Media’s Effects on Developing Self-Identity

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As a teen, you’re constantly trying to discover who you are. Developing self-identity can be extremely difficult, and many people struggle with it into adulthood. In the past the process of developing self identity was a personal one, but in today’s culture were constantly throwing our understanding of our identity out onto media platforms for everyone to see. Selfies, Facebook pics and stories, tweets, and Instagram’s, these all new ways that teens and adults are developing self-identity.

How are these social media platforms affecting individuals understanding of developing self-identity? A recent article by Psychology Today discusses the different models of understanding self-identity.

How is Media Shaping Self-Identity?

The issue with social media and developing self-identity, is that teens are trying to become things that they aren’t. Individuals see celebrities and want to be exactly like them, and they attempt to center their lives around achieving this. Social media isn’t promoting self-identity, it’s encouraging teens to achieve false ideas of it. Developing self-identity is a constantly changing process.

As Freud theorized, most of our self identity lies beneath the surface of our unconscious mind. Many of the things that define who we are or how we behave, have been developed unconsciously overtime through our experiences. Teens trying to shape their identity on something and/or someone they’ve seen on media, is only prolonging their ability to truly understand themselves.

We Are Constantly Changing

Who are you? What are you? What is your self? Most people tend to identity in three ways: their familial roles, occupation roles, or the defining characteristics of their personality (warm, strong, romantic, or nurturing). There is a never ending list of different self-definitions and identities. What people forget when developing self-identity, is that you can’t define it.

Our identity is constantly changing, because we’re constantly growing, learning, and experiencing new things throughout the course of our lives. Who you once identified as in high school is probably completely different from who you identified as in college. Who you identify as now, will probably be completely different in a matter of a couple of years. We are constantly evolving and with that so are our self-identities.

Trails Carolina Can Help


Trails Carolina is a wilderness therapy program for struggling teens, ages 10-17. Our students commonly deal with issues such as depression, anxiety, ADHD, trauma, and other behavioral challenges.

For more information about Trails Carolina, please call 800-975-7303 today!


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