Peer group or commonly known as classmates, schoolmates are an integral part of a person’s school life. The students spend time together during class, extracurricular as well as cultural activities and hence, become friends and support system for each other. They participate in group activities as well which makes them learn about team efforts, criticism, and incorporates leadership and management skills etc. Every student wants to be a part of a group be it at school or friend circle outside the school. Some of the benefits of peer groups are
- Students are regular at school
- Academic performance is good
- Motivation to complete education or pursue further education
- Participate in sports and other extra-curricular activities
Generally, student group’s objectives are same and also, some in-evident rules that every group member follows to be part of the group. However, sometimes these group activities can sometimes be in the student's favour and can leave a negative impact on them.
What is peer pressure?
Peer pressure is mostly seen in teenagers when they are trying to be a part of some or other group. Peer pressure is a phenomenon which most teenagers are not aware of because they eagerly want to be part of the group and so decide to follow the group’s activities without realising the negative impacts.
For example - When members of a group try something which is harmful just to appear cool for example smoking, then the student who want to be part of the group would try it so the members would like him or even if the student is already a part of the group but hesitates in trying cigarettes and other members cheer him to try it and even force it on him by saying that everyone is smoking cigarette so he must do it too or doesn’t he want to be part of the group? If he wants to be in the group then he must smoke. This is where the peer pressure starts and it could be with anything like drinking, drugs, dating or becoming a part of some criminal activity etc.
Students want to try the things that others are doing as they feel that since everyone's doing it so they must also do it to be accepted or they will be left behind.
What activities are committed under peer pressure?
Here are some examples of peer pressure to understand it better -
- Smoking cigarettes or tobacco/hookah
- Trying alcohol (illegal for children under 18 years)
- Consuming Drugs or intoxicating substances
- Bunking classes or missing schools without parents knowledge
- Cheating in exams
- Dating or involving in adult relationships
- Taking Diet pills or extreme dieting measures
- Trying unhealthy beauty or fashion tips
- Sometimes, students force their parents to buy them a phone/laptop or expensive gadgets just because their friends have it
Ways to deal with peer pressure
- Just say NO – If you do not feel okay about anything your friends are forcing you to do then don’t be afraid and take your stand by saying NO to them politely or say, Not this time, I don’t feel right or I don’t think this is good for me.
- Talk to elders – If the pressure continues, then you must discuss this with your parents first, or teachers and counsellors at school.
- Just Ignore – You need not follow everything your friends are doing and it is better to avoid such events if they are involving in harmful activities.
- Choose right friends – If you don’t feel respected by your friends at this time, then you need to reconsider your friends. You can select friends or classmates you feel comfortable with.
Conclusion: Students need to be aware of peer pressure by understanding right and wrong things. Parents need to keep check of their child’s school life if they are being bullied or pressurised. And also, educate their children about such activities and how they should always stand for their rights.