With an 11 year old who is off to high school next year these sort of things are constantly on my mind. He's such a gentle soul who's idea of risk taking is doing pull overs at gymnastics (he WILL master them one day lol). The idea of him being exposed to the testosterone fueled fights in the playgrounds or the thoughts of him being bullied and beaten to a pulp are forever on my mind. Not to mention the thought of him being exposed to drugs!
DS is the sort of kid who has always befriended the kid that no one else would talk to. He's had some pretty strong bonds with kids who just needed someone to show them some kindness. I absolutely love that we were able to somehow, even if by complete accident, instill these sort of values in him.
The only thing that can make a difference is how we choose to raise our kids. We can never completely shelter them from everything, but we can teach them how to deal with each situation.