The people we socialize with have a profound effect on us, especially during adolescence and are often looked to for reassurance, guidance and a sense of belonging. Peer pressure occurs when our peers influence us to change our attitudes or beliefs. Overall, there are two types of effects of peer pressure: negative and positive. To a certain extent, it can be beneficial. It can help us analyze ourselves and contemplate on our ways of life. Some of the practices that the masses follow may actually teach us the way of living and can change us for the better and can actually persuade us to bring about a constructive change in our personality. But there is a downside. Unfortunately, teenagers are often the most vulnerable to the effects of peer pressure because most of us face an identity crisis and as we learn independence, we look to others to form opinions and outlooks. Also peer pressure can happen explicitly or implicitly. According to a publication on peer pressure by Parent Further, only 10 percent of teenagers surveyed said that they had not been influenced by peer pressure whereas 28 percent of teenagers agreed that giving in to peer pressure improved their social standing and nearly half of those surveyed admitted to picking on someone only after a friend picked on that person.
Also Read : Kuwait’s Old Guard Mediation
The Canadian Lung Association also found that 70 percent of teens who smoke have friends who smoke or started smoking because of peer pressure. The Monitoring the Future Survey from the same initiative found that approximately 30 percent of 8th graders have used illicit drugs because of peer pressure. In fact, the brain activity of adolescents changes when a teen is alone versus when they’re surrounded by their friends. In a Temple University study published in the New York Times, results showed that teens watching their friends increased risk-taking and misbehavior despite the lack of direct coercion. The number of brain receptors interacting with dopamine is higher in adolescence than at any other time of life so that is why the effects of peer pressure are much stronger among adolescents and teens. Understanding how to deal with peer pressure takes time, but with the right resources, teens can make better choices that are geared towards health and long-term success.