The virtual world exposes young people and children to a variety of dangers, including online radicalization and violent extremism.
The increase in cases of online radicalization (internet-assisted terrorist radicalism) and functional illiteracy (about 50% of Albanian youth are functionally illiterate) are some of the main causes that have made young people easily manipulated and fall prey to networks of violent extremism.
Young people aged 15-25, whether or not they practice their religion, are especially at risk.
In the framework of the pilot project "Be Aware - Youth For Media Lietarcy", supported by the European Youth Foundation, Together for Life has held awareness meetings with young people in Dibër. The purpose of this project is to promote media education in schools and encourage critical thinking among young people, as one of the main ways to prevent online radicalization and any form of online manipulation, fake news, misinformation, propaganda.
20 young people from Dibra were trained by experts contracted by TFL during a 5-day workshop, where through various informal methods, group discussions, quizzes, young people were informed on topics such as: online radicalization, misinformation, propaganda, how to detect fake news / fact-checking tools, procedures used by extremist groups to manipulate young people, etc.
Young people receive information from a wide range of media sources (text messages, social networks, games, videos, etc.). All of these types of media have one thing in common: someone created the message and had a reason for doing so.
Recent incidents of violent extremism in Albania have raised concerns about the opportunities that the internet and social networks provide for extremist groups of all kinds to freely spread hatred and incitement to violence and to find an audience among vulnerable youth. Internet-aided terrorist radicalism is becoming more and more disturbing.
Young people also had the opportunity to meet with representatives of religious faiths in Dibër, to understand and discuss that extremist groups have nothing to do with religious believers.
On the fifth day of training
Proactive community engagement is essential in early identification of signs of radicalism, treatment, and intervention before radicalization has taken full shape. Indifference and disengagement harm vulnerable young people and especially the community.
Young people trained by the project staff have held informative meetings with peers to get acquainted with some of the techniques used by extremist groups for manipulation, how to confirm and verify news and posts on social networks, how to distinguish propaganda from misinformation / misinformation .