It's not all fun and games for the popular students in high school, study says.
"The cult of popularity that reigns in high school can look quaint from a safe distance, like your 20th reunion. By then the social order may have turned over like an hourglass: teenagers who were socially invisible have emerged as colorful characters, confident, transformed. Others seem preserved in time, same as ever, while some former princes and queen bees are diminished or simply absent, now invisible themselves.
Popularity, even the likable kind, can have costs. In his continuing study, Dr. Allen has found that the most socially skilled students are three times as likely to be drinking by age 14 as those outside the group. Up through age 18, they are also more likely to commit vandalism, smoke marijuana and shoplift. They are, in short, seemingly more vulnerable to peer pressure and expectations.
Some of those behaviors may just be due to increased opportunity and access: you can’t sample from the buffet if you’re not invited to the party.
But that is ultimately for the teenagers who see it unfolding every day to assess. If high school is the first time young people take on a public identity, it is also the best vantage point for seeing the blessings and risks of social charm.
Maybe that’s why some teenagers can seem at once so self-deluded about their own standing and fascinated by the doings of the in group. They know intuitively that a crucial part of a high school education happens outside the classroom, in Popularity Studies 101."
Read all here.