Peer pressure is the influence of peers to act in the way similar and admissible to them (it is the effect of a social group on the person). Peer pressure can be presented in different ways. Children are often under the influence of their peers’ lifeway. They are influenced by the choices, behavior, and views of peers. Sometimes children have the desire to be independent, but they cannot get rid of that as they do want to be in the group. This pressure has both positive and negative sides. Negative peer pressure is the kind of pressure when a person wants to get rid of it because he or she feels disturbing. However, peers can teach a person good habits and stimulate to follow them. It is a positive side. All main points of positive and negative effect of peer pressure are described in the paper.
Keywords: peer pressure, positive effect, negative effect.
The Effect of Peer Pressure
It is considered that children are part of the population, who is difficult to communicate with. As for adolescence, everyone knows that it is quite a complicated period. Psychologists say that this complicated period begins when children are 12 and lasts to 17. During this time, most children try their first cigarette, alcohol, sex, and even drugs. The reason for getting such kind of experience is peer pressure. Some children oppose it, but most have to dance to more ‘cool’ and strong guys’ tune.
Everyone wants to spend time in the society of friends. Children usually belong to those groups, where they feel safe and where others have the same interests. For instance, if someone is fond of sports, he or she spends time with sportsmen. Thus, the group is the indicator of who children are and what they like. However, the question arises, what if members of a group do bad things? Do others have to follow them? According to WebMD: “this is what we refer to as peer pressure – the pressure to conform to the behaviors, attitudes, and personal habits of “the group”.” (Peer Pressure and Teens, par. 5). It is when someone is influenced to do things he or she does not usually do or give up something he or she likes to do because they want to be part of the group.
Peer pressure can be presented in different ways:
- Dressing in definite style.
- Listening to a certain style of music.
- Interest in a certain kind of activities.
- Decisions concerning smoking, alcohol and drugs.
Children are often under the influence of their peers’ lifeway. They are influenced by the choices, behavior, and views of peers. Sometimes children have the desire to be independent, but they cannot get rid of that as they do want to be in the group. This pressure has both positive and negative sides. According to Buzzle:
the difference between positive and negative peer pressure is that the former pushes us to do something good or restrains us from doing bad while the latter pulls us away from the good or pushes us to do the bad; and all this for the sake of peers, just because the crowd thinks it's the coolest thing to do (Oak, 2012, par. 2).
Negative Effects of Peer Pressure
Negative peer pressure is the kind of pressure when a person wants to get rid of it because he or she feels disturbing. Here are some examples of negative pressure:
- Pressure to smoke, take drugs and alcohol.
- Pressure to have sex.
- Pressure to excessive dieting.
- Pressure to commit minor offences (theft, shoplifting).
- Illicit actions.
- Pressure to dress in definite style, which makes a person feel uncomfortable.
- Pressure to listen to music the person is not fond of.
- Cheating on exams.
- Pressure to not to spend time with definite part of people.
Such behaviors, listed above, can cause addictions, obesity or eating disorders, teenage pregnancies and so on. Sometimes, the peer pressure may have secret meaning. A person can do bad things in order to fit in with a group, even if the rest members of the group are not engaged in it.
A typical example of negative effect of peer pressure is alienation from the family. Teens dislike being in the company of their parents. They consider that parents’ values contradict their wishes. Thus, the negative peer pressure is counteractive to the values of families. Teens often act contrary to the advice of their parents and follow the ideas of their group.
Positive Effects of Peer Pressure
Peer pressure has positive sides as well. For instance, things like being simulated by friends to do good things, such as achieving successes in school, sport, etc. Positive peer pressure also includes:
- Stimulation to give up smoking.
- Stimulation not to take drugs and alcohol.
- Friends’ support to stop doing things that may be harmful to health (insecure relationships, poor eating habits, etc.).
Thus, peers can teach a person good habits and stimulate to follow them. For example, a person can learn how to act in different situations, learn moral norms from his/her peers. Uncultured children can learn how to have a good conversation with others by looking on other members of the group and competing with them. The same goes to the confident teens. They can act as preceptors and be positive examples for others. The group of self-confident and educated members can help everyone to raise self-esteem and hinder from unmoral behavior. According to Current Health Magazine:
Peer pressure can also encourage the person to find ways to get along with others. Shouting and screaming don't resolve disputes. To get along with others, person has to know how to speak up for yourself. But he/she also must become skilled at resolving everyday disagreements in ways that make everyone a winner. Teens who want to keep their friends can benefit from these skills (Kowalski, K. M., 1999, par.12).
It is clear from the above that peers can influence a person in a good way. However, if they have bad influence on someone, so there is a need in solving this problem. The perfect way to elude negative peer pressure according to Daily News is “…to hang around with a set of friends whom you feel comfortable with, friends that could have a positive impact in your life.” (GUNERATHNE, A., 2012, par. 9)