Peer pressure has been, for a long time, a concern in our societal values and moral systems in various communities. It is something that has always been there and will always be present. Peer pressure is normally a decision or an action that an individual chooses to do something either because someone else is doing it or is being done by a friend. It is an influence, which is either a negative influence or a positive influence. This can be as a result of a feeling of not being included in the group or fear of doing the act they see other people or a group doing.
Peer pressure has been, for a long time, a powerful mental force influencing every one, but has more strongly been seen amongst people in their teenage years. Depending on the kind of the pressure exerted by peers and what they are being pressured to do, it can result to be both good and bad effects. According to Horn and Keough in their book, they have made a statement, that peers have become more increasingly during the teenage years’ (Horn & Keough 42) This has made an impact on their self esteem as teenage as they want to reach a degree where they feel accepted by the peer group as conformity is the price to be paid to be accepted by the group Among the teens, peer pressure has developed to have more of the negative effects in their life’s that a positive effect.
It affects the way they speak, walk, act, dress and even their attitudes of who they hang out with as friends, and what they do. Although effects of peer pressure is often negative, but along with those negative effects, are also the positive effects. Peers influence, can make someone do only the smallest thing, and yet still be a large influence with a greater impact in their lives.
There is the negative effect of peer pressure. This is mostly as a result of negative peer pressure, which is an influence to do something wrong which can be either stealing or drugs. One of the most popular negative effects of peer pressure mostly among the teenagers is the tendency use of drugs and alcohol substances at a younger stage if they are around others who choose to (Golden, Peterson, and Haley 169). According to a survey done in 2001 by the pew foundation in America, 82% of Americans accorded peer pressure to be a major factor in determining whether a teen is using drugs or will use drugs in there latter years (Richard 25). In America, the use of marijuana has tremendously increased in the past five years. This is according to another study done by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), which showed that teens with friends who are addicted to the use of marijuana are 40 times most likely to use the drug than teens that have friends who are not using the drugs.
This has shown that this pressure to have drugs affects the child physically, mentally and socially which can be a short term or a long-term effect. The short-term effects of use of drugs are trouble breathing, drowsiness, black outs and trouble thinking (Danielle 263). Upon a continuous use of drugs, a long-term effect is felt in that they end up being addicted in the long run and insisting that everyone is doing it" and that "it's cool to do so" one gives into this horrible disease like liver problems and heart problems. In addition, more often than not, a person can become addicted and become dependent on this substance to the extent that someone will never do without it.
Another negative effect of peer pressure is the act of having a low self-esteem in whatever work a person is undertaking. In a situation where a person’s peer mocks him or her, or make him or her feel bad about an action, the person will forever remain insecure until an action is taken to make the person have confidence and appreciate himself. For instance among women, in a situation where friends makes a statement about one of them on how badly she looks when she puts on a certain dress, the person will find herself not in a position to come out well at the moment where she puts on the dress. They start feeling down and rejected with a feeling of worthlessness in their presence. In addition, somebody who has ever experienced this at one time, or another in life knows that this is one of, if not so the, worst feeling a person can possess during his or her lifetime.
In the midst of all this negative effects, there is depression or obsession where a person is subjected to a constant betrayal on how to act and look like. It becomes a serious depression that a person feels that life is not worth living, and thinks about or attempt committing suicide. Teens in most circumstances are bound to conform to the people around them very quickly and easily. For example if a friend decides to skip school, there are more chances for the teen to also skip the school. However, the teen may think it is his or her decision, but in fact, it is the friend pressuring simply by implanting the thought into his or her mind and take action.
On the other hand, peer pressure has some positive effect on a person. Positive effects of peer pressure come about when people feel pressured into doing something mainly for the betterment of their lifespan. Example of a positive impact of peer pressure is joining sport or extracurricular activities, and having team works in things like manual work or even business activities. Considering the fact that every person has different personalities, peer pressure can facilitate learning and understanding of how people live, share experience together and even enhance development of strong bonds. Though positive peer pressure is not limited to the act of setting good examples of what to do, it sometimes gives an example of what not to do. A teens friend who is not involve in drugs or alcohol taking will positively influenced to follow the example of the friends.
A good peer group can create an impact in one’s life by playing a vital role in shaping the personality of an individual. The way they view life can bring changes to one’s life for the betterment. Most of the peers are normally close friends who at most instances do not pressurize someone to doing things but rather give an inspiration for someone to have a change in life. They may even go to the extent of persuading someone to bring about a constructive change in ones personality. Another effect of positive peer pressure has been seen among businesspersons whereby as they come together they think of an activity to benefit each one of them in terms of business wise. Most of the enduring businesses in the current world of business have been developed from peer pressure amongst the business people.
Considering all this negative and positive effects of peer pressure among various categories of individuals in the society, one thing, which is outstanding, is the fact that every individual has a will and a choice to make.