The effects of peer pressure on young people

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

As the back to school season arrives, students moving up to secondary school or college face a number of challenges that can lead to dangerous behavior.

With an increasing ‘importance’ placed on conforming to societal norms, many young people can feel targeted or unaccepted should they stray from the stereotype. Furthermore, with the visibility and 24-hour channel of communication offered by social media, young people are in contact more than ever; those young people who do somewhat differ are more exposed than ever before.

There’s the age old challenge of struggling to fit in with a new crowd and, additionally, the sporting activities encouraged on young people can bring with them a culture of boisterous behavior through which outperforming each other is the key to popularity.

All of the above, and many other difficulties associated with school or college, tend to drive students towards coping mechanisms that can pose significant danger. With Drinkaware research suggesting that the average age a person first tries alcohol is 13, educators, parents, older friends and retailers should be alert to the fact young people may aim to buy and consume alcohol to ease their problems.

By having an understanding of peer pressure and its developments, particularly at the start of the school year, retailers across the country can be pivotal in preventing underage sales. It is common place for young people to use fake IDs in an attempt to purchase alcohol, and so, retailers need to be aware of what is an acceptable form of identification that can be used and keep an eye out on the latest fake IDs in circulation.

Student ID, national insurance cards and bank cards are not acceptable forms of identification. Staff must make sure they only accept ID that contains the customer’s photograph, date of birth and a holographic mark, such as a photo-card driving license, passport or PASS accredited proof of age card.

Furthermore, proxy purchasing, in which a third party may be used to purchase the alcohol on their behalf is becoming more common. As such, retailers should only sell alcohol if they are fully confident a customer is buying for themselves.

It is extremely important that retailers have an understanding of the law surrounding age verification principles so the supply of alcohol to anyone under the age of 18 does not take place.

Find out more about the rules on under age sales of alcohol here.