By Anonymous High School Student
What is Peer Pressure? (For Kids)
Peer pressure is when children are influenced to do something that they may not have normally done by a group of kids relatively close in age. They may convince them by continuously pressuring them or making them feel inferior if they don’t partake in the action. There are many things that your children may be influenced to do, including bullying, cheating, and stealing. While it may make them feel included temporarily, it is important to teach your kids to stand up for themselves and think before they do anything they are unsure of.
Parents and Educators, What Can You Do to Help?
While peer pressure is a relatively common thing, it is important that you stay involved in your children’s lives to help guide your children in making good decisions. Some specific things you can do to help your children cope with peer pressure includes:
- Teach your children how to say no and make their own decisions. You can do this by explaining what it means to make your own choices and by modeling how they should act if they are put in a similar situation
- Know who your children are spending time with and help guide them in establishing good influences
- Allow your children to use you as an excuse if they are having difficulty saying no
- Create code words for if your children are in an uncomfortable situation where they don’t want other people to know. Ensure it is a word that is relatively easy to use in a conversation but that you will recognize if you hear it
- Encourage communication with your children and make sure they feel they can come to you if they feel pressured to do something they don’t want to do
- Help your children become confident in their decisions and develop good self-esteem
What is Cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying is bullying that occurs over digital devices. According to a survey conducted by the Cyberbullying Research Center in 2019, nearly 37% of the students surveyed were victims to this hurtful act. Cyberbullying is when someone purposely and repeatedly attempts to diminish someone’s emotional well-being through the use of technology. This can include constantly sharing, sending or posting negative or embarrassing information about someone. It can take place on a variety of online platforms including Instagram, TikTok, Messages, and Email.
Parents and Educators, What Can You Do To Help?
Cyberbullying is often difficult to recognize by others but it can have an extremely negative impact on the victim. Since it occurs over technology, it may not be heard or seen by anyone unless the victim directly tells someone. There are many things that parents and educators can do to help their children if they are ever put in this position.
- Establish trust with your children and make sure they are comfortable coming to you with any problems. Creating positive communication with your children is important to create a safe space for them.
- Monitor your children’s use of technology whenever possible. Recognizing where cyberbullying could possibly occur for your child and who your children engage with online is important in keeping them safe. Digital monitoring apps may also be helpful in establishing parental control software.
- Educate your children on cyberbullying and what they should do if they ever experience it. Let them know what they should do and who they should tell so they can put a stop to the behavior.
- Pay attention to your children’s lives and notice any changes in their mood or behavior that may be caused by cyberbullying.
- Create rules for your child’s technology usage and help them understand why these rules are in place.
Cyberbullying and Peer Pressure have become an increasing issue in our digital world and it is always important to stay active in the lives of your children to help them stay safe online. In addition to the above guidance, make sure your children know what is okay and not okay to post or say to other people so that they are not negatively impacting the lives of other children. Your guidance as a parent or educator is critical in the development of your children and their behavior.
Discussion Questions To Talk About With Your Kids
- How should you respond if someone asks you to do something that could be dangerous or hurtful (i.e. cheating, stealing, bullying)?
- What is our code word so that I know if you feel like you are in a potentially harmful situation?
- What should you do if you or someone you know is being bullied online?
- Who are some people you can talk to if you are having a difficult time handling something?
- Why is it important to create friendships with people that encourage you to be your best self?
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