Head to Head: Does Peer Pressure Exist in Group Chats?

“Group chats do not cause peer pressure”

There is no peer pressure within group chats because you do not have to face the people pressuring you into doing the action. You are at home with your phone or behind a computer so you have time to contemplate the action and the consequences.

Also, you are capable of leaving the group chat whenever you feel uncomfortable or pressured. For example, if you are in a room with kids asking you to drink or smoke, it is very different than if they text you in a group chat to drink or smoke because they are not physically showing you the substances. Another example would be if someone writes something offensive or inappropriate on a group chat, you have the choice to either leave the group chat or tell the person what they are doing is wrong. There is no reason to tell a parent or administrator before you confront the kid and let him know what he is doing is wrong. By confronting him, he will realize that there is a line that he can not cross. Thus, group chats have no peer pressure because you are not physically being tempted by the group to do something irresponsible.

By: Avi Stein (12th grade)

“Peer pressure does exist in group chats”

Peer pressure is a common problem that most teens encounter while growing up. Peer pressure involves kids persuading one another to do things, often influencing them to act in ways they would not normally behave. This occurs not only in person, but also through virtual mediums, such as a group chat.

In high school, group chats are commonly created to allow students in a class to bond with one another. Typically, group chats are a forum for an entire group to talk informally about anything and everything.  So, in a typical class group chat,  the popular kids, nerds, jocks, etc. are all chatting together.  Let’s say, for example, one student said something, or wore something weird to school that day or did something stupid. Another kid might make fun of them, bully them, or laugh at them on the chat. Although it’s not happening in person, the teasing can still be felt through the screen of a phone.

What are you going to do as a member of this chat? Will you be peer-pressured into saying or doing something about the bullying?

Many people will want to take the easy way out and either hit the mute button (which will silence your chat so that you won’t be notified when someone writes something) or simply leave the chat. It’s just that easy.

But if you leave or mute the chat, you are officially becoming a bystander. You know the bullying is occurring, but you aren’t doing anything about it. This is peer pressure because the reason you aren’t speaking out, is because you’re afraid of what your classmates will say if you defend the bullied kid. You may not even leave the chat because you’re too scared of what your classmates will think of you when you distance yourself from them. That’s also why you won’t say anything. Therefore, you are pressured into staying quiet.

Many people actually feel pressured to be involved in the bullying and adding to it. They might be feeling  reason they would do this, is because they feel like if someone is saying something bad about another, they should say it as well. If everyone is saying one thing, who are you to say the opposite?

This is a scenario that is very common in group chats. There are many other ways that this can occur, but either way, don’t just stand by, stand up. If someone says or posts something in a chat, don’t be afraid to say something about it! Don’t let other people make decisions for you that go against your beliefs.

Most of the things that teens do when they are given the option, will have been because of peer pressure. They may not realize it, but they were pressured into doing whatever it was.

By: Rina Reich (11th grade)

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