each customer emphasized that if one of you isn't having fun, you all aren't having fun. In an ideal world, if you see something weird happening, you should intervene and say it's not okay, but sadly this is not the case.
The take-home message: we’re more than willing to speak up when we see something’s wrong if it directly affects us. And that’s pretty rubbish. Please watch the video, share it with your friends, and vow to yourself you'll actively put a stop to bullying when you see it happen.