The Effects Of Peer Influence On Teens In The Digital Era

The Effects Of Peer Influence On Teens In The Digital Era

Since the dawn of time, teens have looked to their peers for guidance, both in person and through social media. While the effects of peer influence have been studied by many researchers, one of the most comprehensive studies on this topic was conducted by the University of Melbourne in 2016, entitled The Effects Of Peer Influence On Teens In The Digital Era. The results are detailed below.

1) Problems Teens Can Face

When teens feel isolated or left out, they may be more vulnerable to feeling anxious or depressed. Not only does social media provide a wide range of ways for teens to interact with friends, but it also provides a unique opportunity for them to live vicariously through these interactions. Their social lives might not be as active as they want, and that can leave them feeling frustrated. This frustration could lead to increased aggression and even delinquent behavior in some cases. Social media posts from peers can also make teens feel negative about themselves when they compare their own lives to what's being posted by their friends. It's important for teens who are struggling with social issues related to their peers' online content to seek help early so that their problems don't become worse and harder to solve later on.

2) Effects Of Peer Influence

While peer influence among teens may have its benefits, a strong desire to conform can also put them at risk for succumbing to their peers’ pressure. Peer influence has been shown to be a factor in harmful behaviors such as drinking and drug use, but it can also lead young people to make poor choices about sex and dating—such as having unprotected sex or becoming sexually active at an early age. For many teens, peer influence is simply a part of growing up; after all, they’re likely surrounded by other teens every day. However, keeping them well-informed about risky behaviors and making sure they understand that there are consequences for certain decisions can help mitigate these pressures.

3) How Are We Affected By Peers?

A recent study found that high school students who were friends with peers on Facebook or Instagram were more likely to smoke and drink than teens with fewer online friendships. Among girls, having a higher number of online friends affected their smoking habits; for boys, it was Instagram usage. Researchers said that teens may feel pressured to adopt more adult behavior by friends they know via social media. Additionally, seeing alcohol consumption in photos on social media has been shown to increase drinking among young people, according to one study. However, parents can play an important role by educating their children about peer pressure and letting them know they will always be there for support.

4) What Are The Negatives?

It's easy to think of peer influence as a positive thing. We all want our kids to have good friends, right? Yet studies also show that teens who spend a lot of time on social media can struggle with issues like depression and low self-esteem. When your teen spends a lot of time interacting with peers online, it may have a negative effect on their mental health. That's not to say that kids shouldn't use digital tools—just that they should be careful how much they use them. How much is too much? That depends on your child and their personal situation. 

But for parents, there are some telltale signs to look out for changes in sleep patterns; less interest in hanging out with family; more time spent alone; missing appointments, or refusing help from others (this could mean becoming isolated). If you notice any of these issues, you might want to ask your teen what's going on—and make sure they know they can always talk to you about anything. One way to start talking about these issues is by making sure you know what your child does online and helping them understand how different platforms work (for example, Instagram is better at connecting people than Facebook). Whether we like it or not, social media has become an important part of many people’s lives. And one way we can address its effects on us is by having an open dialogue with those around us.

5) How To Deal With It

If you find that your child is being negatively influenced by peers, first off, let them know you care. Talk to them about what’s going on and be honest. Keep communication open so they feel comfortable asking questions or sharing their thoughts. It’s important for teens to feel like they can tell you what’s going on in their lives so take every opportunity to have real conversations with them. Ask questions and listen carefully to their answers. If things aren’t improving, consider a professional opinion from a counselor or psychologist who has experience dealing with peer pressure and negative influences in teens' lives.


As cyberbullying becomes an increasingly prominent problem, it is important for educators and parents to know how to help teens cope with these stressful situations. One of these options is allowing your teen to express their emotions. This helps them process their experiences in a healthy way while creating a non-judgmental relationship with you. While peer pressure can have devastating effects on young people, when handled correctly, positive peer influence can lead to happiness, resilience, and strong relationships that will last well into adulthood. As research continues into social media's effects on young people, it is likely that new solutions will be found to combat cyberbullying. For now, though, allowing children to talk about their experiences may be one of your best weapons against bullies' attacks in any form.



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