In recent years, cases of juvenile crimes have risen with various factors leading to the issue. One of the major factors that have been identified is peer pressure. Peer pressure is the influence induced by a minor on another, leading to behavioral change. Peer pressure does not entirely lead to negative behavior, such as juvenile delinquency. Peer pressure may influence academics, sports, and community engagement positively. Peer pressure has, however, been associated with delinquent behavior such as theft, vandalism, rape, fighting, and bullying (McGloin & Thomas, 2019). Peer pressure may be in the form of ridicule, bullying, or discrimination. Since no one is above the law, minors tend to be arrested and placed in juvenile correctional facilities. Parents, teachers, and the community must utilize prevention and intervention strategies to prevent negative peer pressure from leading to juvenile crime. Negative peer pressure leads to juvenile delinquency.
Purpose of the study
This paper discusses the factors leading to negative peer pressure. Negative peer pressure leads to juvenile delinquency. The paper discusses the consequences of negative peer pressure on juvenile delinquency. The study will also discuss the prevention and intervention strategies to solve the effects of peer pressure on juvenile delinquency.
The objective of the Study
a) What factors influence peer pressure?
b) What are the effects of peer pressure on juvenile delinquency?
c) What measures prevent negative peer pressure and juvenile delinquency?
Statement of the Problem
Juvenile delinquency has increased with peer pressure as a leading cause. School minors and dropouts are endangered from joining criminal groups to feel superior. Peer pressure may lead to crimes while minors try to prove their worth. The community must devise methods to prevent juvenile crimes arising from peer pressure. In the future, if the same trend continues, there is a risk of terror groups rising and being led by minors leading to the loss of a generation.
Factors Influencing Juveniles’ Susceptibility to Peer Pressure
Adolescents’ receptivity to peer pressure can be affected by various circumstances. Age, gender, personality, and family dynamics are a few of these variables (McGloin & Thomas, 2019). Early adolescence (ages 11 to 14) is when adolescents are more susceptible to peer influence than later adolescence (ages 15-18). Early adolescents are particularly prone to peer pressure since they are still forging their sense of identity.
Teenagers are more exposed to the world than their younger ones. On joining high schools, minors tend to be urged to experiment with what they take in on social media and other digital media platforms. At this age, puberty affects minors, and they feel inferior to others if they do not engage in various activities. For instance, minors who do not take drugs are perceived as less exposed. These juveniles tend to prove others wrong by indulging in drug and substance use which progresses to crime as they search for funds for drug purchases.
The likelihood that teenagers will succumb to peer pressure is similarly influenced by gender (Leban & Gibson, 2020). Boys are more prone to engage in criminal activity than girls and are more likely to be influenced by their friends. In 2020, males arrests for violent crime were 80% and females 20% (U.S Department of Justice, 2022). Boys are more inclined than girls to appreciate their classmates’ opinions and seek out their praise. Conversely, girls are more prone to appreciate and seek their parents’ approval in their relationships. This may be attributed to the relationship between children and their parents. Boys interact poorly with their parents and are less likely to open up to them than girls. The boy child has been discriminated against and may engage in criminal activities while seeking acceptance among his peers. Additionally, teenage boys may want to please their female counterparts by engaging in activities such as bullying and theft.
Another element affecting adolescents’ susceptibility to peer pressure is their personalities. Teenagers who lack confidence and a strong sense of self and are shy, apprehensive, or have low self-esteem are more susceptible to peer pressure (McGloin & Thomas, 2019). This is due to the increased propensity of these teenagers to look to their peers for validation and approval. This factor may result from their physical ability, family background, or race. Black juveniles have the highest prevalence of juvenile crimes. People with certain disabilities may also be influenced by peer pressure to commit crimes as they seek acceptance.
Discrimination of certain groups leads to peer pressure. Peers from poor backgrounds are also more prevalent in criminal activities such as theft and drug abuse (Leban & Gibson, 2020). Minors from poor backgrounds feel inferior to those from well-up backgrounds and are in the process of seeking recognition. Islamic peers also have a higher prevalence of juvenile crimes. This may be attributed to their beliefs and previous criminal history.
Finally, family dynamics can also influence adolescents’ susceptibility to peer pressure. Adolescents with strong, positive relationships with their parents are less likely to be influenced by their peers than those with weak or negative relationships with their parents (McGloin & Thomas, 2019). This is because adolescents with strong, positive relationships with their parents are more likely to value their parents’ opinions and seek their approval. Families with both parents are less likely to have their minors engage in juvenile delinquency than families with single parenthood or other forms of parenthood. Families need to engage their minors on the challenges they expect to face in school.
Consequences of Negative Peer Pressure
For young people, negative peer pressure can have devastating repercussions. Teenagers who exhibit delinquent behaviors are more likely to suffer unfavorable consequences, such as academic failure, substance misuse, and engagement with the criminal justice system. Negative peer pressure’s effects can last well into adulthood, with juvenile offenders more likely to commit crimes as adults (Apel, 2022). Decisions that young people make may lead to lifetime effects. For instance, in the cases of murder, it would be expected that the minor would be sentenced to life imprisonment.
Juvenile crimes have both physical and mental health effects on minors. Due to their experiences in the juvenile system, they may develop conditions such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, or even physical injuries from their mates (Apel, 2022). Juvenile crimes increase the cost to society as they need to undergo trial, probation, and jail. There is also a loss of productivity in society when there are juvenile crimes. The relationship between law enforcers and the youth is strained as each party lacks trust. The effects of juvenile delinquency are harsh, and peer pressure, a leading cause, must be addressed.
Prevention and Intervention Strategies
In 2020, there were about 424,300 juvenile arrests, a reduction of 71% from those recorded in 2011 (National Center for Juvenile Justice, 2020). Sexual assault (except rape and prostitution) and the violent crime index recorded zero arrests. Crimes such as drug abuse, property crime index, curfew, weapons, and disorderliness recorded the highest number of arrests (National Center for Juvenile Justice, 2020). These statistics show that juvenile delinquency can be mitigated with the correct measures. It is the role of the government, parents, teachers, and the juveniles themselves to ensure they are out of crimes due to peer pressure.
Education about the dangers of delinquent behavior and encouraging healthy peer relationships are two prevention techniques (McGloin & Thomas, 2019). Some of the minors engage in criminal behaviors out of lack of knowledge. This information can be delivered in schools and also by families at home. Together with individual and group therapy, therapies may be family-based and involve parent education or family therapy. Families need to be educated on their role in causing juvenile crimes and how to advise their minors. Mentoring programs are a powerful preventative measure. Youth at risk are matched with supportive, positive role models through mentoring programs. These initiatives have been proven to be successful in lowering delinquent behavior and enhancing academic results.
Community-based programs are another powerful preventive measure (McGloin & Thomas, 2019). In order to address the root causes of delinquent conduct, these programs bring together law enforcement, the community, and other stakeholders. After-school activities, youth centers, and community service initiatives are a few examples of these programs. The church and other religious facilities may guide youth to address their issues without engaging in crime. However, it is up to the juveniles to decide the route they are willing to take, even after these measures have been implemented.
A substantial risk factor for juvenile criminality is peer pressure. Teenagers are vulnerable to negative peer pressure and run the danger of various undesirable outcomes, such as failing their classes, abusing drugs, and getting into trouble with the law. Strategies for prevention and intervention can lessen the harm that peer pressure causes in young people. Effective methods for reducing delinquent conduct and fostering positive outcomes for young people include mentoring programs, community-based initiatives, and family-based interventions. However, the final decision remains on these minors to choose their fate.
Apel, R. (2022). Sanctions, perceptions, and crime. Annual Review of Criminology, 5(1), 205-227. doi:10.1146/annurev-criminol-030920-112932
Leban, L., & Gibson, C. L. (2020). The role of gender in the relationship between adverse childhood experiences and delinquency and substance use in adolescence. Journal of Criminal Justice, 66, 101637. doi:10.1016/j.jcrimjus.2019.101637
McGloin, J. M., & Thomas, K. J. (2019). Peer influence and delinquency. Annual Review of Criminology, 2(1), 241-264. doi:10.1146/annurev-criminol-011518-024551
National Center for Juvenile Justice. (2020). Estimated number of juvenile arrests, 2020. Retrieved from https://www.ojjdp.gov/ojstatbb/crime/qa05101.asp
U.S Department of Justice. (2022, August). Trends in Youth Arrests for Violent Crimes. Retrieved from https://ojjdp.ojp.gov/publications/trends-in-youth-arrests.pdf