Reporting for "Power to hurt" began last fall as part of the Weekly's in-depth look at bullying in Palo Alto schools and the community. As part of the investigation, reporter Terri Lobdell sought information to uncover why some kids behave cruelly toward others, the impacts of that cruelty, how school officials and other adults handle bullying incidents, and the myriad programs and activities focused on bullying prevention and social kindness.
For this in-depth look at the role social media plays in amplifying mean-spirited behavior among youth, the Weekly sought to hear from those most knowledgeable and most closely affected: the teens. In interviews with about 50 youth, the Weekly heard about some benefits of social media but also about its darker side, including offensive language, mean rumors and offensive images that are spread to large audiences.
This cover story also explores why it is so difficult for adults to keep up with what's happening on social media and to provide effective guidance. Numerous adult experts have contributed their perspectives to these articles as well.
The Weekly would like to thank the teens interviewed for their openness, generosity of time and thoughtfulness in reflecting on these issues, some of which involved sensitive or painful situations. The vast majority of teens asked for anonymity and elimination of identifying details. Except in a few cases, in which teens had already published on this topic under their name, the youth providing information for this series are not named. Some adults interviewed also are not named due to the sensitivity of the topics discussed.
"Power to hurt" is the second installment in a series of Palo Alto Weekly cover stories publishing this year on the topic of bullying. The first cover story, "Out of the shadows," published June 14, 2013, covered [ the inside story of how a federal investigation is changing the way Palo Alto schools respond to bullying.
Read the entire cover story in PDF