Peer pressure is real and there is nothing worse than a room full of teenagers with one or more bullies leading the way. I have written before about being bullied as a student at Elkview Jr. High School (now Elkview Middle) and the lasting effects this has had on my mental stability. Coupled with the tragic event from my childhood, navigating my way through mob mentality in Jr. High School was similar to the classic 1980s game called Frogger.
So, what is Mob Mentality?
A Mob mentality is when people’s thinking is mainly influenced by what their peers think, rather than thinking rationally for themselves. In today’s internet-driven society, the Mob Mentality – sometimes referred to as the Herd Mentality – moves at the speed of terabits across the digital ecosphere. And as information becomes even more readily available, it is becoming extremely easy to fall prey to the half-truths and outright lies seen in social media across the globe.
5. There Could be Libility Concerns and Dire Consequences
Take for example the January 6th, 2021 riots at the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC. Even after more than one year, hearings and potential criminal indictments are still occurring. I do not know personally anyone who took part in the riots. In my opinion, many of the rioters may be good people who were simply drawn into the mob. And now those seemingly good people are facing some serious consequences.
4. You Do Not Want to Be “That Guy” and Start a Mob
Imagine you are standing in line (pre-pandemic) at McDonald’s going through in your head all the possible menu choices. You make your decision and it is now your turn to place your order. Walking up to the counter, you open your mouth to speak, and nothing happens. This is a very frustrating feeling because you know that you want a cheeseburger with fries, and diet coke, however, you cannot enunciate the “ch” sound. This blocking stutter happens to me even today; especially when I am trying to speak to someone with whom I do not have a personal relationship. And no amount of “relaxation techniques” work to prevent this blockage.
As a teenager in the late 1980s, with almost no emphasis placed on stopping the bully, I suffered in silence. In the blog where I mentioned earlier (Finding A Way to Overcome A Fear of Rejection, Art By OBXJack), I wrote about the struggles I had as a teenager at Elkview Jr. High School in the late 1980s. It only took one of my bullies to interject for the herd mentality to take over.
As an example, and on numerous occasions, the speech impediment I mentioned above resulted in a piling-on effect. It would only take one classmate to pick up on the blocking and then the entire trumpet section would start the ridicules. Looking back now, I know this was a mob mentality as many who joined in likely did so as a way of fitting in. Unfortunately, I was singled out and suffered as a result. So don’t be that guy/girl who starts the mob as the effects are lasting.
3. You May Just Find Yourself on the Evening News
How many times in the past few years, especially since the 2016 Presidental Election, have you seen or read about a peaceful protest turning into a riot? And sadly, oftentimes these riots ended with the loss of life. The evidence was very clear here that a mob mentality was in play as many times when asked by a reporter to enumerate what they were protesting, the protestor could not accurately describe the purpose. Jumping on the bandwagon, so to speak, may just land you on the 6 pm news.
2. Just Because “Everyone is Doing It” Does Not Mean It Is A Good Cause
I bet that at least one time in your childhood you heard the following from your mother: “If Johnny jumps off a bridge, would you follow him?” As a teenager, I struggled to fit in. I got in with a bad crowd of classmates and found myself suffering the consequences of having to attend detention and of course even more ridicule from my bullies. My involvement with this bad crowd was a classic example of conformity and a desire to be accepted; or at the very least to be recognized. So just because everyone else is doing it does not mean that you should.
1. Your Character May Forever Be Changed
When mobs form, they influence a person’s identity in a powerful way. Whether you are joining in with the bully in school or your workplace or running down to the Capitol Building, your character may forever be judged by that one single act.
The great Martin Luther King Jr famously said “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” Your character, or your mental and moral qualities, is distinctive to you as an individual. Do you want to be remembered as “That Guy” who bullied his classmates? Do you want to be remembered for being part of the problem and piling on? Or do you want to be remembered as the one who stood up to the bully and the mob and said “No more!”?
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