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Project Information

Cyber-violence is increasing exponentially as social networking applications such as Instant Messaging, Facebook, and MySpace are developed, deployed, and reach increasingly younger users. These young users frequently fall victim to cyber-predators and cyber-bullies. The National Science Foundation (NSF) recently funded a grant "Tracking Predators and Bullies Via Chat Log Transcripts" to support research into providing solutions for protecting children. Advances in both communicative theory and information retrieval technologies are required to accomplish the goals of this project. This website is designed to both provide technical support and data for the project, as well as keep interested readers informed about our progress.

Our preliminary work studied chat logs between convicted predators and adults posing as youth (pseudo-victims). We have developed a communicative theory of Internet predation based on a close communicative study of the dialog used by the predator, as well as a prototype software application, ChatCoder, that is used to assist in the analysis of chat transcripts and development of the codebook which is an essential piece of the communicative theory. This software continues to be updated and enhanced as the project progresses to ensure that the MCS researchers are able to perform their analysis in the most efficient manner.

In addition to developing a software program that protects children from cyber-predators and cyber-bullies, our project gives us the opportunity to make predator and bully chat data available to other researchers. Currently, there is very little labeled data available for this type of research; therefore, one of our most important tasks is the compilation of a set of labeled data that we will make available to the communications and information retrieval research communities.

For information on how to assist us by providing data to the project, please click on the "Upload Transcripts" link on this page.