Skip to 0 minutes and 9 secondsINA KONING: Most likely you have overrated the amount of peers that use substances. Did you know that there are considerably less peers using alcohol and smoking cigarettes than you might think? For instance, when looking at this figure, you can see that 87% of 14-year-old children think that their peers at school drink every week. While in fact, 28% indicate to actually drink on a weekly basis. For smoking, we see that 82% of the teenagers think that others ever smoked a cigarette. While in fact, only 22% indicated to have done that. Considering the number of adolescents under 16 who have drank alcohol, we've seen in the last couple of years a huge decline.

Skip to 1 minute and 3 secondsWhen looking at this figure, we see that the number of boys and girls under 16 that drank alcohol ever in their lives declined after 2003. For example, in 2015 approximately 10% of 12-year-old girls-- that is 1 out of 10-- have ever drank alcohol. Whereas in 2003, this was nearly 70%-- so 7 out of 10 girls. Your ideas about what other people do influence your own behaviour. So if you think that your peers drink alcohol, there is a greater chance you will also start drinking. So please be aware of the fact that less peers use substances than you might think.

Less peers smoke and drink than you think!

You have just discussed your estimations about how many young people in your classroom or that you know use substances. In this video Ina Koning explains that there is a lot less drinking or smoking going on than people generally believe.

What you think about what others might be doing, determines, for a large part, also what you will or will not be doing. If you think that more young people smoke, there is a bigger chance that you will also start smoking. So, just be aware that there are actually less young people using substances than you think.

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This video is from the free online course:

Young People and Their Mental Health

University of Groningen