Hello Yusuf, where have you been? We didn’t see you at break time again as we planned.
I am so sorry; I was called into an emergency meeting of the press club. We had to meet during break time to discuss the upcoming newsletter.
Press club? Is that one of the social groups in the school?
Guys, what is a social group?
A social group is a collection of two or more people, who interact with one another.
Yes, but its more than just a collection of people interacting. A true social group comes together based on shared interest, values or background, and usually for a purpose or goal.
What about those students talking over there? Are they a social group?
A group of friends talking
No, they are friends. A social group is a collection of people who not only interact with each other, but share similar characteristics and a sense of unity.
The members of the group have something that ties them together and they often share ideas, values and beliefs.
This can be similar interest, like music, sports or communication, as in the case of my press club. It can also be cultural, religious or an employment association.
Social Groups can be either formal or informal, and last for a certain period of time. Usually they have a shared interest or idea, or a common goal or goals.
Oh, I think I understand it better now.
I have heard that there are two major types of social groups: primary and secondary.
Primary groups are groups in which individuals closely interact and cooperate over a long period of time. Examples of primary groups are families, friends, peers, neighbors, classmates and church/mosque members. Members of primary groups have strong emotional links and communicate freely and in a relaxed way.
Secondary groups are those in which individuals do not interact much. Members of secondary groups are less personal or emotional than those of primary groups. Members of secondary groups may not know each other very well. Communication within the group is usually formal. The group tends to relate to others only for particular reasons.
Oh, I didn’t know that. So, Yusuf, why did you join the press club?
I joined the press club because I wanted to meet new people and improve my writing abilities. But that's just me! There are other reasons why people join social groups.
Reasons people join Social Groups: • To meet new people. • Interest in the group’s activities or goals. • To learn new information or skills. • Need to belong. • Desire to share opinions and views.
But being part of a group is not easy either. You have to be willing to sacrifice your time, energy and resources for the sake of the group you belong to.
That’s right Yusuf! And my father told me that not all social groups have positive outcome.
Really, I thought being a part of a social group was a good thing?
Yes it can be, but sometimes it can also be negative. My father says it depends on something called social group behavior.
Social Group… what?
Social Group behavior is the way a group or members of a group act or behave. It also has to do with the expectation of the group on its members.
For example, in my press club we are all expected to dress properly every day, and especially on the days when we have to read the news during the assembly.
So that’s why you always look nice and neat every Wednesday.
Ah now we know the secret. It’s your club’s social group behavior.
Very funny guys. Anyway this does not apply to my group alone, other groups have expected group behaviors too. For example, Tunde, women and girls are expected to cover their heads in Church, right?
That is true, in many churches every woman is expected to wear a hat or tie a scarf on her head before going to church. That is their form of group behaviour.
But how is social group behavior different from peer pressure, or is it the same?
Well it is not quite the same. Peer pressure is the influence placed upon a member of the group while group behavior is the general behavior of the whole group.
Peer pressure is the influence placed by a peer group in encouraging a person to change his or her attitudes, values, or behavior to fit with the expectation of the social group, while the group behavior is the accepted behavior of the group. Some groups use peer pressure to get members to behave in the expected ways.
Peer pressure can have either positive or negative effects.
For example, in a social group with members that are really smart and like to study, there is a strong possibility that when a new member joins the group, he or she too would be influenced to study hard.
That’s right, but peer pressure can also have negative effects which can be very harmful to an individual.
Negative Peer Pressure on Young People can include • Pressure to smoke or drink alcohol • Pressure to have sex before you're ready • Pressure to have many sexual partners
Wao, I wouldn't want to do those things, but it is not always easy to resist. My friends and peers can sometimes be very persuasive.
Yes I know. They can say things like “Come on it will be fun;” “It is no big deal, everybody is doing it;” or “I dare you to do it;” or call you a mommy’s baby or a chicken!
Those things are not very nice to say. However there are techniques we can use to overcome negative peer pressure. Go to the section on tips to learn how.
It is okay and natural for us to make friends, to interact with peers and join social groups. But we have to be careful that we don’t let our peers or groups make our decisions for us, or convince us to do things we are not comfortable with.
Thanks for the advice, Yusuf, we will stay strong and make our own decisions. Bye!!!
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