The latest anti-bullying video is blowing up the Internet by posing the age-old question: What would you do when you think no one is watching?
The PSA was created by the family entertainment channel UP TV for National Bullying Prevention Month. Director and producer Rob Bliss used a hidden camera to record the reactions of adults who see two children bullying a younger classmate.
If the video gets a little hard to watch, don’t worry — Bliss says young actors were used to stage the bullying to elicit bystander reactions that were 100 percent real.
UP TV launched the “Stand UP Against Bullying” campaign on October 5th to help bring further awareness to the issue. The entertainment channel was prompted to take action after confirming that one in three kids will be bullied during the school year. And while that statistic may be alarming, it’s the reaction of the adults who encounter these bullies that may surprise you.
In the video, we see a few adults turn a blind eye to the harsh words the young bullies are slinging, but thankfully most of the adults chose to intervene on the victim’s behalf.
As one woman in the video said, “How would you like it if someone a little older than you came along and told you that you weren’t any good? You don’t hurt somebody’s feelings and intentionally do it.” Another man added, “Leave her alone, please.”
One of the biggest takeaways from this video is how almost every adult reacts to what they hear the bullies saying. Several adults even invite the young victim to come sit next to them on their bus bench. For any parent or adult who regularly interacts with children, this is powerful to see. With every anti-bullying campaign, most of us tend to focus on teaching our kids how to protect themselves against verbal attacks — and we forget that we can actually do something about it, too.
Kids get away with bullying because they can. The reason bullying is still considered an epidemic and cyber-bullying has grown worse, is because we’re under the misconception that we only need to teach kids self-defense. Teaching our kids coping strategies for bullying is important, but we also need to teach by example. Sometimes, an adult stepping in and saying “stop” is enough to diffuse months of cruelty.
This new approach to bullying may be a game-changer. It’s not enough anymore to send our kids out into the world and hope they can navigate the treacherous waters by themselves. We’ve seen how that ends. In a best-case scenario, victims of bullying may suffer from long-term physical and mental health issues; in a worst-case scenario, where a victim doesn’t feel safe enough to speak up, bullying can result in suicide.
We’ve been telling our kids for years to stay away from bullies and to report bullying to an adult, but as UP TV’s anti-bullying stats confirm, it’s the bystander who has as much influence as the bully: Up to 60 percent of bullying situations can be stopped when an onlooker gets involved.
As parents, this means that we step in and shut “harmless” teasing down whenever we hear it. And it also means we teach our kids to pay attention and speak up when they see another child being treated unfairly.
For parents and kids, the message behind this video is so simple that it’s easy to forget: When we do nothing, we’re just as guilty as the bully.More On