Emily Bazelon's latest book is Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy.
Highlights from her interview with Claire Zulkey:
If you had to choose between your child being a bully or being the victim of bullying, which would you pick?Writers Read: Emily Bazelon (September 2007).
If I had to choose--of course I would rather not--I would actually rather have my kids be targets. The reason is not actually that I think that would make their lives easier. When you look at the research, the targets of bullying (now, it doesn't happen to everyone)--but most kids can overcome this kind of adversity, but there is a higher risk of psychological problems in the short term and long term. And there also is a link to low academic performance. And I just care enormously about my kids' treating other people well. It would kill me if they were singling out another kid to persecute them, which is what I think bullying is--that's the definition I think we should use. My book has made me think a lot as a parent about whether we collectively emphasize individual achievement and happiness more than we do moral development and the sense of the collective good as we're raising our kids.
When I was a kid, I was really obsessed with my friends talking about me, and when you write online, that happens in real time. So I've sort of been amazed by the thick skin that I've been able to build up over time writing online because you can't take it all to heart. I wonder whether you've noticed if kids have been able to develop any coping mechanisms in terms of dealing with online bullying, or whether being able to take it or ignore comes more with adulthood.
You know, I haven't seen anyone compare adults and kids. My sense is that kids are...[read on]