Peer pressure is considered a rite of passage that all individuals have to go through. However, the effects of peer pressure vary from one individual to another. In terms of definition, peer pressure can be defined as the influence that individuals, people and or friends are capable of exerting on other individuals. Herbst and Alexandre (61) note that it is imperative to comprehend that though peer pressure can prove to be beneficial, in most instances, it has been observed that peer pressure is also capable of having negative impacts on both an individual and the society. Furthermore, the thoughts, tastes of fashion behavior, music, television, and other ways of the masses influence how individuals live in the society. Individuals tend to be influenced by the behaviors of other people in their group. This paper discusses both the positive and negative impacts of peer pressure.
Negative impacts of peer pressure
A dip in self-confidence is one of the key effects of negative peer pressure. Peer pressure can take an individual who is normally confident to have low self-confidence. As a result, the individuals affected by the low self-confidence become unsure of themselves and low self-esteem creeps in. the low confidence often influences the life of an individual. For many teenagers, there is a general feeling that they have to be accepted by a particular group. This approval by their peer group can translate to the teenagers having higher beliefs on their peer groups than those of their parents. This, in turn, can have a negative effect on their academics. In some instances, the academics of the teenagers are affected not because they are not in a position to perform well but because they do not perform deliberately because in the eyes of their peers they do not want to look uncool. In some instances, the academics of the individuals are affected because, in the bid to fit into a certain group, there is a larger emphasis that is placed on being social in the group than working on their academics.
The second effect of peer pressure is that an individual can easily adopt dangerous habits. Research has depicted that the extreme form of peer pressure can propagate bad habits that include alcoholism, drug abuse, and smoking. Technically many individuals know that these habits are not good to cultivate, howler, they tend to excuse it with a brash confidence that they need to feel part of a group. At that point, in life, the actions that they undertake do not seem to have a negative consequence (Georganas et al., 18). In the end, however, such individuals may end up addicted to such habits. In extreme instances, such individuals tend to feel ashamed of their family members in addition to themselves. A good example is that of teenagers who come from different economic backgrounds. If an individual comes from a poor economic background, then such individuals tend to feel lesser than their companions who come from well to do families. In the instance that these occur, the affected individuals will distance themselves from their families and friends. It is however not all instances that the teenagers shut themselves completely out of their families that they are affected negatively. It is the shutting out of other people in the society that often than not ends up in bad company.
In extreme peer pressure cases, some individuals engage in suicide ideation and self-harm. The effect can be so bad that the affected individuals cannot stand their own skins due to alienation from friends and family that they become depressed and anxious (Bingham et al.,54). In such circumstances, the affected individuals could attempt self-harm or entertain the thoughts of committing suicide.
Positive effects of peer pressure
However, there have been numerous negative effects of peer pressure; the society needs to recognize that there are indeed numerous positive effects of peer pressure. Individuals can be motivated to accomplish many feats and aim higher through competition from their peers. It is the peer pressure that persons have that can serve as a powerful encouragement tool towards beneficial behavior. Peer pressure motivates individuals to take the positive actions that their fellow peers are taking while at the same time persuading them to stay away from the negative influences that their friends do not approve. Individuals are more likely to participate in positive activities that their peers participated in previously (Bursztyn, and Jensen, 34).
Since their peers influence many teenagers, it is the peer pressure that they feel that can be used to spread awareness amongst themselves and reach vulnerable teenagers who might have been isolated in the past in terms of other forms of communication. Information can easily be passed from one teenager to another as they have the same forms of communication. Moreover, positive peer pressure can influence the actions as well as the thoughts of an individual. According to Gil, Luciana A., et al (45), when persons are inspired to begin thinking positively regarding the outcomes of their thoughts, then their entire attitude changes and the outlook that they have about life changes to the better. Being able to recognize oneself as a valuable individual in the society, one is in a position to comprehend that it is through peer interaction and it is through the positive peer pressure that acts as a means of validation for oneself. The incentive to look good and do well increases an individuals chances of success especially when they receive positive inspiration that comes in the form of positive peer pressure. Additionally, positive peer pressure can set a cycle of success in motion that can act as a platform for one to build upon in the future. As the person is motivated due to what they have seen their peers succeeding in, they then begin to fully comprehend the value of following well-chosen leaders. Additionally, by receiving positive feedback from the individuals that they learned from, the peer will also have a positive impact on the individual.
By being exposed to the masses, an individual is able to learn many from the world outside. Often than not, they comprehend what is happening in the outside world. The exposure to the world enables one to learn more about human behavior. It gives one the opportunity to learn from the tastes and their outlook on life from a different perspective.
In conclusion, although there are many negative effects of peer pressure, there are also positive effects that can be adopted by individuals. In fact, peer pressure should not be avoided. For many teenagers, there is a general feeling that they have to be accepted by a particular group. One should realize that it is the application peer pressure type that is vital to the development of an individual. One should recognize peer pressure as a tool for the betterment and advancement of their life.
Bingham, C. Raymond, et al. "Peer passenger norms and pressure: Experimental effects on simulated driving among teenage males." Transportation research part F: traffic psychology and behaviour 41 (2016): 124-137.
Bursztyn, Leonardo, and Robert Jensen. "How Does Peer Pressure Affect Educational Investments?." The quarterly journal of economics 130.3 (2015): 1329-1367.
Georganas, Sotiris, Mirco Tonin, and Michael Vlassopoulos. "Peer pressure and productivity: The role of observing and being observed." Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization 117 (2015): 223-232.
Gil, Luciana A., et al. "Effect of popularity and peer pressure on attitudes toward luxury among teens." Young Consumers 18.1 (2017): 84-93.
Herbst, Daniel, and Alexandre Mas. "Peer effects on worker output in the laboratory generalize to the field." Science 350.6260 (2015): 545-549.
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