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Building Networks & Addressing Harm: A Community Guide to Online Youth Radicalization

Healthy, diverse and cohesive communities thrive when everyone in them feels included, respected and safe. Adults who interact with young people have a crucial role to play in building resilient communities of inclusion. But to accomplish that, they need tools and support.

Building Networks & Addressing Harm: A Community Guide to Online Youth Radicalization aims to deliver those resources. A joint publication by SPLC and American University’s Polarization and Extremism Research and Innovation Lab (PERIL), the Community Guide empowers readers to strengthen their communities by building grassroots networks to prevent radicalization and foster inclusion.

This guide provides readers actionable steps to support those who have been targeted by hate-fueled acts. It offers adults information and practical lessons about how to help young people resist the manipulative rhetoric and the supremacist narratives they encounter online and off, and to identify warning signs and intervene when a young person seems to be heading in a dangerous direction.

“Each trusted adult in a young person’s network of care has a unique vantage point into young people’s lives,” said Dr. Brian Hughes, Associate Director at PERIL. “That network of trusted adults – whether they’re coaches, religious leaders, tutors, or others – has an opportunity to help young people build resilience against the manipulation of extremist groups. They are also the first line of support for those who have been targeted and harmed. Those two roles go together, each one strengthening the other.”

The guide is available for free here. We encourage you to share it widely across your community to help strengthen and prepare networks of trusted adults to reduce harm and build resilience in your community.


Acknowledgments: Pasha Dashtgard, PERIL Senior Researcher; Emily Pressman, PERIL Research Assistant; Lydia Bates, SPLC Senior Research Analyst; Wyatt Russell, PERIL Project Manager; Daisy Gebbia-Richards, PERIL Research Assistant; Brian Hughes, PERIL Associate Director; Cynthia Miller-Idriss, PERIL Director

Illustration by Claudia Whitaker