So here I am ready to complete some assigned reading for the week, and I find myself immediately stopping all of it to write this blog post. Why? Well after reading for a while I thought I would check Facebook just to see what’s new, and the first post to pop up was this.
Now I don’t know about you, but I didn’t expect to watch a video as powerful as that from a fast food joint. But there I was, sitting in my chair, and thinking “Wow, why is this affecting me so much?”. Well, the truth is, I was in that kid’s shoes once upon a time; trying to enjoy a good meal with people, only to have it turn into a bully fest. What makes this commercial so upsetting is the minimal amount of people that actually stood up for that kid, a sad reality in K-12 schools today. In fact, approximately 1.2 million students are bullied each year, and of that number, 160,000 students stay home from school because of bullying, according to DoSomething.org. I’ve heard a lot of people say that bullying is supposed to “make kids stronger” or “teach them how to stand up for themselves”. However, the only goal that bullying accomplishes is making people feel degraded and diminishing self-esteem and confidence.
I’m currently taking Psychology 102 in school, and I just took a test on social psychology (the fun stuff). There’s one term in particular that I found as an explanation to people’s lack of intervention, and that is Diffusion of Responsibility. It’s a pretty interesting term, and I’m going to geek out and explain it; it is a phenomenon that occurs when a person is less likely to take responsibility for action or inaction when others are present (Wikipedia). In a real-world setting, I usually see it occur when a teacher asks for a volunteer to answer a question in class. We sit there for a few seconds, looking around the room to see who will actually answer, but there is great reluctance because we all think that “someone else will do it”. My question is why can’t that someone be you?
I’ll end on this story; when I was bullied in middle school and high school, not a lot of people stood up for me. I guess because it was the “norm” to get bullied. On one particular bully session, this girl who I only barely knew stepped in and literally put these kids in their place. It made me feel as though I wasn’t alone, and that I was worth something. She is my best friend to this day, 5 years later (love you, Lex). So, all that being said, don’t bully people. Go buy some Whoppers Jr’s from Burger King and bully them instead.