Reflecting over at Grim's on Meryl Streep's pearl-clutching about how brave she is to receive criticism, even from bots, it occurred to me that middle-schoolers endure worse. We forget, because we learned something and survived, but these tender souls, as part of the toughening that seems hard-wired into the species, have terrible things said to them. Small mistakes are remembered and highlighted; attributes over which they have no control, such as names or physical attributes, are fair game for insults, murmured in line where authorities cannot hear, or even shouted out loud. They get roughly shouldered, or shoved. Sometimes it is worse and they get beaten or assaulted.
Plus whatever adults throw at them, which is sometimes worse because it carries the weight of authority.
They have little experience with this - they turn pink, they make it worse with bad replies, they don't know if it is better to fight back or walk away. (Answer: it depends.) They cannot get away. Blessed are the oblivious. Adults have much more choice about who they associate with or where they can go.
They are in many ways braver than adults, who would sue the ass off someone who pulled this crap on them at work or in a store. It's not easy. If you have contact with the young, even those who have seemingly easy lives, it might do to let them know that they are braver than they thought, endure more than is generally recognised, and will likely rely on the courage they are developing now.