A friend’s advice helps everyone. But, we should not follow everything a friend tells us. This is peer pressure.
Peers are people who are part of the same social group, so the term “peer pressure” means the influence that peers can have on each other. We all have experienced peer pressure in some way or another. If our classmate has a blue colour bag, then we also want a blue colour bag. Sometimes we are not tempted to play a game but if all our friends play that game, then we have to play it. Peer pressure is more common with teenagers all around the world. Peer pressure is the main reason for the individual to start smoking, drinking or drug abuse. Peer pressure can affect individuals of all ethnicities, genders and ages. Peer pressure has expanded from strictly face-to-face interaction to digital interaction via social media apps and websites like facebook and instagram.
Positive Peer Pressure
Peer pressure could influence a young person to become involved in sports. This involvement could be positive, leading to exposure to healthy lifestyles and role models, and eventually leading the young person to become a positive role model herself/himself. This is an example of how peer pressure affects an individual positively.
Outcomes of Positive Peer Pressure:
- As people become our role models we respect others as they inspire us to become like them.
- Working hard is a part of positive peer pressure. We also have the aim to win or perform our best.
- We participate in sports and join clubs because our peers also participate in these activities.
- It also helps an individual in making healthy decisions about studies, personal life and health.
- Achieving good grades due to hard work is an outcome of this positive peer pressure.
- We volunteer in the community more often and help other people. This makes us feel good.
- We also learn leadership skills by taking part in competitions and programs conducted in schools.
Negative Peer Pressure
The most common form of negative peer pressure among school children is to act and behave as per the directions given by a popular person of the group. The children are forced to dress and style in a particular way. Expensive clothes, gadgets and international vacations are demanded by the children of their parents. If the demands are not fulfilled then the child is ridiculed in the group. This stress affects the child’s school performance and social interaction. She/he becomes mentally unstable and weak. The other kind of negative peer pressure is starting up bad habits like smoking, drinking and drug abuse. This kind of peer pressure is also seen among adults and they are forced into these habits by their friends & boss.
Consequences of Negative Peer Pressure:
- Losing sight of one’s goals because of no concentration towards the goals of an individual.
- Spending money lavishly on useless things and addictive things such as alcohol or drugs.
- Getting addicted to alcohol or drugs due to the pressure by friends to look ‘cool’ in the friend circle.
- Becoming lazy and inactive and having less enthusiasm towards life. Living an unhealthy lifestyle due to laziness and inactiveness.
- Losing personal values. Usually people focus so much to become ‘cool’ that they forget about their values.
- Becoming depressed and stressed due to our habits. Stress and depression can make anyone lose the spirit of life.
- We should identify positive and negative peer pressure and deal with it accordingly.