New digital literacy program - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

New digital literacy program

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

If you're worried about what your child does on the internet, a new program promises to teach students to take advantage of the web, without it taking advantage of them.

It's kind of scary to imagine the many things that can go wrong, if you leave your child to learn about the internet on their own. This new digital curriculum promises to teach about the internet in the most beneficial and safe way...it's called "My Digital Life".

Side by side, republican Governor Bob McDonnell, and democratic Senator Mark Warner, stood united in support for a new curriculum that promises to better equip your children to deal with cyber bullies and even teach them how to create a blog, safely navigate social networking sites and even learn to do better research for school.

"Phone calls have given way to emails, that gave away to text, to now it's facebook, twitter and people are communicating vastly different ways and they're also learning," said Gov. McDonnell. 

"What particularly, why this is important to me and why I wanted to be here is as a dad," added Senator Warner.

Here's how the program, "My Digital Life" works: schools will have to adopt this program into their curriculum and install it onto the students computers and laptops.

It's geared towards 8th and 9th graders who will then spend about 3 and a half hours total going through the different lessons about how to safely set up an internet account, blog, chat, text and research.

Henrico County schools superintendent says he supports the initiative and says there is a real need.

"Even though we have many many filters,we have very creative students that have a way of getting around those filters and obviously continue to create problems," said Henrico County Schools Superintendent Dr. Russo.

By teaching students a better way to navigate the web, it could protect them from online predators, bullies, or crooks.

The brains behind this program Everfi and Neustar also hope students will grasp a passion for "stem" education - science, technology, engineering and math.

So how much does a program like this cost? The governor says it's free. It doesn't cost the students, the schools, or the state a dime.

The program was introduced last week in Kentucky, and so far eight districts there have adopted it.

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