Honestly, can't names do real damage? I think so. It is unethical, but you could try it out for yourself. Just find someone you interact with regularly and start calling them jerk all the time. It won't take long before you see the effect. I strongly recommend you take my word for it. Don't try this at home, it is dangerous. This is why I suggest the following alternative to the school-yard saying."Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names may upset the chemical balances in my brain, thereby altering my emotions, cognition, and behavior." - Ajax
I'd go on about Becker's Labeling Theory, but I just don't have the writing spirit right now. Just know that deviance results from a label. A name. If you are called something you become that something. Meaning that names are powerful and can hurt you. It also suggests that names can uplift a person. And if we are going in that direction then we also have to allow that sticks and stones can not only break bones, but build houses. Sticks could also be used to splint the very bones they have broken. This is getting out of control.
I will recap: Sticks and stones may break your bones, but sticks might help them heal later, and furthermore, sticks and/or stones might be used to build a shelter in order to protect further damage from being done to your bones. Names will never hurt you, if they are kind and supportive names, which inspire a person to become something new and better. Names will hurt you if they are given in a mean-spirit. People react to how they are treated, unconsciously even, so they don't even have to decide to be hurt by names for those names to hurt them.
Well, it's not perfect, but I could revise it some time and then all of the kids could start reciting it on the playground. Actually, I think it is well-meaning, if ill-informed, parents who keep the "sticks and stones" saying alive. Those parents ought to read this post and change the world. I'll go eat something now. Cheers!