Crimes against Children Research Center Receives Grant to Continue Work in Youth Internet Safety

By Erika Mantz, Media Relations
December 6, 2006

The Crimes against Children Research Center at UNH received a $150,000 grant from Verizon Monday, Dec. 4, to support the center’s ongoing efforts to better understand the evolving security issues of the Internet and how best to protect children from, and educate families about, online dangers.

The announcement was made at a special town meeting at UNH to promote a “Partnership for a Child-Safe Internet.” Among the participants were New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch, Attorney General Kelly Ayotte, and the center’s director, David Finkelhor.

UNH Interim President J. Bonnie Newman introduces David Finkelhor, director of UNH’s Crimes against Children Research Center, during a UNH town meeting held this week to promote a Partnership for a Child-Safe Internet. In addition to Newman and Finkelhor, participants included Governor John Lynch and Attorney General Kelly Ayotte. (Photo courtesy of UNH Photographic Services)

The Crimes against Children Research Center was founded in 1998 to develop high-quality, objective research concerning the incidence and impact of violence against children. Initial funding for the CCRC was provided by the US Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

According to a recent survey conducted by the center, one of every seven Internet users between the ages of 10 and 17 received an unwanted sexual solicitation over the course of a year – and nearly one of every three users in this age group was exposed to unwanted pornography during the year as well. The national survey on youth Internet safety was the second to be conducted by UNH researchers David Finkelhor, Janis Wolak and Kimberley Mitchell.

David Finkelhor, director of the Crimes against Children Research Center and a sociology professor at UNH, said: “This award will allow us to enhance our research on youth Internet safety, enabling us to amass more information and disseminate our findings to a wider audience. It’s crucial that we have ongoing, high quality and objective social scientific research that will allow us to stay on top of what's going on with young people and the Internet, to discern the effect it’s having and to inform our parenting, our teaching and our law enforcement.”

The ongoing research will allow the center to stay on top of what’s going on with teens and the Internet to inform parenting, teaching, public policy and law enforcement efforts.

Today’s town meeting was the first in a series of forums that Verizon will sponsor in locations around the country.

Other speakers included Tom Dailey, general counsel for Verizon Online; Dennis Shaw, chief operating officer of iSAFE Inc.; New Hampshire Commissioner of Education Lyonel Tracey; UNH Interim President J. Bonnie Newman; Portsmouth, N.H. Chief of Police Michael Magnant; and Alyssa Shooshan, project director for Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.).

“Verizon is delighted to partner with the University of New Hampshire to bring awareness to this important issue,” said Dailey. “Keeping children safe while they use the Internet is a priority for Verizon.”

For more information on the Crimes against Children Research Center visit www.unh.edu/ccrc/

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