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The Power of Peer Pressure

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Khaley Sills, Photographer/ Writer

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Influencing others around you, whether it be drugs and suicide, lying and cheating or completing homework and joining extracurricular activities. Are you under the pressure? Many students feel that they have a basic understanding of peer pressure, but can most physically say what it is and describe it? Peer pressure is the act or influence from members of one’s peer group. There are different forms of peer pressure, some worse than others. You may be thinking, what is good about peer pressure? Positive types of peer pressure are ones that influence others to do what is right and achieve greatness through their actions. There is also a downside to peer pressure, including different forms of bullying and influences that have a negative impact on one’s appearance, social interaction, choices and morals.

“It’s easy to stand in a crowd. It takes courage to stand alone.” Peer pressure happens everywhere, including sports,school,extracurricular activities, parking lots, parties, and more. As in the quote stated above, many tend to follow crowds. Some positive effects of peer pressure would be making a person more determined, getting good grades, choosing the correct friends, participating in good activities that could make the student stand out, self confidence, and reinforcement in positive attitudes Positive effects of peer pressure could give students and anyone a good reputation.

When discussing peer pressure many people just assume the bad sides of peer pressure and how it negatively affects many people. Although there are many more bad sides of peer pressure than there are good. Many of the negative sides include pressure to use alcohol or drugs, participation in risk taking behaviors, distraction from school work, drastic changes in attitudes, and distance between family and friends.

A lot of people, such as kids and even parents believe that they are innocent; they believe that there is no reason why such things are happening to them. Although this is thought, many different actions play a part in peer pressure. It could simply happen by someone and their friends looking at you and whispering. When you notice this you soon feel their presence no matter where you go or what you do. You start looking out for these people and make sure they are not saying anything else about you. Soon then to be consumed by the thought of  someone talking about you, and thinking about you; you decide to either stick up for yourself or befriend one of them so they will stop talking about you. Once you’re a “newbie” in their friend group they will pressure you and make sure you’re up to par to be in that friend group. This is where peer pressure really sets into play. This new group uses you as their little minion, and of course you want to do anything to impress them. They may start making you do drugs, bully other kids, or even start cheating to further them in things.

Now don’t think that there are not good sides in this. Maybe this new group of friends influences you to do good things because they took you out of a situation you were struggling in. They may try to convince you that you should do homework, do other extracurricular activities, make you a better person or just be a friend to you. Sometimes people have nothing so taking them under your wing is better than leaving them with the wrong crowd.

In conclusion, peer pressure is an issue around the world. Some may be good and some may be bad. It’s come to the realization that it has happened everywhere but many people do not realize when it happens. Good and bad peer pressure can be influential no matter what way the spectrum leans toward. I feel that students and peers can work together to eliminate the amounts of bad peer pressure and encourage the amount of good being done.

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The Power of Peer Pressure