Safeguarding children from extremism

27 06 18

The three conferences, held in London, Manchester and Bournemouth last week brought together Safeguarding Leads, teachers and youth workers to learn about protecting youth from extremism online using HNH’s latest research.

Owen Jones, director of education at HNH, says he realised the need for training teachers on the far-right after a student asked him if he was a social justice warrior in the classroom.

“The teacher didn’t understand the significance but luckily, I’ve been around HNH’s researchers enough to recognise language that can be used by the alt-right,” he says. “This is sometimes discussed in the news but not in detail and we need teachers to be aware of this.”

The aim of the workshops was to better equip educators to tackle questions and topics students are confronted with in the online world.

HNH revealed that immediately after the Westminster attack last year, where a terrorist injured more than 50 people, five of them fatally, the twitter profile with the most hits in the UK was far-right conspiracy theorist Paul Joseph Watson and the most popular youtube video about it was Tommy Robinson’s (Stephen Lennon), former leader of the English Defence League who is now imprisoned.

Joe Mulhall, senior researcher at HNH, says it is certain students discuss topics like Tommy Robinson between themselves. Joe presented key figures in the far-right and alt-right international scene, as well as the different groups to watch out for such as Generation Identity, a far-right youth-led movement.

“There is no way children in schools are not seeing alt right material on youtube as it is so widespread,” says Joe. “Kids don’t just google swastikas, it’s through gateway movements like anti-feminism that they can get dragged into far-right spheres – it’s only a few clicks away.

Joe says many youth don’t understand the terminology or iconography they’re using has been subverted by the far-right or alt-right online.

The conference also included workshops on spotting the signs of radicalisation and how social media is used to “normalise” hate in schools

HNH has produced copious amount of research on hate, the far-right and alt-right. The conferences are part of a wider strategy to build resilience in communities against the divisive messages of the far-right.


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