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Redondo Beach teen honored at White House for online safety efforts

A 15-year-old Redondo Beach high school student was honored at the White House this week for her efforts to combat online harassment and abuse.

Mona Cho, a sophomore at Mira Costa High School, was among 15 young women across the U.S. honored by First Lady Jill Biden as part of the first “Girls Leading Change” celebration. The event took place on the International Day of the Girl on Oct. 11, a day that recognizes girls’ rights.

“These young women are protecting and preserving the earth, writing and sharing stories that change minds, and turning their pain into purpose,” Biden said in a statement. The White House Gender Policy Council selected the honorees.

Online safety has been a big concern especially among teens who might struggle with eating disorders, low self-esteem, harassment or comparing themselves with others.

Google-owned YouTube, TikTok, Facebook-owned Instagram and Snapchat are platforms most commonly used by teens. Nearly half of U.S. teens ages 13 to 17 have been bullied or harassed online, according to a 2022 survey from the Pew Research Center.

Cho, the only Californian honored at the event, has helped spread awareness about how teens can stay safe on social media. She serves on the Beach Cities Health District’s Youth Advisory Council where she’s also part of the Youth Health and Safety Committee.

As part of the committee, she led a team of five students who worked on an online safety campaign and created a short film about the issue. Cho also leads the Digital Online Safety and Empowerment Initiative through the Plan USA Youth Leadership Academy.

“Mona hopes to continue deploying film as a tool to promote online safety and call for change,” according to a White House news release.

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