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Posted On: 3rd Aug 2016

Peer Pressure on Social Media

Sarah (L) and Emma are warning young people about social media challenges
Social media challenges like Neknominate encourage young people to drink large quantities of alcohol.
Clinical psychologist Yvonne Waft wants teens to say no to peer pressure.

'Peer pressure used to be in high school - now it’s online and it’s really getting out of hand. You see an online challenge or dare almost every day. They’re definitely getting more serious and more stupid. We want to say that it’s ok to say no.'


Sarah Baker and Emma Roberts are campaigning with Fixers to warn young people about social media challenges, which can encourage participants to risk injury or even death.


Social media crazes like Neknominate – where you nominate a friend to drink a large amount of alcohol – have claimed five lives in the UK.


And others, like the salt and ice challenge, have left many with permanent scarring from burns.


Their story was broadcast on ITV News Calendar on Thursday August 4.


Emma, from Wakefield, Yorkshire, tells ITV about the online challenge phenomenon.


The 16-year-old says: ‘Someone will nominate you, and then you have to do the challenge and post the video to get likes and comments.


‘I did a challenge called the salt and ice challenge where you burn a part of your skin and it left me with a scar for a couple of months. But there are worse challenges with worse consequences.’


With Fixers Sarah, 18, and Emma have created a short film showing some of the risks associated with challenges which they have been circulating on social media with the hashtag #dontjudgechallenge.





Clinical psychologist Yvonne Waft explains why teenagers are vulnerable to pressure to take part in risky activities.


She says: ‘The need for teenagers to feel appreciated and approved of by their peers is massive, because of the developmental stage that they’re at - but at the same time their brain hasn’t fully developed its capacity to assess risk fully.


‘Years ago people would do all sorts of silly things to impress their mates, but I think with the onset of the internet they’ve got a global audience and then that has set a precedent: someone’s done that, someone else sees it  and wants to copy it.


‘I hope this campaign makes young people realise that it’s okay to say no to peer pressure.’




Author: Erica Witherington


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