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Dr. Debra Pepler, PREVNet's Scientific Co-Director, Interviewed in The Vancouver Sun

Excerpt from The Vancouver Sun

Teaching empathy as important as academics, says bullying expert

Kids who behave badly towards others are usually scolded, not guided

By Erin Ellis, Vancouver Sun

With bullying of Canadian teens rarely far from the headlines, so goes the work of York University research professor Debra Pepler.

 Pepler is a co-director of PREVNet, a federally funded research network focused on preventing bullying in Canada. She is speaking in Vancouver on May 7 about what parents and teachers can do to help at an event hosted by the Children's Health Policy Centre at Simon Fraser University.

Here is an edited and condensed version of her conversation with The Vancouver Sun via telephone from Toronto.

Q: There has been a lot written about how parental bonds are weakening in our "peer-oriented culture." What are parents supposed to do if their child is seeking advice from peers instead of them?

A: This is where there has been such a dramatic shift in terms of children's connectedness with their peers. I have three children, they're adults now, and when they were young and at home they were through the door at four and I'd have them until eight the next morning. My influence was not diluted during that time.

Now young people are connected 24 hours a day, seven days a week and peers have a presence in each other's lives, for better and for worse, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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