While some critics say that peer pressure is a positive aspect of life, this is not enough to take away from all of the negative effects that it causes. Some teens, or people in general, are more likely to give into peer pressure. This conformity could negatively impact not only themselves, but also those around them. Peer pressure is a serious problem because it can cause death. It is also a problem because it reduces individuality and can introduce youth to harmful substances such as drugs or alcohol.
Most people do not think of peer pressure as a cause of death, but it several cases it can be. An example of this is the death of 18 year old Latisha Frazier, who was beaten to death by six teens. Her beating, and death, was fueled by peer pressure because one person started the beating and pressured 5 others to join in. One of the teens who pleaded guilty to the murder testified, “I didn’t know this was going to happen, it was like a peer pressure thing”.
Peer pressure leading to death proves that individuality needs to be promoted in order to minimize conformity. One of the main problems of peer pressure is that it reduces individuality. An example of this reduced individuality is Ashley Long, who was pressured at a party to inhale helium by her group of friends. As a result of inhaling helium, Long died. The tragedy of her death shows the effects of peer pressure. Many teens feel that there is no way for them to fit in or be popular without following their friends blindly.
The third major problem with peer pressure is that it can introduce youth to harmful substances such as drugs or alcohol. Many studies have been done on teens to produce meaningful statistics on how youth are influenced by their teens to venture into drugs. Statistics on peer pressure and smoking show that 70% of teens that smoke have friends that smoke or were told to smoke by their friends. Another statistic shows that two thirds of 10th graders and two fifths or eighth graders drink alcohol because of the influence of their friends.
Peer pressure is not a concept that is foreign to Bullis; peer pressure can affect all schools and all teens. Peer pressure is also more than just drugs and alcohol, and it can lead to death. If individuality is promoted, and people feel that they have the power to be themselves, then peer pressure can move toward being reduced.