Peer pressure certainly affects teenage thinking and actions, especially among girls. In 2010, Varsity.com found that other teen girls are the biggest influence on decision-making for other teens, signaling that many girls consider themselves to be leaders and trendsetters. However, teen girls aren’t immune to being influenced by factors outside their social circles. Examining some of the other objects that influence teen girls can help parents decide how to limit or direct their exposure to those influences.
Media portrayals almost certainly affect a teenager’s self-image. According to GreatSchools.org, portrayals of women as sexy or beautiful in movies, on TV, or on other media platforms can influence teen girls. Media depictions of dating and sex can have a lasting effect on a teen’s understanding of relationship norms, including sexual responsibility. Degrading images of women can negatively influence the way a girl views herself and her body. Parents can offset this influence by discussing their own values and the potential outcomes of irresponsible sexual activity.
In addition to constantly streaming media, teen girls often easily access technology-related gadgets such as cell phones, laptops and other personal electronic devices, according to an article at USAToday.com. Tech devices encourage a certain level of informality along with increased peer interaction, which can weaken self-identity and privacy for some teenagers. Increased informality can also weaken a teen’s relationship with adults in the community who are not accustomed to teens multi-tasking or responding to elders casually. Listening to an MP3 player while at work might not make a positive impression on an employer, for example.
Because teen girls are young and experienced consumers, clothing companies can appeal to their physical vulnerabilities to influence purchases, according to the Undergraduate Research Journal for the Human Sciences. Girls might be influenced to wear more provocative clothing in order to fit in with peers or attract attention from potential romantic partners, according to Brigham Young University Forever Families. This has the potential to connect the concept of sexiness to physical appearance, instead of embracing sexiness as linked to personality, too.
Brand names have a strong influence on teenage girls, according to Varsity.com. Teen girls have more brand loyalty compared to teen boys, and are more likely to share their brand preferences with friends. Among teenage girls, 73 percent are likely to recommend a preferred brand to a friend and 69 percent are likely to purchase another brand name product from the same company. Parents who are concerned about brand-label obsessions can discuss the marketing and quality differences between brand name and generic items to help teens make more informed decisions about when a brand-name splurge is worthwhile.
- Varsity.com: Who Are the Biggest Influencers Among Teen Girls? Teen Girls!
- University of Washington: Media's Effect on Body Image
- Great Schools.org: Sexual Behavior: What Teens Learn From Media
- USA Today.com: Tech Creates a Bubble for Kids
- Undergraduate Research Journal for the Human Sciences: The Influence of Media Marketing on Adolescent Girls
- Brigham Young University: Media and Clothing Market Influence on Adolescent Girls: Warnings for Parents
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