By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Should your kid be the popular student?
Deseret News logo

If you’re a parent, you may want to stop your kids from being popular.

If you’re a teen, you may want to stop trying to be the cool kid in your school.

Why? Well, there are a few reasons.

For one, being popular in high school can actually tremendously impact you later in life. Business Insider reported Thursday that teens who try to act older than they are during high school usually find themselves with drug and alcohol problems in the future.

"It appears that while so-called cool teens' behavior might have been linked to early popularity, over time, these teens needed more and more extreme behaviors to try to appear cool," Joseph P. Allen, professor of psychology at the University of Virginia, said in a statement. Allen was the lead author of the study that found this information.

But it’s not just about trying to act cool and being the popular student. Building relationships for simply superficial reasons can also impact you later in life, according to Business Insider

“Teens who become popular simply by hanging out with pretty people probably don't work as hard to develop meaningful relationships, according to the study,” Business Insider reported. “That behavior is carried into adulthood, to their detriment.”

On the other hand, from a financial standpoint, being a nerd can help you. High school nerds tend to make more money later in life, Slate reported in May. Males who earned between a 3.0 and 4.0 high school GPA tend to make anywhere between $40,000 and $50,000, whereas those with lesser GPAs make less than that amount, Slate reported.

“In any event, between this paper and work from Yale showing that high school popularity apparently has no influence on adult pay, the nerds appear to have social science firmly on the side of their life decisions,” Slate reported. “And the next time your snot-nosed teen refuses to do his homework, you can now show him why he should, in one graph.”

So being the popular or cool kid may not benefit people in the long run, but Tajuanna Farrow of The Detroit Free Press wrote in May that being the popular kid is not all bad.

“When you know a lot of people, you have more connections that you may not have if you are really quiet and to yourself,” Farrow wrote. “It makes things easier for you because your reputation comes before you.”

But Farrow also wrote that it might be best to focus on your future and then your reputation later on.

“Be the brighter student,” Farrow wrote. “Stay smart and don’t worry about friends and popularity. You will have plenty of time for that after graduation.”

Email: Twitter: @herbscribner
Sign up for our E-Newsletters