This is the third and final entry in our special look at young people and popular media. But, as popular media is all around us, it won’t be the last time we take on the subject.

Popular media plays a role in shaping the person you become.  As you grow up and look for ways to create and define yourself, it can have a major influence.

An identity is a person’s individuality or personality.  Your personal identity is the way that you see yourself.  This is important because it affects what you believe you can be, do and achieve in life.

Like the sneakers you buy, some times it can be hard to find an identity that feels like the right fit.  Each of us has an identity that is unique to who we are.  Those identities can be created by many things, including: what you watch, read, and listen to.

We are surrounded by all kinds of images in popular media.  They can influence the way we dress and how we act.  Without a strong sense of ourselves, creating an identity can be difficult.

Young people actively and creatively sample parts of popular media as they produce their individual identities.  Popular media provides many options for who and what you can be.  But you must be careful.  Some messages in popular media promote smoking & drug and alcohol use.  Others promote unhealthy attitudes about sexuality and violence.

It’s easy to see how some messages can lead to confusion.  They can cause you to feel conflicted about what you think about yourself, especially if you have the mentality that “everybody else” is doing something.   Nobody your age wants to be the odd person out, but some times you’ll have to stand alone to stand up against what’s not right for you.

All popular media 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.  Popular media can spark ideas for future career goals, introduce you to places in the world that you’d one day like to explore, and encourage you to try new things that will lead you to grow in some way.

Remember, 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.  Look for the positive images in popular media because they do exist.  Create the person that you want to be with those.

You must be critical.  Reject the images and messages that lower the standards for what you want to be, do and achieve in your life. Instead, aim for what will bring you closer to reaching your highest potential.

The opportunities are unlimited.  You must see yourself that way.  Try that thought on for size.  It’s the right fit guaranteed.

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