A program designed to keep kids safe from adult-oriented materials could potentially reach more students this year if a push by organizers is successful.

The free program, dubbed the Utah Child Protection Registry, also known as the Do-Not-Contact List, was created by the state Legislature in 2004 and implemented in July 2005. People add their e-mail addresses and phone numbers to the list to prohibit companies from sending them adult-oriented advertisements. Currently about 350,000 people participate in the program, and Rachelle Milbank, spokeswoman for Unspam Technologies — the Murray-based company that contracts with the state — said the company hopes to reach even more this year.

"We all feel that there is definitely a lot more room for growth," Milbank said.

The statute classifies adult-oriented materials as those marketing alcoholic beverages or products, tobacco, pornographic material, illegal drugs, gambling and prostitution. Milbank said that middle school students are particularly vulnerable to such solicitations, as they're at the age where they get their first cell phones and private e-mail addresses.

Milbank said her company is looking at working with the schools in a variety of ways, possibly by sending fliers home with students, sponsoring competitions that feature prizes, and working with Miss Utah to speak at assemblies. The company recently concluded its second annual video competition where ninth- to 12th-graders could submit a self-produced movie to be used as a public service announcement.

Paul Murphy, spokesman for the Utah Attorney General's Office, said the registry fulfills an important need. Murphy's office oversees the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and he said he believes the registry is effective. If companies continue to send solicitations to addresses on the list, they can be sued.

The possibility of litigation has served as a deterrent, he said.

"People know that … there are going to be consequences," he said. "If someone sends an adult-oriented message to a child, they could face a lawsuit from the state of Utah."

Ultimately, Unspam's main objective is to get parents on board. That's what makes all the difference, Milbank said.

"It's definitely a family-geared program," Milbank said. "Going through the schools is the best way to target a parent."

Unspam Technologies also services Michigan — the only other state with such a program.

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