I appreciate both of these articles. I feel that most people would have observations that support these ideas, but I haven’t yet read of any research that has data to support addresses the result of being popular at a young age. I agree that middle and high school students have a huge focus on social interactions and a lot of students hope to achieve popularity. I view popularity differently now from when I was a middle school student. Now, I generally dislike the behaviors and attitudes I see in typical popular students. However, I usually don’t go as far as to consider their motives for popularity or even the effects that pseudomature behavior will have in ten years. I see now that popular students may have an intense need for acceptance that directs them to seek popularity and participate in more risks. These behaviors may seem “cool’ but really damage their social development and possibly set them up for a hard reality out of high school if they continue to view popularity as success or acceptance.
I wonder, how do we teach students at this age to seek appropriate social behavior such as being a supportive, loyal friend, or to work hard and develop responsibility? This behavior isn’t as fun and dramatic, but will benefit our students more than being popular.