Analyzing high school mob mentality

Students should pay attention to friend group


Students in high school often follow the influence of others, which can create toxic scenarios that can lead to bullying without even realizing it. If everyone else is doing it, students feel that it is OK.

In high school, students want nothing more than to fit in, but how far is too far? A mob mentality is when people conform to a group, which is infrequently a conscious decision. Without realization, many people are substantially influenced by others. Whether it’s the shows one watches, the music one listens to or the places one visits, people rely on others to make decisions for them. Of course, small decisions such as these do not have detrimental effects on people; the issue with the mob mentality is when it affects an individual’s moral philosophies and moral choices. Examples of the mob mentalies lie throughout history, from Germans falling into the Nazi Party during World War II, to the Jonestown Massacre of 1978, to the U.S. Capitol  storming in 2021, people have become subjected to committing horrific actions due to the cult like groups.
Performing indecent actions is never justifiable, but these actions can be explained by the mob mentality. The phrase, “you are who you surround yourself with,” is a cliche for a good reason. The people students surround themselves with have an effect on their current actions and future aspirations. 

In the 1950s, an experiment was conducted on the effect others have on one’s opinion. One participant was put in a group that consisted of “decoy” people who were told to choose the wrong answer from the start. The goal for the participant was to figure out which two lines out of three were the same length. The answer was very obvious, but because the group all chose the wrong answer, they convinced the participants involved in the experiment to choose the wrong answer as well. This was done a series of times, and one third of the participants chose the wrong answer. This famous study allows for a better understanding of how easily people can be influenced by the group, and still holds true to today. 

High school students often fall into cliques and spread one subjective mindset throughout the group. Students often favor the opinions of their friends and trust them to help them make the correct decisions. Oftentimes, though, their friends may encourage them to make harmful decisions for their own entertainment. Of course, normally an individual may be cautious of making such bold decisions, but with their friends there to back them up, it becomes much easier to take action. In the long run, the individual is the one responsible for the action and has to suffer the consequences. 

Individuals should work on looking for warning signs within their friend groups before following their opinions blindly. If one is constantly getting into trouble or making unlawful decisions, they should look into who they surround themselves with. It is important for friends to look out for one another and have their other friend’s best interests in mind. Although hard to detect, the mob mentality is present all throughout everyday life.