Letter to the Editor
To cap off National Digital Citizenship Week, held from October 15-19, I feel compelled to point out a missed opportunity by our local media to support the mandatory integration of responsible digital citizenship into our P-12 educational curriculum here in Kentucky. As a doctoral student, instructor, and athletic trainer in the university setting; I have found our youth are provided numerous platforms for communication and research, but have a limited sense of responsibility in using this technology.
We currently teach our youth basic computing, but fail to equip them with necessary skills in an evolving technology-based world. Instances ranging from inappropriate social media posts, online safety, cyberbullying, or plagiarism could be preventable through structured curriculum teaching students the foundational skills of digital citizenship. These skills are crucial at any age relating to unintentional sharing of personal information online as well as appropriate use of technology etiquette including mobile devices, instant messaging, and email correspondence.
Incredibly, the framework for this curriculum has already been developed through the University of Kentucky’s Digital Driver’s License (DDL) program as an open educational resource, free from budget restraints at the district level. Customizable to any age level, this program offers a self-directed learning style for students to progress through scenarios addressing proper digital citizenship with a self-assessment quiz at the conclusion of each module. I urge each parent to research this program (https://otis.coe.uky.edu/DDL/launch.php), contact your superintendent, and reach out to your state legislator to promote this educational reform. Positive habits established at a young age will aid in making responsible digital citizens of the future.
Dustin R. Wilson, MS, LAT, ATC
Associate Athletic Trainer / Adjunct Instructor
Western Kentucky University