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New Social Media Program Launches in Jefferson County Middle School

As more digital platforms are introduced into schools, programs educating students how to use them are becoming more pertinent. Newburg Middle School has launched a new program to teach students how to be better online citizens.Seventh-grader Demetrius Harrison (pictured) clicked through the program called My Digital Life.“They have different games to teach you about different things like cyber bullying or what kind of information to put out on the internet if you do social networking...and who you share it with and how to be safe on the internet," he said.The program is now available at Newburg Middle School, and Principal Dianna Hicks said she expects it to become part of the school’s technology curriculum in February.My Digital Life was created by education tech company EverFi and is providing the program and training for free to any middle school across the commonwealth. Jefferson County Public Schools Superintendent Donna Hargens did not say whether all district schools would install and implement the program, but she acknowledged the multi-purposes the program offers."It's really about critical thinking and using technology in a safe way and they're making decisions," she said.Funding is being provided by a grant from Internet industries company Neustar. The company wants to encourage education and jobs in science, technology and math, said CEO Lisa Hook.For Kentucky, it’s an opportunity to begin educating students in how to be better online citizens, said David Couch, associate commissioner for the Kentucky Department of Education. His job is to bridge the gap between technology and instruction.“We really think they should have something called Digital License. A course like this is pretty fantastic for that. You learn the basics of the technology; you learn the basics of what it means to be a good digital citizen before you get the tool in your hands," said Couch.It would be difficult to mandate the My Digital Life curriculum, but Couch said expects to market it across Kentucky soon.

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