Advantages to being bullied?
Although not necessarily character-building, studies have shown that there can be a benefit to being shouted at or ostracized on a social networking site (Facebook, etc.). Some argue that learning to give back some of what’s given helps develop social and emotional skills.
Psychologists from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) measured the friendships and hostile relationships of 2,000 school children aged 11 and 12. They compared the kids who reciprocated a classmate’s dislike with those who ignored or attempted to please their classmate. The students who stood up for themselves seemed more mature, rated higher on social competence, and were better behaved in the classroom than those who suffered in silence.
The researchers are not arguing that being bullied or hostile toward classmates is healthy. However, returning a peer’s dislike may be better than pretending to like that person. The experience provides a lesson that not everybody is going to like them. It also teaches about conflict resolution, a subject some schools address to help students who are fighting learn to settle disputes through discussion and negotiation.
How do you handle a conflict at school with a classmate? Do you confront him or her head-on? Or do you ignore it and pretend nothing’s happening? Does your school have a program about conflict resolution? If not, can you do something about getting one started? Talk with some of your friends about this, and then a teacher or counselor who might support you.
Have you seen “If You Really Knew Me” on MTV? It’s a show worth watching. There are lessons for everyone – finally a TV show that can make a positive impact on our world.