Peer effects: Does your perceptions about your peers matter more than your peers’ behavior?

It appears that not only does your friend’s behavior affect your behavior, but your perception of their behavior–independent from their actual behavior–affects your behavior. Want a concrete example of this? A paper by Amialchuk et al. (2019) finds the following:

Using a nationally representative dataset, we estimate the effect of misperception about friends’ alcohol, smoking, and marijuana use on consumption of these substances by youths in grades 7–12. Overestimation of friend’s substance use significantly increases adolescent’s own use approximately 1 year later, and the estimated effect is robust across specifications including individual‐level fixed effects regression. The effect size is bigger for boys than for girls. 

Would this indicate that parents should strictly patrol who their children are friends with do to peer effects? Or at least who their friends think are negative influencers? What are your thoughts?

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