Sophia “Hunter” StadnykSophia “Hunter” Stadnyk, a rising junior at Patriot High School, received national attention for the original article, “How media influenced child influencers,” featured on the Best of SNO website. The article was initially published on The Charge, Patriot High’s online publication. The Best of SNO is renowned for showcasing exemplary work from student-run online newspapers across the United States. In the 2023-24 school year, SNO received over 16,400 articles, yet only the top 15%, amounting to 2,400 articles, videos, podcasts, and photo essays, were selected for publication by the student contributors.

In the article, Stadnyk takes an in-depth look at the role of social media in the lives of child influencers and the darker aspects it brings to the surface, such as child exploitation, online bullying, and its effects on mental health.

Stadnyk explained that the purpose of the article is to “raise consciousness about the profound influence social media has had on the younger generation, particularly child influencers.”

“I was inspired to write this because of what I grew up with and what I’ve seen the younger generation grow up with. I wanted to make sure that those kids were being seen and bring awareness to the likes of child exploitation in today’s world,” Stadnyk added.

Stadnyk credits taking Ms. Aleda Weathers’ journalism class with fostering the freedom to voice opinions, the motivation to write articles, and a holistic appreciation for journalism.

“Mrs. Sarah Rouzzo, [language arts teacher] also helped me by giving me the space to write my thoughts whenever we read something in class, as well as being able to discuss what we read as a group instead of just being forced to keep it all in our heads,” shared Stadnyk.

From the website, Best of SNO seeks to recognize excellent journalistic work and inspire other students with innovative ideas and approaches to traditional news media.