All popular media (television shows, movies, magazines, etc.) isn’t bad.  Media can show you things to aspire to be in life.  It can inspire you to set goals for yourself.  Media can also motivate you to reach your highest potential.

Just like the jeans you wear, you must find the right fit.  It is up to you to decide what will be most useful to you.  If being your best self is your intention (which it should be), what you choose to watch, read, or listen to must be specific.

The media sends a variety of messages.  Some of these messages say to young people (without always using words): “If you are not like (fill in the name of a famous person), you are not good or worthy.”

It is your responsibility to make sense of these messages for yourself.  When you see an advertisement, think about who it is targeting, whether it is realistic, and what makes it appealing.

Be able to separate fiction from reality in the media and use your best judgment.  For example, understand that most of the media you are exposed to does not show people in a realistic way.  Characters on television and in movies are often shown with unrealistic “perfect” bodies.  Photographs in magazines or billboards are edited on the computer to erase flaws and imperfections.

Even if you know that what you see is not normal or real, it can still impact you.  If you find it difficult to make sense of certain images in the media, go to an adult with your questions or concerns.

You have been around the media your entire life.  Believe it or not, you have had more media exposure than your parents had when they were growing up.  Hopefully, Be Unlimited is helping you become more educated about how the media can affect your life.  Use this knowledge to stay safe and healthy.

Remember, just because you are growing up in a world run by popular media does not mean that you have to let popular media run your life.  The next Be Unlimited lesson (the third of three parts), will offer ideas on how to use popular media to shape an identity that’s right for you.

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