CALLING ALL YOUNG WRITERS AND DIGITAL MAVENS…SUBMIT YOUR ESSAYS BY JUNE 26TH!

June 5, 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 June 26, 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: submissions@826national.org

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.

PROMPTS (CHOOSE ANY ONE):

Social Media

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

Life Online

  • 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?
  • 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?
  • Do you ever wish you could detach? Or do you wish you could stay immersed? Please explain.
  • Have you ever been a victim of cyberbullying? If so, what was it like and how did it make you feel?
  • Have you been a cyberbully yourself, and if so, why did you do it?
  • Are there things about your identity that you found out about (or found out more about) online? If so, tell us what that was like and what advice would you give to others searching for like-minded communities online.
  • What place online do you feel most at home? Why?
  • 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?

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?

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

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

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