We know that adolescence is a period of great change but also of research, among other things, on one’s own identity.
We will examine the concept of youth identities to find out exactly what it involves and why it is so important for the proper development of adolescents at different levels, such as the psychological but also the social.
What are the identities of young people?
Youth identities refer to each adolescent’s search for what they really are, both for themselves and as a member of a society. But it is not only a research process, but also a choice. We must not forget that the human being is a social animal and that it is therefore fundamental for his development, which takes place when he begins his transition to adulthood, to find his hole in the tribe.
These youthful identities can acquire a high degree of complexity and are not necessarily static. What does it mean? That a teenager, at some point, can find an identity that they identify with and feel comfortable with, but that after some time, which may be shorter or longer, they may decide that that identity no longer fully represents it and can embark on it. looking for another who satisfies him.
It is worth making a point between two aspects of the identity of young people, because on the one hand, they can refer to personal identity and on the other hand to group identity. The first is that the person must be able to know and express who they are, on their own. It is the image he has of himself and the one he projects on others, the one through which others know him and know who and how he is. This is what makes it unique and special.
Group or social identity, on the other hand, although it also projects characteristics of the person himself, does so in relation to his group to which he belongs, classifying himself in a specific group which is characterized by a series of traits, whether physical, behavioral, attire or any other type. Sometimes the social identity is chosen by the person himself, but sometimes it is others who give him this label., Even if the individual has not chosen it personally.
Within the identities of young people, whether we see a personal identity or a self-identity, is of great importance to the subsequent self-esteem of adolescents, as it is directly correlated. In other words, if a person has a positive personal identity, it is more likely to generate high self-esteem. In contrast, young people with a negative self-identity will tend to suffer from low self-esteem.
Why they are important and how they affect young people
We have already seen that with the arrival of adolescence begins the process of choosing between different youth identities. But why is this process so important? Identity search and choice are of vital importance for adolescents. We have already anticipated, for example, the relationship that identity maintains with self-esteem, which is already a sign of the extent of this problem, but it does not stop there.
The same path of exploration already has a great value in itself, because in the search for that of the juvenile identities in which the adolescent believes he can best integrate himself, he will be able to revisit a variety of values and beliefs to see if they correspond. to their own being or not. In other words, he got to know himself, he will be able to give himself an image of himself and know what his role is in the society in which he lives.
Of course, this process is not always so quick and easy. It is often slow, bumpy and generates an identity crisis in adolescents which they experience as something very dramatic, and it is no wonder. It is heartbreaking to know that something is wrong with you, that you haven’t found yourself yet, and what is worse, not knowing what to do about it.
Examples of youth identity
We have already seen that the identities of young people can be attributed to both self-identity and social identity. According to the second categorization, one can find countless groups, colloquially known as urban tribes, where many adolescents find the traits that satisfy the image they seek and also the support of a peer group consisting of peers with whom to share their thoughts and actions. .
There are many urban tribes that serve as an example in the search for juvenile identities.. Let’s go over some of the most common.
If video games are nothing new, what is certain is that in recent years they have become more popular than ever, thanks in particular to the possibilities of online gaming and the influence of famous YouTubers, which many kids and teens want to emulate from their computers. So, that of the players is one of the most important youth identities of our time.
Anyone with teenage or pre-teen children will be playing titles like Fortnite, League of Legends (popularly known as LoL), or Minecraft, either because they play or because they watch their favorite streamers’ games via platforms like Youtube or Twitch, or both. The reality is that the world of video games has changed forever and this reinforced one of the identities of young people that already existed, Attracting a lot of young people compared to previous generations.
The term may be misleading for those who are already a certain age, but the truth is that Draperies are lovers of trap music, a modern genre that brings together hordes of fans among the youngest and therefore represents one of the most identities. most flourishing of youth. It’s not just about the music. As usual, this urban tribe has their own dress code and even a way of speaking. and behave.
Saving distances, they could be likened to rappers, another particularly popular urban tribe in the 2000s, which also revolved around a specific musical genre and also involved a certain style of fashion as well as customs and linguistic expressions that gave them its own identity.
Another of the identities of young people that has grown considerably in recent years is that of the otaku. It is about this group of young people in love with Japanese culture. These people typically consume a multitude of entertainment products from Asia, primarily Japan.. For example, they usually read manga, watch anime series, or play Japanese video games in the studio (the famous RPG saga, Final Fantasy, is a good example).
They usually even listen to music from Japanese pop groups, a genre known as J-Pop or K-Pop, if they are from South Korea. Even in the culinary realm, they prefer Japanese cuisine, so it is not uncommon for them to like to eat sushi, ramen or gyozas. Of course, the otakus is one of the juvenile identities that most influences all aspects of the lives of its members.
4. “Addicts” on social networks
Without a doubt, one of the most used tools by teenagers is social media. The intensive use of these defines in itself another of the identities of young people, who would be the “addicts” of these platforms. Today, Instagram and especially TikTok, among the youngest, are essential applications with which they constantly check for updates from their friends or idols and also share theirs.
Obsessed with the digital world, young people think that not being on social media means giving up the possibility of interacting with one’s peers, so for them it’s almost (and sometimes in fact) an addiction. Networks are very useful as a means of communication and it is true that they can be rewarding in the search for group identities, but, like everything, they should be used in moderation and responsibility.
Of course, that comes into play with the supervision of responsible adults and the respect education that is given to teens so that they don’t abuse or use social media in dangerous ways, but it helps them find among the the identities of young people which is most suitable. suits them.
- Cortés, TA (2008). Sub-culture, counter-culture, urban tribes and youth cultures: homogenization or differentiation? Argentine Journal of Sociology.
- Dayrell, J. (2003). Culture and identities of young people. The last decade.
- Reis, A. (2009). The secondary school as a space for building the identities of young people. Mexican Journal of Educational Research.
- Silva, JC (2002). Youth and urban tribes: in search of identity. The last decade.