New research has found that when judging the level of risk in a situation, preteens would trust the opinions of their peers more than that of adults.
Published in the journal Psychological Science, the study asked 563 people aged 8 to 59 to rate the risk levels of certain everyday situations like crossing the road and approaching a red light. They found that all age groups were influenced by what other people think, which comes as no surprise since it has already been established that social influence plays a major role in the way people think.
However, young teenagers aged 12 to 14 were the least likely to change their opinions based on what other people said except if it was said by their peers, or other young teenagers.
“Young adolescents were more strongly influenced by other teenagers than by adults, suggesting that in early adolescence the opinions of other teenagers about risk matter more than the opinions of adults,” said lead author Dr. Lisa Knoll of the University College London Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience. She adds by saying that most adolescents are always more risk-taking than other age groups, and they tend to take more risks when they’re with other teens.
Should parents be worried? “If I were you I would not worry that you somehow lose control of your child," Knoll said. "A lot of studies suggest that teenagers still really trust the judgement of their parents, and they ask them for advice in major decision making.”
Sources: March 31, 2015. “Tweeners Trust Peers More Than Adults When Judging Risks”. npr.org March 28, 2015. “Teenagers Shape Each Other’s Views on Risk”. psychcentral.com March 27, 2015. “Teenage Brain Projects Risk Differently: Peers May Influence What Dangerous Situations Look Like”. medicaldaily.com