College of Education Curriculum Research & Development Group (CRDG) faculty member, Thanh Truc Nguyen, received a two-year $435k grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. The program, Multimedia Juvenile Victimization (MJV): Insights into Youth Behavior to Help Law Enforcement, is gathering baseline data on prevalence and awareness of solicitous texting (“sexting”), frequency of solicitation and distribution of explicit images using online social networks, and types of technologies used for cyberbullying.

The purpose of the data will be to help law enforcement agencies better protect youth online as well as to help schools, parents, and community members understand how youth are using various media technologies. Surveys are being distributed to over 36,000 students in grades 5–12 and their parents, along with over 4,000 teachers, in Hawai‘i, California, Wyoming, and Virginia. Their participation is completely voluntary and anonymous.

Awarded by the Internet Crimes Against Children Research Grants division last fall, MJV has been gaining notoriety and support. The project was awarded the Outstanding Poster Presentation at the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education Conference in San Diego, California May 2010. While some concerned citizens question the allocation of taxpayer dollars for such a grant, the need and justification for the program continue to grow.

Director of the MJV project, Nguyen, explained, “This is a highly charged area of research, one that is new and not widely understood by parents and teachers. It can be uncomfortable for them to think about their children and this digital society in which we live, and it is especially scary when cyberbullying contributes to suicide. This grant will enable us to build up a knowledge base which considers school faculty needs, children’s voices, and parents’ concerns.”

May 13, 2010
Jennifer Parks
(808) 956-0416

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