Type: Review
Pages: 4 | Words: 1065
Reading Time: 5 Minutes

“The influence of friends on teenage offending: How long does it last?” is an article written by David J. Smith and Russell Ecob published in the tenth volume of the European Journal of Criminology. The article talks about the long-term and short-term effects of influence of friends or peer pressure on teenage delinquency. It discusses how influence of friends or peer pressure may lead to increased involvement of teenagers in criminal activities. Arguments in the article are derived from previous research studies that were conducted to determine the importance of influence of friends and peer pressure on juvenile delinquency and teenage and youth offending. The article also presents an overview of a research study that was conducted amongst four thousand three hundred teenagers in Edinburgh, Scotland.

According to the article, influence of friends and peer pressure on teenage offending is and the most rampant between the age of thirteen years and seventeen years; the stage at which most teenagers are experiencing adolescence, hence have close connections and strong relationships with their peers and friends. The article further elaborates that influence of friends or peer pressure deploys two types of mechanisms in order to manipulate the behaviors of teenagers. These mechanisms include peer group activities and pressure model and a social learning model. The social learning model is closely related to the socialization theory as hypothesized by Wentworth (2008). According to the article, the influence of friends on teenage offending grows steadily between ten and fifteen years after which it gradually slows without diminishing up to eighteen years. Between eighteen and twenty one years, the impact of peer pressure or influence of friends on teenage and youth offending decreases due to loose ties and distant relationships between the youths.

In addition, the article reviews other factors such as situational conditions like high levels of poverty and finding pleasure in offending that may lead to increased participation of teenagers and youths in illegal activities. The article concludes by asserting that even though influence from friends may increase the frequency of involvement of teenagers in criminal activities, the impact may not last long. The impact of peer pressure on teenage offending is short-lived or transitory.

Main Points of the Authors

The main point of the authors is the effect of influence of friends or peer pressure on teenage and youth offending. Smith and Ecob (2013) point out that influence of friends has short-lived effects on the rate at which teenagers and youth commit crimes. According to the authors, the effects of influence of friends on teenage offending do not last long.

Smith and Ecob (2013) further illustrate that although the influence from friends may not have lasting effects on teenage offending, peer pressure usually affects the frequency of teenager involvement in criminal activities. For example, teenagers are more likely to commit crimes while in the company of their friends than when alone. Similarly, most teenagers are often introduced to criminal activities such as drug trafficking by their friends and peers.

Intended Audiences

The intended audience of the authors is criminologists who study the behaviors of criminals, law enforcement officers who deal with criminal cases and sociologists who study the behaviors of people in the society. In addition, parents are also an intended audience because the article can help them understand the behaviors of their children.

Issues Addressed in the Article

The main issue addressed by the article is the effect of influence of friends and peer pressure on teenage offending. Other issues addressed by the article include the impact of parental supervision and relationships between parents and children on teenage offending, effect of leisure activities on teenage offending and the impact of prior offending and contact with police on rate of committing subsequent crimes. The article reveals that teenagers who experience strict parental supervision and have poor relationships or conflicts with their parents are more likely to be involved in criminal activities than teenagers who have less strict parental supervision and healthy relationships with their families. Reid (2006) also asserts that teenagers and youths who have conflicts with parents are likely to run away from home, thus making them more prone to criminal activities and antisocial behaviors such as robbery, shop lifting and drug trafficking. Smith and Ecob (2013) also argue that teenagers with excess leisure time are more likely to commit crimes by engaging in risky spare-time activities. In my view, teenagers who have excess leisure time are likely to get involved in criminal activities due to increased idleness.

According to the authors, prior exposure of teenagers to criminal offences and prior contacts with police officers also increase chances of involvement in criminal activities. For example, teenagers who have been picked up by police officers from their paternal homes and taken to police stations often recommit offences.

Last but not least, the article addresses the issue of personality on teenage offending. According to Smith and Ecob (2013), teenagers with impulsive and repulsive personalities are more likely to commit criminal offences than teenagers with non-repulsive personalities. Moreover, teenagers with high risk-taking personalities usually commit crimes more often than teenagers with less risk-taking personalities.

Application of Information in the Article to the Course

For my part, information in the article applies to this course by offering highly valuable insights on various factors such as influences from friends, parenting techniques and personality differences that affect teenage offending. In relation to this course, the article also provides suitable approaches and understandings on teenage and youth offending.

Information in the Article and the Textbook

The information provided in the article concurs with information provided in the reading text. Thus, the article acts as an additional source of valuable information that can be used to supplement information in the textbook.

How the Authors could Expand on the Main Points

In my view, the authors could expand on the main points by providing more examples and further explanations. This would enable readers to fully and comprehensively understand the main issues pointed out and addressed by the article. For instance, using real life examples to explain issues addressed by the article would allow readers to easily understand and relate the issues with their personal lives, hence facilitating better and deeper understanding of the issues addressed in the article. The main points in the article could also be expanded by using illustrations and experiments. Diagrams and charts may also be used to indicate statistical data to support information provided by the article. In conclusion, the article is interesting to read and highly informative.

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