Growing Up With Heroes: How Popular Media Can Impact Character Development

A person’s childhood is often the most formative period in their life. Where someone grows up, the foods they eat, who their parents and friends are, shape who they ultimately grow into. Every experience, even the shows children watch growing up can have a huge impact on their view of the world.

When children watch TV shows and movies, they are exposed to heroes battling villains, princesses falling in love, detective solving mysteries and so much more. Fictitious characters become like friends, mentors, and family. From them, children learn about life, relationships, and how the world works.

ClassHook has identified which films, TV shows, and characters can support a student’s character development and teach them invaluable life lessons in a fun and casual way. Check out the clips below.

In the clip above, the Ask the StoryBots characters sing a song about gratitude. While the entire show serves to educate and empower the children watching, specific scenes like this can remind them what they have to be thankful for.

As shown in the clip above, characters like Po from Kung Fu Panda demonstrate resiliency, determination, and courage. Po trains to become a kung fu warrior despite everyone’s doubts. If a child identifies with Po, they will be inspired to have faith in themselves and the courage to follow their dreams.

For older students, films like Dead Poets Society teach lifelong lessons about individuality. In this scene, Mr. Keating denounces conformity and urges his students to be independent thinkers.

A classic example comes from The Return of the Jedi, when Luke Skywalker rescues his friends. Star Wars as a series inspires bravery and teaches lessons on friendship and morality. The balance between good and evil and the characterization of Luke helps the viewer to understand his struggles while rooting for his cause. The characters are complex and serve as a reminder to the audience that people are complex as well.

Each of these examples, from both new and classic TV shows and films, demonstrate the power of popular media on character development. Children are able to watch, identify with, and learn from specific characters, internalizing their strengths and empathizing with their weaknesses. Like growing up with a mentor in real life, we often look to beloved characters in popular media as a source of inspiration.

Visit ClassHook at to find more inspiring and educational clips!

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