Don’t let others get you into debt. In today’s South Africa, far too many young people get into financial difficulties by following what their peers are doing. Peer pressure has long been a known problem, but since the rise of social media, it is something that many more youngsters are now subjected too.
Sporting your Calvin Klein’s does no harm
Fashion is one of the peer pressures that is easy to succumb to. Wearing the right pair of trainers or showing off your Kalvin Klein underwear in the gym changing room is something that many of us are guilty of. Sometimes this pressure is relatively innocent, and providing you have enough disposable income; it does no harm.
The problem comes when you feel under pressure to take part in things or buy objects that you can’t really afford.
Don’t follow the flock
One of the biggest questionable activities that youngsters get involved with through peer pressure is gambling. Placing bets used to be something that mostly adults used to do by visiting the local High Street bookie and betting on horse racing or something similar.
But gambling has now become big business online on a global basis, and it’s not just horse-racing. Online casinos offer things like poker, baccarat and blackjack, and roulette, as well as virtual slot games. The latest trend is sports betting, and this has taken off like wildfire thank to the new apps that bring live sports betting to people’s Smartphones.
Online gambling might be socially acceptable, but it’s illegal in South Africa
The problem is that online gambling is now seen as being socially acceptable and this is where that peer pressure comes into play. Most of the online casinos and gambling websites try to promote what they term “responsible gambling.” Most of the time though, this promotion is no more than window dressing, carried out to make the site owners look as though they’re doing the right thing.
Unfortunately, the online gambling industry is rife with illegal operators. The fact of the matter is that online gambling is illegal here in South Africa. This also applies to casinos; even where they are based in other countries. Anyone taking part in these activities could face a fine of up to R10-million and/or a 10-year prison sentence.
CASA, the Casino Association of South Africa, is actively trying to inform the public how to spot these illegal sites. Nonetheless, people do bet online, and it is often peer pressure that leads them into it.
Ignore peer pressure
Remember that you are your own person. You should not bow down to peer pressure, whether it is online gambling or some other trend or fashion that can syphon your money away.
Peer pressure isn’t the only thing that affects the decisions you make regarding your personal finances. The advertising industry is also one of the worst culprits. Its staffed with professionals who know just how to catch people’s attention with the products they are promoting.
The key to not getting caught out is to make sure that the decisions you make about your spending need to align with the goals you set for yourself.
Stand by what you believe in
We all do make silly decisions every now and again. It’s all part of life’s rich tapestry. But making bad decisions that involve your finances can not only be costly, it can also land you in hot water – take online gambling as an example.
It might be the “in thing” to do as far as your immediate circle of friends is concerned, but you need to stand up and fend for yourself. A humongous fine or a lengthy prison sentence could ruin your life forever.
Don’t let yourself be swayed by others. Stand by what you believe to be right and make sure your financial decisions are taken only after careful consideration. Look before you leap!