Spotlight on Youth engagement
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has given new opportunities for violent extremists and terrorists to radicalise and recruit. During the pandemic they have particularly targeted vulnerable young people – who are spending more and more time online – through gaming platforms and chat rooms.
Government measures to stop the spread of the virus have had a significant social and mental health impact on young people. With universities, schools, youth centres and sports clubs closed, young people (namely those over 12 years of age) are cut off from their friends and social networks. As a result, young people are increasingly isolated, frustrated and uncertain about their future.
With violent extremists and terrorists seeking to capitalise, the need to reach out to and engage with young people has never been more important. While practitioners must find new ways to engage with young people online, as government measures are eased towards the summer we must also consider how to engage young people offline, in schools and out in the community.
In this Spotlight, RAN practitioners working in the fields of youth work and education, including the Working Group leaders of the RAN Youth and Education Working Group, share their insights and experiences on different aspects of the challenge, including how to engage with young people online, in the classroom, through art and through sport. We also hear the perspectives of young people themselves.