Online Peer Pressure

Earlier this year, Mitch Prinstein, the chief science officer at the American Psychological Association spoke to the Senate Judiciary Committee about the effects that social media and technology are having on our kids. His particular focus was on the decline in mental health. One of the made points made by Prinstein during his testimony is one that I’d like to pass on to you today. Prinstein wants us all to know that for our kids, getting “likes” on social media can make bad behavior look good. He relayed that when teens view illegal or dangerous behaviors on social media alongside icons suggesting the negative content had been “liked’ by others, the part of the brain that keeps us safe stopped working. In other words, seeing the likes reduces a viewer’s inhibition toward dangerous and illegal behavior. Parents, be aware of the powerful role that online peer pressure plays. Prepare your teens by teaching right from wrong, and helping them to see the powerful pull of peer pressure.