10. Challenges for policy and practice

10.8. Peers as a resource and a risk

What this is about

Young people generally feel happy with among those of their own age (or ‘peers’), enjoy exchange and acknowledgement, and gain important experience in dealing with others. It becomes problematic if friends lead them astray to high-risk behaviour, if there is peer pressure to smoke or drink alcohol, or if mobbing occurs. Problems such as this must be examined and handled sensitively in young people’s social environment, for example via child and youth welfare. The associated institutions must form networks and work together to develop a sense of where there are issues. They should offer low-threshold assistance – without diminishing the importance of a circle of friends.