#PJstories – Interview with Joanna Pałka

Joanna participated in the Training Course “Radicalization Stop” organized by PROJUVEN in Torremolinos, Spain

Hello JoannaAccording to your opinion, what drives youth radicalisation?

Radicalism and extremism are big issues of today’s world. There are many causes of youth radicalization. Some of those are exclusion from the society, cultural differences, different views, religion and nationality or poverty. There’s a big need of counter actions to fight such problem, that rises every day.

What can we do to protect young people from extremist influences in the online environment? What are your tips for staying safe online?  

Nowadays, the internet is the fastest medium for sharing not only information, but also it is a great place for extremists to spread their ideas and to radicalize people. What’s more important is that young people are more susceptible to manipulation online than other age groups. When you think of possible ways of protecting youth from extremist influences you have to look for the ways to prevent such possibilities. First of all, governments should have some prevention programs over internet, which will help to protect people from extremist influences online. What’s even more important, is that people need to be educated when it comes to the internet usage. They should know how to check the information, especially their source to be able to detect the possibility of radicalization. Creating campaigns, articles, posts online would be also crucial in the process of making youth more aware of such situations. Two main tips for staying safe online are: trust no one on the internet and check the sources of the information and make sure, that the things you are reading are true.

What is the most important thing you have learned during the training? How do you plan to share and use your knowledge?

The most important thing, that I have learned during the training is that young (but not only) people, especially the ones that are not integrated in the society they live in, are more exposed to being radicalized. Immigrants, people from different world regions or with different beliefs than majority are only few examples. That’s why as a student and a journalist I’m going to try to make people more aware of that fact. But, as much as rising the awareness is important, it is also crucial, to help people integrate into the societies they live in. As we are all people, no matter where we come from, what we believe in or how do we look like.

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