Peer pressure is a situation where people both young and older, find themselves amidst company that has a way of influencing them to do things that aren't necessarily bad, but good too. In middle school, and junior college we see a rise in this kind of behavior among kids, where cliques as they call it, are social circles within a school setting, that are popular and have significant impact on kids that are lured by what they offer. Peers can sometimes look out for you and help out in a lot of instances, where they can drive you to achieve something you fall short on. They can "pressure" you to do the right thing, or to strive at something you're not good at, but at the same time looking out for you in these cases.
Peer pressure starts when kids start growing older and have a sense of the world, and an opinion to go with it. Some kids are smart enough to ward off trouble when it comes to the wrong kind of pressure, while others sadly get sucked into such circles, often because their cognitively weak to oppose it.
Effects of Peer Pressure on Kids and Adults
There are negative and positive effects of peer pressure which are evident, although more so than ever, the bad kind is what bothers parents and faculty members the most.
When under the effects of bad peer pressure, kids/ adults seem to give in to the coaxing only because they want to fit in, and have others see them as capable and equal. Whether it is about getting laid with multiple partners (or losing one's virginity), picking up their first cigarette, experimenting with drugs/alcohol, partaking in illegal activities, and the sort - peer pressure can lead one to think that if you don't do as they say, you don't fit the criteria to be a part of the group. The victims of such pressure want to be a part of the "cool gang" because at this point in their lives they are aware of what status and reputation is when it comes to their image in school. They see how the group seems popular and sought after, even if what they do is questionable.
Kids start to rebel against adults that warn against such peer pressure when obvious changes at home take place, or if parents notice a mercurial shift in their behavior. It is wise to advise them well in advance about such groupings in school, since this can have a long-term impact, thus leading to something quite uncontrollable.
The notion that sex is something that can be gambled with, can be imposed upon a person who wishes to a part of the group. So, they go down that rocky road, which proves to be ultimately both dangerous, and something they can't handle. Sex education needs to be brought up as early as one is 13 years old, because in this day and age kids' minds are adapting to what surrounds them, much more quickly than a sponge saturates itself with water.
Substance abuse is an all too familiar scenario that parents and concerned adults have to deal with. Peer pressure is a weapon that can convince the weak that what they are doing is right, and that it would make them cooler or matter more in some way. Some kids may be wise enough to say 'no' and take a stand against such groups, but one can only hope that there are kids with such a staunch conscience.
Some groups can encourage students to drop out of school and pursue deviant paths, only to mislead the child in question. This can have consequences for him/her to venture out into the world on their own, unarmed with nothing but so-called 'friends', where reality hits them as they grow older. Such a revelation leads to depression and loneliness, since close family/friends will have given up on them if they've been trying for a while to convince them to return to a normal life.
Kids wish to have a sense of belonging, which doesn't come from being a loner or with the kind of crowd they find "uncool". So in an attempt to be known and socially "acceptable", they find themselves mixing with the wrong party even if there is an inkling that what they're doing is wrong.