Teens And Peer Pressure Social Influences on teens today
What is peer pressure? Peer Pressure is the social pressure on one of a peers group of friends to take a certain action or behavior because that’s what everyone else is doing. Teenagers today are starting to: drink, smoke, have sexual interactions and use illegal drugs and a much younger age. This is caused by peer pressure because today teens are willing to do whatever it takes to fit into so what the so called “popular” crowd. Most teenagers have the goal to fit into these so called groups or cliques and it takes over all of the other goals as which they had originally had from the beginning, goals such as getting good grades throughout you middle school and high school years and graduating from high school in college, and causing them to give into all the wrong things.
In the article “The Perils of Obedience” written by Stanley Milgram, he tells about his experiment to test the problem between obedience to authority and one’s conscience to tell what is right and wrong. In this experiment, Milgram found that most people will do what they are told from an authoritative figure even when its going against there own moral beliefs. The study was set up as a “blind experiment” so they were able to capture when and if the person will stop causing pain on another as they are continuously told to continue doing so. The participants of this experiment included two volunteers: one was called a teacher and the other was called a learner. The teacher being the person that is being tested and the learner is just an actor. Both volunteers were told that they would be involved in a study that tests the effects of punishment on learning. The learner was strapped into a chair that resembles a miniature electric chair and the teacher saw them be strapped in and then the teacher was sat in a room with the experimenter. The teacher would then ask the learner questions and the learner had to be able to remember a certain question that was asked if they failed to answer correctly then the teacher was instructed to give out a shock volt. For every question the learner got wrong each time the teacher had to increase the voltage used. At the end of the experiment they were shocked to see that many went to extremes to were they would give the highest voltage and even continue to give shocks after the learner had ceased screaming implying that he or she was either dead or knocked out.
The peer pressure on teens today is growing tremendously. One specific thing teens are starting to get pressured into doing is starting to drink at a much younger age than normal. Teenagers start to pick up on drinking because of pressure from there older friends. In the article, “The Perils of Disobedience,” written by Stanley Milgram, most people said that if someone wasn’t in the room with them telling them to continue giving shock to the learners that they would have quit after the first one if they were even able to shock them at all. This is something similar that happens to teens in a drinking situation. Take for example, you and your friends go to a party and one of them gets a drink, after that person gets a drink they start to insist that the friends that they came with get one to telling them that they will have a much better time if they do and that if they don’t its because there chicken. Most teenagers in this situation would drink because of the fear of not fitting into the social crowd.
Another pressure that teens often get pressured into giving in to is dating at an early age and having sex in teen relationships. According to the authors of the article “Biological, Familial, and Peer Influences on Dating in Early Adolescents“, “The peer group is an important social context that supports the emergence of dating relationships” (Connolly). When teens, especially girls, hear their friends talking about their boyfriends, a lot of times it makes them feel lonely and want a boyfriend of their own. When teens get boyfriends they are also influenced by them to have sexual relations at a very young age. This happens even more in groups of friends where at least one or two of the teens are already having sex. It makes them feel like they fit in if they are doing all the same things that there friends are doing, because they can come together and talk about their experiences.
In conclusion, peer pressure is a major influence on our teens and adolescents today. The fact that they want to be considered or accepted into a certain group of friends overtakes their natural instinct to do good and causes them to give into negative pressures such as, dinking, having sex, smoking and using illegal drugs. While it is very difficult, teenagers really need to start putting more thought into the decision that they are choosing to make simply because of there friends and do what it is they know is best. Right now it may seem as though this is what they really want to do and these people are who there real friends they will learn later on in life that being part of the “popular” crowd isn’t anything special because more than likely those kids that they thought were so cool really aren’t.
Connolly, Jennifer A., Wendy M. Craig, Laura J. Friedlander, Debra J. Pepler. “Biological, Familial, and Peer Influences on Dating in Early Adolescence.” Arch Sex Behaviors. 36 (2007):821-830. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO Host. Eastern Kentucky University Library. Richmond, Kentucky. 3 April 2008.
Hoffman, Beth R., Peter R. Monge, Chih-Ping Chou, Thomas W. Valente. “Perceived Peer Influences and Peer Selection on Adolescent Smoking.” Addictive Behaviors. 32 Aug. 2007:1546-1554. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO Host. Eastern Kentucky University Library. Richmond, Kentucky. 3 April 2008.
Palmqvist, Riia, Nina Santivirta. “What Friends are for: The Relationship Between Body Images, Substance Use, and Peer Pressure Among Finnish Adolescents.” Journal of Youth and Adolescents. 35 April 2006:192-206. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO Host. Eastern Kentucky University Library. Richmond, Kentucky. 3 Apr. 2008.
“Why Teens Smoke.” Newsmagazine. 22. 38. 4 Sept. 1995. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO Host. Eastern Kentucky University Library. Richmond, Kentucky. 3 April 2008.