Media’s Effects on Developing Self-Identity

woman 565127 1280As 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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Jeremy Whitworth

As Executive Director at Trails Carolina, a leading wilderness therapy program for youth and teens, I oversee operations and collaborate with our leadership team. Since 2022, I've also hosted the Common Ground Podcast for parents: With a background in Wilderness Leadership and Experiential Education, I've managed adventure-based therapeutic programs across the US and Canada. My experiences in competitive athletics and adventure sports have honed my leadership, risk assessment, and decision-making skills, which I apply to running a successful business like Trails Carolina.

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Trails saved my daughter’s life. Amanda is an amazing human and a brilliant therapist. I am so grateful to her, Science Steve, and the other wonderful people who could reach my daughter at a time when I could not.

Margot Lowman August 2022

Great life changing experience for our son. After becoming addicted to gaming during covid he was very depressed. At Trails he experienced the wilderness, Science Steve, learning survival skills and top notch therapy and support etc… I highly recommend! This gave our son and our family a renewed family bond full of love and excitement about his bright future.

Winnifred Wilson July 2022


Outstanding clinical work and superb staff! There’s a great culture at this company and it shows with how they engage with families/clients.

Kristin Brace June 2022


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