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Teens, Trust and Safety

High School Writing Contest - Teens and Trust

Who do teens trust to keep them safe?  Their parents?  Their schools and colleges?  The government?

From a historical perspective, Baby Boomers grew up living under the threat of nuclear Armageddon, complete with classroom drills to hide under their desks in the case of nuclear attack.  However, today's teenagers and college students have been growing up in their own unique time: 

  • The threat of internet predators, cyber-bullying, and other online dangers.
  • The threat of school shootings and lock-downs.
  • The threat of terrorism.

So Stage of Life asked teens, "How do you, as a student, feel about these threats, and do you have trust in your parents, school or government (the major institutions around you) to keep you safe?"

The summary report below contains the following information:

1)  Themes and teen trends on trust and safety issues as identified from over 100 personal essays submitted to StageofLife.com by high school students.

2)  Visitor data to StageofLife.com during the Teens, Trust and Safety essay contest

3)  Survey data from the Teens, Trust and Safety poll

4)  Links to over 120 essays submitted by teens to StageofLife.com answering the question writing contest prompt, "Do you trust our institutions to keep us safe?"


1) Themes/Trends:  From the Trust and Safety writing contest, several themes and trends emerged from the student essays...

1. Our Safety
Even though our institutions may do their best to protect us, teens agreed that we are the only people who can really keep us as safe as possible. Make smart and responsible choices, and use common sense when approaching a sketchy situation.

2. School Safety

Schools received a mostly negative wrap for their take on safety. Many teens argued that cameras in the classroom, lockdowns, and metal detectors aren’t doing enough to keep them safe. After all, schools are still facing age-old problems like (sometimes vicious) bullying, drug use and distribution, and weapon hiding.

3.
Government Safety
Many teens are concerned that the government is not doing enough to keep its citizens safe. Teens argued that the government is corrupt, and sometimes cuts necessary programs to keep its citizens safe (like welfare). Other teens, though, did not see a reason to complain about government policies—the government is doing its best, so why not trust it?

4.
Cyber Safety
Teens are concerned about the growth of cyber bullying that occurs on the internet. While some teens’ parents install parental safety codes and locks, many teens noted that their parents did not discuss online safety with them at all. A good rule of thumb to emerge from this section: Do NOT add anyone you don’t personally know as a friend on Facebook!

Interestingly, parents of today's teens did not grow up with the internet as children, thus making conversations about cyber-safety difficult when there's no personal experience or connection for these parents to draw from as they help guide their teens.  This is new territory for most parents.

We've grouped the essay responses below by theme AND whether it was a positive or negative/critical position.


2)  Visitor Data:  Which teens visited StageofLife.com during the writing contest?

Between 10/1/2011 and 10/31/2011, Over 5,200 teens and college students visited the Trust and Safety writing competition on Stage of Life, coming from 87 countries, 50 U.S. states, and over 1,605 cities across the world:
  • Writing Contest Page Views:  6,133
  • Unique Visitors:  5,216
  • New Visitors:  77%
  • Return Visitors:  23%
  • Top 6 Countries with Visitors (in rank order):  United States (85% of visits), India, Canada, Australia, Philippines, United Kingdom...
  • Top 10 U.S. States with Visitors (in rank order):  CA, NY, FL, PA, TX, NJ, NC, IL, OH, IL...
  • Top 20 World Cities with Visitors (in rank order):  New York, Clarksville, Los Angeles, Melbourne, Asheville, York, Houston, Kingston, Washington, Ft Lauderdale, San Francisco, Chicago, Philadelphia, New Orleans, Raleigh, Rochester, Mansfield, Colorado Springs, Manila...


3) Survey Data - As part of the writing contest, over 680 teens answered our survey that asked, "Do you trust our institutions to keep us safe?"  Who do teens trust...and who do they not?

CORE SURVEY DATA:  StageofLife.com's Teen, Trust and Safety survey was live from 10/1/2011 - 10/31/2011.  Over 680 students answered the survey.
  • Total Survey Responders:  684 students
  • 9th Grade:  28.51% were high school freshmen.
  • 10th Grade:  25.44%
  • 11th Grade:  23.10%
  • 12th Grade:  14.91%
  • College:  8.04%
We then asked if teens trusted their parents, school and government.  Who do teens trust?  The results and observations are as follows...

PARENTS
  • 87.60%:  Percentage of teens who trust their parents
  • 12.4%:  Percentage of teens who do NOT trust their parents
  • Majority of teens trust their parents to keep them safe, but over 1 out of 10 do not.
SCHOOL/COLLEGE
  • 63.87%:  Percentage of teens who trust their school or college
  • 36.13%:  Percentage of teens who do NOT trust school or college
  • Most teens trust their school to keep them safe, but over 1 out of 3 do not.
GOVERNMENT
  • 41.34%:  Percentage of teens who trust their government
  • 58.66%:  Percentage of teens who do NOT trust their government
  • A majority of teens do not trust the government to keep them safe.
  Print Trust and Safety poll results


OBSERVATIONS...

PARENTS:
 
The vast majority of teenagers trust their parents (nearly 88%).  This is an incredibly positive sign.  Familial connectivity appears to be intact, even in 2011, resulting in high trust marks for the family unit providing a strong base safety - one of our most important basic needs.  In fact, according to Maslow's hierarchy of needs, safety is the second most important need, after physiological needs like eating and breathing, from which all other needs are built and formed.  People need a sense of safety in order to positively develop in areas like love/belonging, esteem and self-actualization.

Which leads us to the darker side of the survey results...

The poll illuminated that over 1 out of 10 teens (12%) do not trust their immediate caregivers.  This is alarming as trust and safety, before even love, is the foundation from which a secure home and person is built.  Parents, especially in broken or absentee-driven environments, should be encouraged to talk with their teens about trust and safety.


SCHOOL: 

We looked next to schools - the second influential institution outside the home.  The good news is that most students trust their school or college (nearly 64%) to keep them safe.  The bad news is that more students (36%) now fall into the "do not" trust category (compared to the parental scores). 

The alarming thing to note is that when more than 1 out of 3 students do not trust their school environment to keep them safe, the education process and ability to learn is jeopardized. 

How can students concentrate in class when a large percentage feel their safety is in question? 


To extend that thought a step further, is it then fair or even possible to ask teachers, educators and administrators to deliver academic results on state-mandated testing scores, etc. when they have a large percentage of their student body (again, 36% of students) who do not trust the school institution to protect them?


Schools, particularly in the US, may need to take a look at procedures, tactics and in-school culture changes to increase confidence in their ability to keep students safe within their educational environment.  Schools, after all, are the homes away from home for most teens, and it will be a continual struggle for the US to compete on the world stage when one out of three students, our future brainpower, have trust and safety issues with their academic institutions.


If policy hawks are looking for a smoking gun on why the US education system is in many areas dysfunctional, it could start with the answering the simple question, "Are we helping our students feel safe?"  According to teens, many feel the answer is "no."

GOVERNMENT:
 

We were surprised and yet not surprised by our final finding:  The majority of teenagers (close to 60%), do not trust the government to keep them safe.  Throughout history, there's often been a level of mistrust between government and young adults.  For a variety of reasons (read the essays below), most of today's teens simply do not have faith that the government is working in their best interests to protect them and keep them safe. 

Whether its negative political postering towards the Obama administration or something larger, our feeling is that there is a real, sincere sensitivity towards the government and its disconnect with today's teens in the arena of safety and trust.  Using social media and an active web strategy has helped the Obama administration reach more students, but this president, and the next coming up in 2012 election, will need to understand that there is a palpable yearning from teenagers and college students to feel safe...in their homes...in their schools...and in their daily lives. 

Now read the essays below to get an idea on what teens had to personally share on this important question of our ability to trust our institutions to keep us safe...


Essays - Trust and Safety

Immediately below, you'll find links to the StageofLife.com winning essay, our semi-finalists and over 120 other personal essays from college students and teenagers that addressed the question on if they trust our institutions (parents, school and government) to keep us safe.  Essays were submitted direct to StageofLife.com during its October 2011 writing contest.  Please take a few moments to read an essay or two.  If you have the time, make a comment on the responses you enjoyed the most.  We know the student writers will love hearing your positive input (they'll get an email notifying them if you comment on their contest entry).

Winner: Trust and Safety: It’s Yours. Own It. by amanda.tucker (We have been taught not to take responsibility for ourselves

Runners Up:

  1. Trust and Safety: Sometimes It’s Beyond Our Power by laurenbachur (“Complete safety is impossible, but the effort of safety is not.”)
  2. Trust and Safety: It’s a Jungle Out There by abbeykat
  3. Trust and Safety: Least of My Worries by avalancheLily (This teen thinks institutions are effective)
  4. Trust and Safety: The Walkie-Talkies’ Purpose by fruittreeinwinter (When a gunman was on the loose in her city, her parents used walkie-talkies to communicate with her and her sister)
  5. Trust and Safety: I’ll say by suzubelle (This teen trusts her school to keep her safe from gunmen, but not from bullies)
  6. Trust and Safety: At what cost? by tommorse22 (This teen feels subjugated in her high school, rather than safe)
  7. Trust and Safety: The wise aren’t in charge by CurlyDz (Teens have become numb to the dangers of the world because we are so frequently reminded of them)
  8. Trust and Safety: Defending Yourself Against Social Media by kestep (This teen watches what she says over the internet)

Finalists:

  1. Trust and Safety: Protection Starts With You by Writer Selbe (It is our own responsibility to keep us safe)
  2. Trust and Safety: Do you depend on others, or yourself? by rhiFTW (Teens are at the age where they must take initiative, but they also shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help from adults)
  3. Trust and Safety: When we can’t trust our safety in any hands but our own by Julia.Andreasen
  4. Trust and Safety: It’s a Jungle Out There by abbeykat (This teen realized that it is up to her to keep herself safe)
  5. Trust and Safety: Who Do You Trust? by REENA (Teens must trust their parents and government to keep them safe, and in return parents and government must compromise with teens to create a less dangerous environment)
  6. Trust and Safety: Sometimes It’s Beyond Our Power by laurenbachur (“Complete safety is impossible, but the effort of safety is not.”)
  7. Trust and Safety: Least of My Worries by avalancheLily (This teen thinks institutions are effective)
  8. Trust and Safety: The Walkie-Talkies’ Purpose by fruittreeinwinter (When a gunman was on the loose in her city, her parents used walkie-talkies to communicate with her and her sister)
  9. Trust and Safety: Two Irrelevant Propositions by chendingxin2011 (Even though her dad can’t always keep her safe, she still completely trusts him) 
  10. Trust and Safety: Safe in Humanity by tianaaa14 (This teen was homeless for four months)
  11. Trust and Safety: Do I trust you? by helloel (Governments do not give answers fast enough, and airport security is still flawed)
  12. Trust and Safety: Unbreakable No-More by Ostee (This teen believes that the American government is corrupt)
  13. Trust and Safety: Walk the walk by TheNamesNat (This teen thinks the government just sees its people as walking money bags) 
  14. Trust and Safety: Do we feel safe? by NARFNra (This teen despises the Patriot Act)
  15. Trust and Safety: In homes by J.R.C.baby(: (This teen has suffered the perils of drinking and drug use in her own family)
  16. Trust and Safety: What Integrity Doesn’t Teach Us About the World by theruby (This teen thinks our national security is “shady,” but she also thinks that America is a great country to live in)
  17. Trust and Safety: The Generation of Terror by Freyii (This teen thinks the government is overreacting with excessive security measures)
  18. Trust and Safety: Safest at the Nest by aliwisnieski (Students in this teen’s high school deal drugs in the bathrooms) 
  19. Trust and Safety: I’ll say by suzubelle (This teen trusts her school to keep her safe from gunmen, but not from bullies)
  20. Trust and Safety: At what cost? by tommorse22 (This teen feels subjugated in her high school, rather than safe)
  21. Trust and Safety: The Yellow Tombstone by ceballance96 (This teen discusses the risks involved in riding the school bus)
  22. Trust and Safety: The Hypothetical Gunman by cossshmo (The gunman was never our enemy)
  23. Trust and Safety: The wise aren’t in charge by CurlyDz (Teens have become numb to the dangers of the world because we are so frequently reminded of them)
  24. Trust and Safety: Parents Are Helpless Against Cyber-Bullying by pink94 (Facebook is toxic for teens, and parents can’t do anything to protect them) 
  25. Trust and Safety: Defending Yourself Against Social Media by kestep (This teen watches what she says over the internet)
  26. Trust and Safety: That’s a Word? by NCpollyCA (Safety is an illusion)
  27. Trust and Safety: Safety of Travelling by kbodell95 (She talks about the dangers of texting and driving)
  28. Trust and Safety: It’s Yours. Own It. by amanda.tucker (We have been taught not to take responsibility for ourselves


Aside from the finalists, we had a wide variety of teen writing contest entry essays.  We've categorized the responses...

Positive Responses

Our Safety

  1. Trust and Safety: Protection Starts With You by Writer Selbe (It is our own responsibility to keep us safe)
  2. Trust and Safety: Relation bonded by Premankit (It is good and natural to trust)
  3. Trust and Safety: Do you depend on others, or yourself? by rhiFTW (Teens are at the age where they must take initiative, but they also shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help from adults)
  4. Trust and Safety: Trust Essay by Brittney :) (Part of feeling safe is being reassured that everything is okay)
  5. Trust and Safety: When we can’t trust our safety in any hands but our own by Julia.Andreasen
  6. Trust and Safety: The Underlying Truth by CJ555 (This teen feels safe and secure in his environments)
  7. Trust and Safety: We Must Believe in Ourselves to Change the Outcome of the Inevitable by ciaobella14 (We must prepare ourselves for the worst)
  8. Trust and Safety: I Am in a Cage by corinaballerina (Although this teen is trapped by life, she is certain that she will get into heaven)
  9. Trust and Safety: It’s a Jungle Out There by abbeykat (This teen realized that it is up to her to keep herself safe)
  10. Trust and Safety: Our choice by sfarah5854 (The choices we make on who to trust determines how safe we are)
  11. Trust and Safety: It all comes down to you by yiyijessicali (Before anything else, we must trust ourselves)
  12. Trust and Safety: Government, School, and Home by <3sports (This teen trusts institutions to keep her safe)


Digital Safety

  1. Trust and Safety: Beware of Self-Destruction in Digital Spaces by riserthinking (“Privacy settings and the law are not the enemies”)

Government Safety

1.      Trust and Safety: United we stand, divided you fall by poet782 (If the government can’t protect her, then the nation will step up)

2.      Trust and Safety: Who Do You Trust? by REENA (Teens must trust their parents and government to keep them safe, and in return parents and government must compromise with teens to create a less dangerous environment)

3.      Trust and Safety: Call me Naïve by jk3 (This teen doesn’t see why she shouldn’t trust the government—so she does)

4.      Trust and Safety: Least of My Worries by avalancheLily (This teen thinks institutions are effective)

5.      Trust and Safety: Sometimes It’s Beyond Our Power by laurenbachur (“Complete safety is impossible, but the effort of safety is not.”)

6.      Trust and Safety: The Government by walmartversionofpoe (This teen trusts the government on a “teetering yes”)

7.      Trust and Safety: To what extent? by nikitasaha12 (Being too cautious is the greatest risk of all)


Parents Safety

  1. Trust and Safety: The Walkie-Talkies’ Purpose by fruittreeinwinter (When a gunman was on the loose in her city, her parents used walkie-talkies to communicate with her and her sister)
  2. Trust and Safety: Mi Familia by Xian77 (This teen feels safe because of her family, and her dog)
  3. Trust and Safety: Targeted by Death by Hnholly95 (Trust saves lives, but in the end Death will come for us all)
  4. Trust and Safety by Miranda.(: (This teen rests assured that her parents will keep her safe in a safe neighborhood)
  5. Trust and Safety: Two Irrelevant Propositions by chendingxin2011 (Even though her dad can’t always keep her safe, she still completely trusts him)


Religious Safety

  1. Trust and Safety: Trusting Him? by LivyluvsCJ (This teen struggled to trust God)
  2. Trust and Safety by Enidzaini (This teen only trusts God to keep him safe)
  3. Trust and Safety: In a Jaded World by mynameislynn (This teen thinks if more people sought God, the world would be a better place)
  4. Trust and Safety: In God We Trust by buijk51 (We should only trust God)


School Safety

  1. Trust and Safety: My Barely Metaphorical Desk by me-o-maya (This teen trusts institutions to keep her safe, but how much fear is too much?)
  2. Trust and Safety: Do you trust your school to keep your learning environment safe? by TaylorTraut007 (This teen feels at home at her high school)
  3. Trust and Safety: Being Threat Free by amblife (This teen feels free from potential threats thanks to the tough policies at her government school)
  4. Trust and Safety: Trust: Do You Have It? by caitibug (Her school has a great anti-bullying campaign)
  5. Trust and Safety: Feeling as Safe as a Baby in a Mother’s Arms by maxie.lindholm (This teen feels safe in her environment)
  6. Trust and Safety: Schools by herrerav (Schools really do try to keep their students safe)
  7. Trust and Safety: School Shootings by escatel26 (This teen feels safe in her schools, although she does not think her school would be prepared for a shooting)
  8. Trust and Safety: Are You Really Safe? by pravsayroo (This teen feels safe with her parents and in her school, but does not trust the government)
  9. Trust and Safety: School Safety by GustavoM (This teen thinks his school does a good job at keeping kids safe, but it could do better)

National Safety

  1. Trust and Safety: Trusting Society by Griney95 (This teen trusts all institutions to keep her safe)
  2. Trust and Safety: Guardians, School, and Government by kippy95 (This teen feels safe at home, in school, and in America)
  3. Trust and Safety: Do you feel safe? by bitingbritt (This teen appreciates how safe her environment is)
  4. Trust and Safety: Trust in our nation by ryan (It is important to trust your national, your neighborhood, and yourself)
  5. Trust and Safety: Do You Trust Our Institutions to Keep us Safe? by JoDianee (This teen trusts her parents and the government, but not her school)
  6. Trust and Safety: An Issue Of The Individual Perspective by angecarv95 (Violence is rising thanks to advanced technology; but this teen still feels safe in Australia)
  7. Trust and Safety: Safety for a teen in the 21st century by sunshinehk (This teen trusts institutions to keep her safe)
  8. Trust and Safety: Safe in Humanity by tianaaa14 (This teen was homeless for four months)
  9. Trust and Safety: Something We Experience Everyday by wkenyon (This teen trusts her parents and school to keep her safe, but not her government)
  10. Trust and Safety: To trust or not to trust? by juliebug (This teen thinks we should teach children why they should be nice to each other, instead of just teaching them to be nice)
  11. Trust and Safety: Before you leave the ground by TeantaCoston123 (Airports are now safer places thanks to the advanced technology they use)
  12. Trust and Safety: Yes by artfreak889 (“As long as ‘we’ are in the picture, I trust our institutions to keep me safe.”)
  13. Trust and Safety: The Key to a Healthy Nation by clyons984 (This teen thinks trust and safety are the two most important words to this nation)
  14. Trust and Safety: I Am Glad That You Are Watching Out For Me by BramLove111 (This teen feels safe in all aspects of life)


Cyber/Internet Safety

  1. Trust and Safety: To Trust or Not To Trust? by julia.rr (This teen thinks bullies are insecure about themselves)


Negative/Critical Responses

Government Safety

  1. Trust and Safety: Do I trust you? by helloel (Governments do not give answers fast enough, and airport security is still flawed)
  2. Trust and Safety: A Social Malaise by bgsankara (The war on terror, an initiative to promote safety, has only increased distrust of our government)
  3. Trust and Safety: Unbreakable No-More by Ostee (This teen believes that the American government is corrupt)
  4. Trust and Safety: Do you trust your government? by mmarkham (Every part of the American government is corrupt)
  5. Trust and Safety: No Point to Greater Institutional Control by EdgarPoe (We should not rely on our government to keep us safe)
  6. Trust and Safety: Do You Trust Our Government To Keep Us Safe? by ToXiCk (If the government wanted us to be safe, why are there still threats?)
  7. Trust and Safety: Do you trust our institutions to keep us safe? by king_deja11 (If the government is there to help, why are they cutting welfare?)
  8. Trust and Safety: What We’ve Seen So Far by gabriella.mayer (How can we trust an institution that doesn’t tell us what they’re doing?)
  9. Trust and Safety: The Difficulties of Trusting Our Government by Elvispresley (The government hides too much information to be trusted)
  10. Trust and Safety: Walk the walk by TheNamesNat (This teen thinks the government just sees its people as walking money bags)
  11. Trust and Safety: Do we feel safe? by NARFNra (This teen despises the Patriot Act)
  12. Trust and Safety by Archerychic_01 (This teen does not trust the president)
  13. Trust and Safety: Hometown by smile12 (This teen could have been assaulted by an angry, drunk man in a convenience store, and nobody took action to protect her)


Parents Safety

  1. Trust and Safety: The choices our parents make by zmansfam (Parents should not encourage kids to drink in their homes)
  2. Trust and Safety: Do you trust our institutions to keep us safe? by Ocaa1 (If a parent doesn’t help their child, then they are setting their child up for “disaster”)
  3. Trust and Safety: Do you trust our institutions to keep us safe? by Precious_15 (This teen writes tips for parents to stay connected to their kids)
  4. Trust and Safety: Are you always safe? by allypalardy (A fictional account for reasons why we aren’t safe in the places we should be safe)
  5. Trust and Safety: What You Need to Survive by Kelso (This teen doesn’t trust her mom to keep her safe)
  6. Trust and Safety: In homes by J.R.C.baby(: (This teen has suffered the perils of drinking and drug use in her own family)
  7. Trust and Safety: Issues in Homes of Domestic Violence by qwinborne96 (This teen has experienced firsthand the destruction of domestic violence in the home)


National Safety

  1. Trust and Safety: Sounds Mythical Now by shabana (This teen is disgusted with India’s turn for the worse)
  2. Trust and Safety: What does it even mean? by maggieluna95 (This teen lives in fear, and has learned to take minimal risks)
  3. Trust and Safety: Different in Every Situation by samanthalien (This teen doesn’t trust anyone—even herself—to keep her safe)
  4. Trust and Safety: What Integrity Doesn’t Teach Us About the World by theruby (This teen thinks our national security is “shady,” but she also thinks that America is a great country to live in)
  5. Trust and Safety: Securing America by dragonmaster80 (This teen is concerned with border and airport security, as well as the importing of goods)
  6. Trust and Safety: Blame by sophtar (All sides of all institutions need to start working together in order to create a better society)


School Safety

  1. Trust and Safety: 19 minutes by oorvimehta (A poem about a school shooting)
  2. Trust and Safety: Not really by super909 (Her school’s idea of dealing with a gunman is to throw books at him and tackle him)
  3. Trust and Safety by yash_kan (“You can’t trust everyone, and not everywhere is safe”)
  4. Trust and Safety: Where is that innocence I once knew? by Jennay (This teen does not trust teachers or the government)
  5. Trust and Safety: Small schools pro or con by marz2213 (This teen would feel safer in a small school)
  6. Trust and Safety: Not So Much by angigina (This teen feels obligated to trust institutions, because what other choice does she have?)
  7. Trust and Safety: The Generation of Terror by Freyii (This teen thinks the government is overreacting with excessive security measures)
  8. Trust and Safety: Are we really safe? by julie97 (Schools need to be more interactive with students)
  9. Trust and Safety: The School System Issue by Domacksoud (This teen thinks America wastes too much money in other countries when America’s school system is suffering)
  10. Trust and Safety: Safest at the Nest by aliwisnieski (Students in this teen’s high school deal drugs in the bathrooms)
  11. Trust and Safety: I’ll say by suzubelle (This teen trusts her school to keep her safe from gunmen, but not from bullies)
  12. Trust and Safety: False Protection of Nonsense by Zacgamer01 (This teen thinks school procedures for terrorist attacks are useless)
  13. Trust and Safety: School: A Danger Zone by ctlangdale13 (His school was drug searched many times thanks to teens bringing dangerous drugs into school)
  14. Trust and Safety: The Inner Protection by sheppersk (This teen is concerned about school shootings)
  15. Trust and Safety: Take Control by elizabethc (Schools should punish cyber bullies)
  16. Trust and Safety: At what cost? by tommorse22 (This teen feels subjugated in her high school, rather than safe)
  17. Trust and Safety: Getting Left Behind by flummerie (This teen is worried she won’t succeed in high school)
  18. Trust and Safety: The Yellow Tombstone by ceballance96 (This teen discusses the risks involved in riding the school bus)
  19. Trust and Safety: Bertie Early College High School by khalia.boone (Her school needs a better security system, stable teachers, and an escape plan)
  20. Trust and Safety: Are Our Schools Safe? by kethmini (The more teens you cram into a small space, the higher chance of violence)
  21. Trust and Safety: The Hypothetical Gunman by cossshmo (The gunman was never our enemy)

Cyber/Internet Safety

  1. Trust and Safety: The Cyber Version by SammytheBookWorm (This teen was bullied by a student in her online classroom)
  2. Trust and Safety: Cyber Bully by ruthie (This teen thinks cyber bullying should be made illegal)
  3. Trust and Safety: The wise aren’t in charge by CurlyDz (Teens have become numb to the dangers of the world because we are so frequently reminded of them)
  4. Trust and Safety: Cyber-bullying and my stang for justice by [email protected] (Violent television is the cause of cyber bullying)
  5. Trust and Safety: Parents Are Helpless Against Cyber-Bullying by pink94 (Facebook is toxic for teens, and parents can’t do anything to protect them)
  6. Trust and Safety: Defending Yourself Against Social Media by kestep (This teen watches what she says over the internet)


Our Safety

  1. Trust and Safety: A Delusional Dream by wisdomuniversal (We can only trust ourselves)
  2. Trust and Safety: A Crumbling Veil by abailey_agora (This teen is afraid for how unsafe the world will be in the future)
  3. Trust and Safety: In The Eyes of a ‘Kid’ by That-Girl-With-The-Smile (This teen only completely trusts her school to keep her safe)
  4. Trust and Safety: Do I Trust You? by KatyLovesYew (This teen doesn’t have much faith in anyone to keep her safe)
  5. Trust and Safety: What Can We Trust? by MeTheAwesome1 (Be careful with who and what you trust)
  6. Trust and Safety: Are we really safe in this world? by mamas (This teen admits she will never feel truly safe)
  7. Trust and Safety: Do you trust our institutions to keep us safe? by Lcsmileygirl82 (We need to be independent and protect ourselves)
  8. Trust and Safety: That’s a Word? by NCpollyCA (Safety is an illusion)
  9. Trust and Safety: What it really means? by Hj.Jasmine (This teen doesn’t trust the government or school system to keep her safe)
  10. Trust and Safety: Safety of Travelling by kbodell95 (She talks about the dangers of texting and driving)
  11. Trust and Safety: It’s Yours. Own It. by amanda.tucker (We have been taught not to take responsibility for ourselves)
  12. Trust and Safety: Who Can Hope to be Safe? by emilyr.harris (We endanger ourselves every day—but authority will not keep us safer)
  13. Trust and Safety: Common Sense by mward008 (Danger lurks everywhere, and it is up to us to take care of ourselves)
  14. Trust and Safety: It’s Impossible by klobes (It is impossible for our institutions to keep us completely safe)


Last Words: 

We could not list all of the essays submitted for this contest, but we thank every student that participated in the Trust and Safety writing contest.  To enter the current Stage of Life monthly writing contest for high school students and college students:

 

Press Release

Teen Writing ContestStageofLife.com Reports 59% of Teens Don't Trust the Government to Keep Them Safe

YORK, PA--(Marketwire - Nov 7, 2011) - There are scarier things for teens than textless mobile plans or a world without Facebook. StageofLife.com, a blogging community for teenagers, released its Teens, Trust and Safety report after it asked thousands of high school and college students, "Do you trust your parents, school or government to keep you safe?"

Throughout October, 5,216 people from all 50 states visited StageofLife.com during the data gathering phase, with 684 teens answering the survey and over 100 students submitting a personal essay about the issue.

Survey results:

  • 88% of teens trust their parents to keep them safe; 12% do not
  • 64% of teens trust their school to keep them safe; 36% do not
  • 41% of teens trust the government to keep them safe; 59% do not

From the essays, several themes emerged:

School Safety: Schools received a mostly negative wrap for their take on safety. Teens argued that cameras in the classroom, lockdowns, and metal detectors aren't doing enough to keep them safe.

Government Safety: Many teens are concerned the government is not doing enough to keep its citizens safe as a majority of teens have a vote of no confidence in the government to protect them.

Cyber Safety: Teens worry about the growth of cyber bullying, with many noting that their parents have never discussed online safety. A good rule of thumb from teen responders: do NOT add anyone you don't personally know as a friend on Facebook!

From the writing contest portion of the report, the winning essay was submitted by Amanda Tucker, 20, from Centre College in Danville, Kentucky. In her essay, "Trust & Safety: It's Yours, Own It," Tucker wrote, "You shouldn't trust someone with something that is ultimately your own responsibility. In today's society, projection of blame and continual displacement of responsibility are leading to a generation of youth who can't make their own decisions because all their lives they've been taught that someone else is responsible."

The Teens, Trust and Safety report and essays are available atwww.stageoflife.com/TeensTrustandSafety.aspx

StageofLife.com is a blogging community for teens to Baby Boomers featuring writing contestslesson plans, and education resources to encourage students to write outside of the classroom.

SOURCE: StageofLife.com

Writing Contest Archive - Students

Writing Contests and Teen Trend Reports

StageofLife.com Student Writing Contests

Below you will find all of the monthly writing contests and teen trend reports from the last five years hosted by StageofLife.com.  Our dedication to digital literacy efforts have reached over 1,000,000 students and teachers in the last half decade, received mention on TIME.com, and features in the news.  Feel free to click through and read the top essay submissions from any given month.  StageofLife.com is honored to be one of the most-visited writing contests for students in the world.  We love working with you as we celebrate the journey as life-long readers and writers...

2016 Writing Contests

Writing Contest for High School Students

2015 Writing Contests


2014 Writing Contests

 2013 Writing Contests





2012 Writing Contests

2011 Writing Contests

 2010 Writing Contests


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StageofLife.com was launched in 2009 as the premier destination for people of all ages to find information, coupons, and stories about one of ten key stage of life transitions:  high school, college, on my own, wedding, married without children, having a baby, home ownership, parenting, grand parenting, and empty nest/retirement.  Nearly 1 million visitors come to the site each year to find information about their stage of life.  Stage of Life users (teens, college students, Millennials, Gen Y, Gen X, and Baby Boomers) can also share and archive their life stories via their Stage of Life profile page.  Specialized content includes statistics, quotes, videos, financial tips, coupons, news, writing contests, and more tailored to each of the 10 life stages featured.  My Life Rewards® is the free discount program for all Stage of Life users, readers and writers dedicated to providing printable coupons and coupon codes tailored towards each stage of life.

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