Have you ever played truth or dare? If you answered yes, then you have been impacted by peer pressure. When playing a game like that, your peers are influencing you. If you choose truth, you’re being pressured into usually divulging embarrassing details of your life. If you decide to dare, you’re being influenced to do something you wouldn’t normally do.
What is peer pressure?
Peer pressure is the pressure to participate in an activity because others are doing it or being influenced by others.
Who are your peers?
When you’re younger, your peers are usually your cousins, siblings, or friends chosen for you based on your parents’ decisions. As you get older, your peers will be people you choose to interact with or people you have to interact with, like co-workers.
How has peer pressure changed over the years?
The role of social media has impacted peer pressure. Even when you are not physically amongst your peers, peer pressure is there via social media platforms like Tik Tok, Facebook, Instagram, Snap Chat, and Twitter.
How do social media influencers add peer pressure?
Everyone wants to fit in and not feel left out. Influencers play a huge role in how people want to look, dress, talk, eat and spend time. When people can’t meet these expectations, they feel depressed, anxious, and diminished self-esteem.
What are the Dangers of Peer Pressure and Social Media?
You may remember the Tide Pod Challenge, which led teens to ingest Tide Pods meant for laundry purposes and many becoming seriously ill. Then there was the Cinnamon Challenge, where individuals had to consume a certain amount of cinnamon without water in a shortened period which could lead to the cinnamon being aspirated by the lungs and causing fatality. There was also the Blue Whale Challenge, where individuals were coerced into performing uncomfortable or hazardous acts over days, and the final challenge was suicide. There were at least 100 deaths reported as a result of this challenge. Peer pressure has always existed; however, social media has increased the level of pressure because people can’t get away from it. Peer pressure and social media play a huge role in placing stress on someone’s mental health.
There are a few different types of peer pressure that most of us experience daily in some way or another. Here are the different types:
1. Spoken Peer Pressure
Spoken peer pressure involves the act of an individual asking, suggesting, or persuading someone into doing something. A lot of times, this is a peer-to-peer instance where the pressure feels unavoidable. However, spoken peer pressure can still occur in a group situation as well, where once again, the pressure to be like everyone else in the group feels insurmountable.
2. Unspoken Peer Pressure
Unspoken peer pressure is when a decision is made for you, and instead of speaking out against it, you follow along while knowing you don’t agree with the decision or the consequences that accompany it. No one ever wants to be the only one to question a decision or to disagree with it.
3. Direct Peer Pressure
Direct peer pressure can be presented as unspoken or spoken, but it can also include putting someone in a position where they feel they must comply. For example, a group of kids smokes cigarettes behind the grocery store, and your friend hands you a cigarette. If you don’t light up, you’ll be the only nonsmoker and be considered uncool, and like you don’t belong. This method of on-the-spot peer pressure and stress is known as direct peer pressure.
4. Indirect Peer Pressure
Indirect peer pressure can be hard to identify. This usually comes with influence. For example, you make friends with a group of kids, and they pick on the less popular kids during lunch. Suppose you stand up for the less popular kids or don’t participate in the bullying. In that case, they will turn and pick on you and isolate you from their group, so you conform and join in on bullying the less popular group of kids in the cafeteria to earn their trust and gain acceptance.
5. Negative/Positive Peer Pressure
Peer pressure doesn’t always have to be negative; it can sometimes be positive. Negative peer pressure challenges your belief system and core values, causing you mental and physical distress. It can also impact your relationships, diminish your self-esteem, and increase the likelihood of developing a substance use disorder. Negative peer pressure is usually associated with influencing people to perform criminal acts, alcohol use, drug use, tobacco use, and other risky behaviors.
Positive peer pressure has the opposite effect of negative peer pressure. If you surround yourself with people who positively influence your life, you will make more positive decisions. For example, if your circle of friends likes to study and volunteer, you will most likely study and volunteer. These influences can deter drug and alcohol use because if that’s the lifestyle you chose, you would be the only one participating in the behavior. I’m sure we’ve all heard “you are the company you keep,” and this rule applies to positive peer influence.
Peer Pressure and Sexual Activity
Indirect or direct peer pressure plays a role in sexual activity amongst teens as well. Even though we know the risks of engaging in risky sexual behavior, individuals ignore the facts due to peer pressure. Once one person in your circle commits a particular sexual act, the rest of the group is usually left feeling influenced to follow suit. This can also lead to different types of behavioral addictions.
Peer Pressure and Substance Abuse
Peer pressure can cause individuals to participate in activities and do things they usually wouldn’t do alone, including alcohol and drug use. Teens become curious about alcohol and drugs during adolescence, and some see this curiosity as a bonding experience if they try alcohol, drugs, or tobacco together. Young adults are especially vulnerable to peer pressure in a substance situation because they are trying to claim their independence from their parents and prove that they are no longer children. Teens are not the only ones that succumb to peer pressure when it comes to drugs or alcohol. When influenced to do so, many adults take shots at bars or stay for one more drink even though they want to call it a night.
How Can Someone Respond to Peer Pressure?
In today’s world, social media is taking on a massive role in peer pressure. Ten years from now, peer pressure will be even harder to avoid. Look how much we have advanced in technology within the last ten years to gauge how much farther we will increase over the next ten. Peer pressure has gone beyond the clothing we wear or the music we listen to, it’s now begun to impact school and work performance. While peer pressure has always existed and will always exist, the only thing we can do is become more educated on how to stand up to influence and peer pressure to live happier and healthier lives.
How Avatar Residential Detox Center Can Help:
Avatar Residential Detox Center offers assistance to individuals who are facing the onset of substance use issues. We can also provide support to family members who are struggling with the issues that surround addiction. Peer pressure is a genuine concern and a problem that many of us face, sometimes daily. Learning coping mechanisms and strategies that can help manage different peer pressure can reduce the risk of developing substance use disorders.
Our New Jersey addiction center offers support for individuals facing substance dependency. Our team of clinical experts has experience addressing all symptoms within the spectrum of addiction. Contact us today at +1 (973)-774-7222 to find out more about our addiction treatment programs.