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Does peer pressure lead to more teen crime?

On Behalf of | May 31, 2023 | Criminal Defense

There are many potential factors that can lead to teen crime. Parents are often very surprised to find out that their teenager has been arrested. They can’t imagine what would’ve caused them to break the law or to otherwise find themselves in a situation where they’re facing such accusations.

What often happens is that teenagers are influenced by peer pressure. The perceptions of their peers are often incredibly important to them because of their inherent desire to fit in with their social group. They’re trying to figure out their place in the world, and being part of that group feels more important than it actually is. Teens also may struggle to consider the ramifications of their actions.

Shoplifting and petty theft

One common concern related to peer pressure is shoplifting. Teenagers may not have the money to buy a product, but a group of them will be in the store together. They will all pressure one person to steal a certain item. This person may fear that they’ll be kicked out of the group if they don’t do it, or they may see it as a chance to “prove themselves” to the people that they’re with. They never would’ve shoplifted on their own, but they will do it when they’re part of a group.

You can apply the same logic to many other activities. For instance, an underage college student may drink alcohol at a social gathering on campus. Or a teenager who wants to join a specific group may even agree to commit a violent crime as a type of initiation.

Another thing for parents to remember is that peer pressure happens on social media and in real life. Many teens are constantly being bombarded with messages from their social media profiles. This can make pressure feel even worse than it was for previous generations because they simply do not get a break. Even a child who resists this pressure for a time may eventually give in.

What comes next?

Are you a parent whose teen was recently arrested? You’re likely quite worried about their future. That is very understandable, and it’s critical for you and your child to explore all of the legal defense options that you have available to your family. Seeking legal guidance is usually a good place to start.