When Good People Do Bad Things, Part 2: teen girls, Dr. Zimbardo

Follow the Leader
See Dr. Zimbardo's experiment on group conformity. What would your daughter do?

Dr. Zimbardo says in bullying situations, many people look the other way, which is the evil of inaction, but sometimes, people go a step further and join in with the bullying. "Often, all you have to do is encounter the bully and go, ‘Why are you doing this?' And nobody does it," he explains. He says he wanted to find out what happens if two girls start to bully another girl. Would the others join in or come to her aid?

The results showed both. The group apologized and made excuses for the bully, but in the end, decided to vote the victim out anyway.

The two girls who had a strong reaction during the experiment were Mary and Deanna. Mary refused to bully the victim and pulled herself out of the competition. Deanna stood up for the victim but voted her off in the end. She says she caved to the pressure and felt bad about it. "When it was over, I cried, because I felt like, wow, I became someone I'm really not," Deanna says.

[AD]Dr. Phil warns parents, "This little microcosm here is what your kids are dealing with every day, because they are trying to find the group they fit into, whether it's the cool kids, or the sports, or the druggies, whatever. That's why it's so important for you to help them feel special about who they are, because if they feel special, if they have that self-worth, that self-esteem, they're not going to give their power away to anybody, let alone some kids who are trying to manipulate them."

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