Respected judges and dear friends,
I greatly appreciate the opportunity given to me to debate on the subject of peer pressure. I am against the statement that peer pressure is more beneficial than harmful. My position is that peer pressure is definitely more harmful than it is beneficial and I would love to present some compelling statistics that lend credence to my position.
But first, what is peer pressure? By definition, it is pressure from one’s peers to behave in a manner similar or acceptable to them. By definition, it doesn’t have any positive or negative connotations associated with it.
While peer pressure comes in all stages of life, it is most common in adolescents so allow me to focus my attention on this particular group. Teenagers are highly conscious about their images and are constantly worried about what others think of them and whether they fit in with their counterparts. They feel pressured to dress and behave in a certain way just so they could get accepted in their circles. They feel rushed into decisions that they are not ready to make just so they could look “cool”.
Peer pressure could be very harmful in that it could compel the uninformed to make bad decisions that could impact their careers and lives forever. Peer pressure could result in a person having a low self-esteem because they were too busy following others instead of developing an identity for themselves and working on originality. Peer pressure could result in people cultivating bad habits such as smoking, drinking and doing drugs that are very difficult, if not impossible, to break afterwards.
According to the website peerpressurestatistics.org, a study made by American Lung Association shows that 3.2 million of American teens smoke. Out of this 3.2 million, 25% of them are aged 17 and 18 years old and that they smoke on a daily basis. The consumption is more prevalent than before as a result of their desire to fit in the group. According to the same website, the Kaiser Foundation shows that almost 50% of teenagers on adolescent stage between 12
years old to 18 years old compelled into sex. Based on a report from Adolescent Substance Abuse Knowledge Base 32.2% teens try their first drink before the age of 13.
As is evident, the negative effects of peer pressure are startling and unfortunately the number of adolescents being coerced into doing things against their will is growing year over year as confirmed by various surveys whose results are freely available all over the web for any rational person to analyze and fathom the severity of the situation.
In conclusion, it is my fervent hope that teachers and parents become aware of the situation and advise the students about the ill effects of peer pressure. I would like to see parents and teachers take a more active part in the students’ lives and reward them for good behavior. I believe that the influence of parents and teachers on adolescents would be far more positive as compared to the influence of peers due to the experience and wisdom that parents and teachers bring to the table.