September 20, 2017

826 National and Common Sense Media are excited to announce that they are putting together a book wherein young writers explore their relationship with the internet, with social media, and with the digital world in general.

For a short time, we are soliciting submissions from students!

Young writers must be between 14-18 years old, and submissions must be received by October 27, 2017.

The book will contain advice from high schoolers to middle schoolers about what they’ve learned about the digital world. Essays should be between 200-1000 words. Along with your submission, please include the following:

  • Student Writer’s Name
  • School
  • Hometown
  • Student and Parent/Guardian Email addresses

This information will be kept private by 826 National and used solely for follow-up purposes for this publication. Personal information will not be used for any commercial purpose or given to any third party.

Send your essays to:

To be considered for the publication, all submissions must be sent in with the required permission form. Please click here for English and click here for Spanish.

If your essay is chosen, 826 National will be in touch with you. You and your parents will be asked to sign forms that ensure you are you, and that you and your parents/guardians grant permission to publish your essay.

Before you start writing, PLEASE look at this sample essay. It will demonstrate the level of detail we are looking for.

Thank you!

Here are some prompts to get you started. You can depart from these prompts. Just bear in mind that the hope is that you will recount a personal experience and tell us what you learned from it.


News Sources

  • Do you feel like you can trust the news and other things you read online? Why or why not?
  • How do you determine if a story is real? How do you determine if it’s worth sharing?
  • Have you ever shared a story from a news source or included something in a paper that you thought was true but later realized was not? How did that make you feel? Can you describe the experience?

Social Media

  • What kinds of stories do you like to share with your friends online? How do you decide what you want to post?
  • How is your “real life” personality similar and different from your online personality?
  • Has social media created jealousy and divisions among your friends? Has it connected you in unexpected ways? If so, tell us one story of how it has.
  • Tell us about a time when you felt you were really different online than the “real” you.
  • Tell us about a time you posted something that you later wished you hadn’t.
  • What’s the text you most wish you hadn’t written?
  • Write about a time you saw someone post something about you online that 
wasn’t true – and what you did (or didn’t do) about it.

Life Online

  • Do you ever take intentional breaks from technology or social media? Why or why not? What do you do with your time away from tech/social media?
  • How do your parents feel about your tech use?
  • Do your parents or family use technology the same way you do, or differently? 
How so?
  • What’s it like to navigate the online world if you’re a teen for whom English is a second language? For immigrants or first-generation Americans, has it changed how you learn the language or made learning English easier or harder? What advice would you give others about this?
  • What place online do you feel most at home? Why?

For a PDF copy of the above instructions and prompts, please click here.

For a PDF copy of the required permission form, please click here for English and click here for Spanish.

For a PDF copy of the sample essay, please click here.

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