Editorial: Are burgers really more important than stopping bullying?

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We are at a time that a fast-food chain makes more of a positive impact on society than the president of the United States. Burger King, an establishment most known for its Whopper burger, released an advertisement last week titled “Bullying Jr.”.

On YouTube, the video has received over 500,000 views, but it doesn’t seem to have gained the popularity that a Donald Trump tweet may. Society has begun living this style of life where giving something negative for backlash is more important than pushing out and sharing a positive statement that could better the world.

The Burger King ad involved hidden cameras to see if customers would be more concerned about a mushed burger or concerned about an adolescent being bullied. In the video the mushed burger was referred to as a “bullied burger” and about 88 per cent of customers were more worried about getting a proper burger than helping out the high school student being bullied.

Although no violence (except for some pushing) was involved between the high schoolers, the video was disturbing to watch. We have all heard the cliché that everyone’s been bullied in some way or another, yet we as adults don’t have it in us to step in to help a helpless kid.

Burger King has close to 16,000 restaurants across the world as of 2016, so this wasn’t a smaller chain that released a “public service announcement”. Yet this commercial hasn’t received the attention you would think it would.

School’s from the elementary to high school level tell their students that they should speak out about bullying and tell an adult when they have experienced or witnessed bullying. However, how are students supposed to react that way when a video like this commercial show a majority of adults won’t even step in?

According to an article on the Canadian Red Cross website, 71 per cent of teachers said they intervene with bullying problems; but only 25 per cent of students said teachers intervene. On the Canadian Institutes of Health Research website the following statistics standout:

  • Canada has the ninth highest rate of bullying in the 13-years-olds category
  • At least 1 in 3 adolescent students in Canada have reported being bullied
  • However, 47 per cent of Canadian parents report having a child of bullying
  • 40 per cent of Canadian workers experience bullying on a weekly basis

Personally, the statistic that caught my high was that only 33 per cent of adolescents have reported being bullied. Is this a case of students thinking they just can’t report being bullied? Are students to scared, or have they experienced that reporting bullying does no good?

We should continue to teach adolescents to stand-up against bullying and report it when they see it or if it happens to them. However, it’s probably time we also trained adults about bullying. Maybe how to handle bullying when they see it, how to step in and what steps are most effective when handling a bullying case.

It’s time to stop being so self-centered that a five-dollar burger is more important than a kid being bullied right in front of your eyes.

Burger King ad:

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