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Peer pressure has always been an issue for adolescents. Now, why does that happen? I guess it has a lot to do with the raging hormones of growing up when one is at the phase of life when he or she wants to experience, and most of all, the feeling of wanting to be accepted by all. Accepted by all? Is it possible? Well, that is what, many adolescents believe!

Peer pressure is seen in many contexts. Of course, we have no qualms if it brings positive outcome at the end of the day. But, sad to say, many adolescents succumb to peer pressure for the wrong objectives. This is a phase of life many adolescents go through. Many, as fast as they go through the phase, come out of it, because they know that this is not meant for them because their set of principles do not permit it. But, how about those who succumb to it, and very much lost?

The stage in growing up where peer pressure is most distinct is when an adolescent starts college life. This is when he or she gets to stay in hostels or leave home to study at a different place. Many of these adolescents, just to be accepted by a certain group of friends, will splurge his last ringgit of allowance to buy the fanciest apparels and items to look hype and happening, cool dude ler katakan!! They feel that if they do not meet the mark set by not the ISO standards, but their peers, than they are not good enough to join a particular group. Then, of course we have the ones who religiously believe that drinking, smoking and doing drugs is a definite no, no in their day-to-day activity in life because they have been brought up in such an environment. But of course, now, being in a different league altogether, it is their peers who dictate the principles in their lives, and not the middle class parents who have saved their last earnings to see that their offspring gets a decent tertiary education. So, what has been perceived as wrong and even illegal all this while is seen as cool and happening now. What, many adolescents fail to realize is that, many of them have been expelled from colleges or have been caught by authorities for engaging in these activities.

Talking about hormones, when it is at the peak in the phase of growing up for adolescents, peer pressure is at its peak too. To many who have believed that sex has always been something personal, or a taboo subject to be discussed in public, they start to surf the net, the most current in thing amongst adolescents, to meet friends, or should I say partners of the opposite sex for sex. And why? Because, my other friends do it. There is nothing wrong about it. You mean to say you have not met someone in the net? Which generation are you from? Well, these are among the reasons that you get from their peers. But, of course, if it stops at the stage of expanding your circle of friends, when you surf the net, than nobody’s complaining. But, many circle of friends feel it is cool that you engage in experimental sex, or at least, pick up someone for a one night stand in your weekend rendezvous. If you do that, you’ll be regarded as a cool member of your group. It is not as if you get brownie points from the Person up there, but, just the label of a casonava for the guys and a real babe for gals is seen as sufficient to make one’s CV look impressive for God knows what!!

As we look back, why is the whole issue of peer pressure taken as a crucial phase of life? It is undoubtedly a phase many of us go through, but to make it a mandatory phase to through? Well, the decisions are very much to adolescents themselves. Nobody has a right to dictate your principle in your life. To uphold your values and principles is indeed more cool than to succumb into something that you would regret later in your life. How someone perceive you is far beyond the physical outlook. So, looking and behaving hype and happening is very much your choice. Do it your way. Don’t let other decide for you.

Kamal Saravanan Kenny
Youth Advisor
INTEYO Club, Perak

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