Have you ever done something that you didn’t personally enjoy but your friends did? Or have you ever worn something so others wouldn’t laugh at you; to “fit in”? Those are just small examples of peer pressure that occur right under our noses. It doesn’t just affect small habits, but it could even result to life changing outcomes such as smoking, drinking, cutting, drop in grades, etc. This problem has been happening since the beginning of mankind, though it hasn’t been regarded as a major issue. Peer pressure is more powerful than people think and they aren’t doing enough to prevent its negative effects. In my opinion, I believe that this is a problem worth fighting for.
As I was researching this topic, right off the bat, I noticed that there was a dramatic difference in search results compared to other topics. Peer pressure isn’t being exposed to the public through social media enough for people to realize that it’s a situation that needs to be addressed. In today’s day and age, social media is one of the most efficient and quickest ways to spread news. Without this exposure, peer pressure is a fairly difficult problem for people to notice straight away.
Peer pressure doesn’t necessarily allow you to notice dramatic changes, or even notice changes at all. Even the smallest influences can pile up to be something unhealthy. Some examples how powerful peer influence is can be found through the the clothes you wear to the music you listen to. Though these influences are harmless, a study at Cornell University using a “driving game” showed that when accompanied by friends, teens took double the amount of risks they would compared to when driving alone. As you continue to allow peer pressure guide everyday decisions like what you eat or who you talk to, it could eventually lead to you being driven to do something life changing or regretful. In other words, one day you could let your friend tell you what burger to get and the next day they’re telling you to grab a cigarette.
Some parents may think that what they’re doing to guide their children is what’s best for them and that it’ll make them perfect in every way. Though, this mindset makes parents blind to what their children actually need.
Marye Audet wrote about her experience as a parent involved with peer pressure, “So, with plenty of help from my more experienced peers, I began building the perfect child, one rule at a time, determined that my child would reflect well on me within the homeschooling community. I didn’t notice that I was doing it, that I was teaching my children to compete, fit in and re-create themselves into an ever more polished version of the group vision of successful. I was teaching my children to compete, fit in and re-create themselves into an ever more polished version of the group vision of successful.”
Because parents are oblivious to the actual needs of their children, all that they can do is pretend to be obedient and disregard everything once their parents are out of sight. Parents need to learn how to notice when their child’s interests and behaviors suddenly change; it could be a sign that they’re easily influenced. Parents should also be aware of the friends that their children make, for a group of debatable friends could lead your child going down an unwanted path. Though, this shouldn’t mean that parents must watch their children's every single move, but that they should keep an eye out for these changes once in awhile.
However, peer pressure isn’t just a negative topic. Positive peer influence is very healthy for people. Having others around to inspire you in a positive way can lead to great ideas. Without positive peer influence, people can easily be guided in the wrong direction. According to research, if properly harnessed, the same pressure can motivate individuals to stay focused and work hard towards achieving their goals. From personal experience, I can say that positive peer influence is a necessity, especially when in school. If you surround yourself with friends who take education seriously and try their best, it may bring you to dropping bad school habits and help improve your work ethics.
Peer pressure is a topic that’s quiet yet deadly. It’s not spread on social media enough, small actions can lead to deadly outcomes, and parents are oblivious. With these key points in mind, it’s up to people to stand up against peer pressure. The teens of today can end peer pressure by simply surrounding themselves with people who influence them positively. What else can I do to help? If you’re a parent, make sure that your child is hanging out with the right friends. Don’t force your child under tight rules and let them voice their opinions. Another way to help is to spread the word on social media. Make people aware about the power of peer pressure. Say no to peer pressure. Stand your ground.
Audet, Marye. "Peer Pressure Impacts Parents." Your Teen Magazine. Your Teen for Parents, 17 Jan. 2017. Web. 23 May 2017.
"Peer Pressure: Its Influence on Teens and Decision Making." Peer Pressure: Its Influence on Teens and Decision Making | Scholastic: Nida. Scholastic, 2008. Web. 23 May 2017.
Zeiger, Stacy. "Statistics on Peer Pressure." LoveToKnow. LoveToKnow Corp, Oct. 2016. Web. 23 May 2017.