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Topic – Fact Sheet: Peer Pressure

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Fact Sheet: Peer Pressure

Definitions

Peers are people who are about the same age as you. Peer pressure is when one or more friends or people your own age make you feel pressured to do something. You feel as though you have to do that thing because one or more of your peers are doing it, or are trying to convince you to do it.

Positive peer pressure

Positive peer pressure is when you feel pressured to do something good. You might do something that is good for you, good for others, or good for the environment.

Negative peer pressure

Negative, or bad peer pressure is when you feel pressured to do something you shouldn’t do. For example, it might be something that goes against rules, is dangerous, or is bad for your health. It might also be something that goes against your values, or what you believe is good or right.

Why peer pressure often works

1) If a friend tries to pressure you to do something, you might feel you should do it to please your friend. You might even feel that the person will not be your friend if you do not do it.

2) People often want to fit in with their peers and not feel as though they stand out because they are different in some way. Sometimes people are afraid others will make fun of them if they do not do what everyone else is doing.

Making decisions when you feel peer pressure

Here are some questions to ask yourself when you feel peer pressure to do something:

  Could I get into trouble for doing this?

  Might doing this hurt myself or another person, or hurt someone’s feelings?

  Does this go against my values?

  Will I feel ashamed if my family, teachers, or others find out about it?

If you answer “yes” to any of these questions, you are feeling negative peer pressure. Say, “I do not want to do that” and be firm. If people keep pressuring you, say, “I made up my mind. I do not want to talk about it anymore.” Then walk away and feel proud that you made a good decision.


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