HYPER – How Young People Are Engaged by Radicals

Europe faces a real and ongoing threat from violent extremism. A small minority of groups continue to present false arguments and reasoning that seek to justify attacks on innocent civilians. Member states are being urged to take measures to prevent extremist voices and messages reaching those who are most vulnerable to these radical views.

There is a perception that those at risk of radicalisation have a low level of education and would generally fit the classification of disadvantaged young people, but extensive research indicates that the demographics in relation to religion, age, sex, education and financial backgrounds vary. What has been found is that many become radicalized in response to emotive messages and visuals and through frustration or outrage at perceived injustice or inequality.

The aim of the Erasmus+ HYPER project is to design and produce a full suite of educational resources that show the process or radicalisation in action. These resources will focus on demonstrating how radicalism can happen on the most popular digital and social media platforms where today’s young people hang out, and where many are at their most vulnerable.

The suite of simulation resources will act as a gateway to an online learning environment where a wide range of suitable and appropriate training resources will be provided. To accompany these simulation resources the project consortium will develop a peer training programme for young people interested in being credible voices against radical extremist rhetoric and actions.

Education is one of the key intervention tools available to EU Member States to counteract the growth of radicalisation, and front-line youth workers who engage with a wide cross-section of young people in a variety of formal , in-formal and non-formal settings are the most appropriate individuals to lead this fight.