Practice Peer “Encouragement,” Not Peer “Pressure”


Alayna Robertson, Staff Writer

Nike is not the only one to take a “Just Do It” attitude–so do peers.

Peer pressure is the influence of peers or members of social groups with similar interests, social statuses, or experiences. It has impacted teenagers of past generations, and it is affecting teenagers now–but, in what ways? 

According to the National Cancer Institute teen smoking peaked around 1996 and has been decreasing since. But, in 2020, it was recorded that 1 in 5 high school students use e-cigarettes. A big reason for this is because peer pressure is still prevalent today. 

Just like any other teen, sophomore Bryan Contreras has felt peer pressured. Contreras admits that peer pressure is a tough situation to deal with, especially when the ones pressuring are friends. “When you see your friends smoke or try new things, you’re going to want to also try it, even if it’s dangerous,” confesses Contreras. Although he’s had a hard time battling peer pressure, Contreras never gave into the trap. “I just know that drinking and smoking won’t do anything to help me,” he claims. “It is not worth it in the long run.” 

Though usually seen as negative, there are, in fact, positive forms of peer pressure, as well. Teens could be “pressured” by their friends to join a new club or try out for a sports team. Sophomore Briza Espindola, for example, has branched out and become more outgoing because of her friends. “I feel like it’s more like peer encouragement rather than peer pressure,” exclaims Espindola. “My friends encourage me to talk to more people, and that has led to new friendships.” Because of the positivity that her friends have shown, Espindola tries to return the favor. “It’s so easy to be nice and not force others to do dangerous stuff that they obviously don’t want to,” expresses Espindola. 

Being a teenager is a struggle sometimes, but these years can be fun if surrounded with helpful people. Instead of using peer pressure, practice peer encouragement to make these crucial years worthwhile!