A new anti-bullying PSA that’s making waves across the Internet is a real tearjerker — but not for the reasons you’d fear. Instead, the video, launched by the UP TV network as part of its campaign for National Bullying Prevention Month, is an uplifting social experiment that shows adults intervening when they see an adolescent girl being tormented by two others.
“Do you have any friends at all?” is the first line of assault from the two older girls toward the younger one — all three actors, filmed sitting at a bus station in Grand Rapids, Mich., in a setup designed to see how various strangers within earshot would react. Other cruel lobs from the girls include: “I know a bunch of people from your dance team and they said they just pretended to be sick so they didn’t have to go to your birthday party,” and “You definitely do need makeup.”
The results were heartening: After the makeup comment, a woman sitting and waiting for the bus cut in, “No she [does] not.” Other adults overhearing the mean jabs did not hold back either, stepping in to make comments such as, “Leave her alone, please,” “Quit messing with her… It’s not nice,” “It’s that stuff that you’re doing that brings people’s self-esteem down,” and “You want somebody to do that to you? You think it’s funny?”
Others motion for the girl to move away from the bullies and sit closer to them — and when she does, the caring bystanders try to cheer her up by offering compliments and support and, in one touching case, pulling out a harmonica and playing her a tune.
The video, created by Rob Bliss Creative, has been viewed more than 300,000 times on YouTube since being posted there on Thursday. “The idea was to see if strangers would intervene when they came across bullying, and if so, who?” Bliss tells Yahoo Parenting. “I honestly had no idea if people would step in or not, but was delighted to see such heartfelt interventions. Personally, I feel it reinforces the ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ idea — that we all need to be looking out for the warning signs of bullying.”
UP TV launched its “Stand Up to Bullying Campaign” earlier this month to support the network’s larger message to uplift and support families. On its website, it offers advice about how to best stop bullying, via PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center. Its advice for kids about what a child should do if he or she sees a peer being bullied can generally be applied to adults, as well:
•Speak out and ask the bullying kids to stop.
•Do not join in.
•Help the kid who is a target of bullies get away from the situation.
•Let a bullied kid know that no one deserves that type of treatment, and that it’s not his or her fault.
“At least 1 in 3 kids will be bullied during school,” the new UP TV video notes at the outset. “UP TV set out to ask the questions: In an increasingly disconnected world, who will stop the bullying?”
Luckily, at the end, the PSA is able to conclude on a hopeful, positive note: “Who will stop the bullying? All of us.”