The article “Are Your Friends Making You Fat” written by Clive Thompson on behavioral or social contagion made me think of the term “peer pressure”. Being a mother of 4 year old kid, I definitely know that peer pressure can affect child’s behavior. In the article “Peer Contagion in Child and Adolescent Social and Emotional Development” Thomas J. Dishon and Jessica M. Tipsord mostly described the dark side of friendships during childhood and adolescence period but also stated that “peers can also influence each other in positive ways”.
Researchers found that nonaggressive friends can influenced aggressive friend in positive ways (Adams and Colleagues, 2005). The impressive thing about children that they actually can take care of one another. The spirit of encouragement, kindness and caring are few of the things that drive the positive peer pressure and make schools and college a safe place for them specially during adolescence period when students go through the phase of rebellion inside them. I still can recall the days in high schools where I had to go through the challenges and yet I managed to survive because of some amazing friends. The role of peers is inevitable in life, however teachers and parents must have their support to build their resources for instance the natural gift of kindness they possess.
Negative peer contagion is on other hand results in bullying, social isolation, crime, drug abuse, depression and eating disorder. In psychology, the term “Peer Contagion” is a new era of research and mostly refers to negative influence of it. Peer contagion, in general means how aggression can pass from one to another and how it undermines the youth development. The aggression and antisocial behavior in youth are not only the result of peer contagion but also the setting of school and family value and social structure.
When I started thinking about peer contagion, I was mostly thinking about my friends who still play major role in my life, and I think peer pressure is one of the social contagion that creates the building blocks of social values in life. Although it has potential negative influence on young students yet I still think it also plays a major role in developing the caring and encouraging behavior among them.
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