logo: e-youth-works



Situation, problem and motivation: Adolescents are particularly vulnerable when it comes to extremist propaganda spread via the internet and the New Media. One the one hand, this is due to young people being more susceptible to radical positions and groups, while these media, on the other hand, play an essential role in their life and in their developing identities. In order to protect young people adequately and effectively, two things are necessary: not only instruments for stemming extremist internet propaganda, but also, and even more importantly, media-related socio-pedagogical prevention and de-radicalization strategies. The latter must in turn be able to reach youths with little or no economic, cultural and social resources.

For this, Open Youth Work (Offene Jugendarbeit, OJA) offers an especially promising approach with its internet and media-related interventions (= e-youth work). The combination of on- and offline-interventions, the latter of which are based on a personal relationship of trust, strengthens critical and reflective media competence and empowers young people to use these media constructively and participatorily. The low-threshold approach used in Open Youth Work provides access to usually difficult-to-reach, yet highly relevant target groups for preventative (media-) interventions. However, currently, e-youth work is not being used systematically in Austria and there is a considerable need for professional reflection and development; at the same time, little scientific research into this area of Open Youth Work has been conducted to date.

Aim and innovative content: The research project aims

  • to generate evidence-based knowledge about the use, the practices and the potential impact of e-youth work with a special focus on the media-related prevention of radicalization in order to foster a professional practice of Open Youth Work.
  • to address the vast need for development in Open Youth Work: using New Media more frequently and more diversely is crucial to creating sustainable strategies for the protection of young people against extremist internet propaganda. Central national stakeholders will be included in the project as partners.

Intended outcomes and findings:

  • A representative research report about existing know-how and concrete needs for training and development in using e-youth work to prevent radicalization,
  • extensive findings concerning innovative examples of good practice (in regard to dealing with extremist online-propaganda), their work methods, qualities of relationships and impacts,
  • workshops for professionals in the field as well as for relevant stakeholders (RAN Austria, amongst others) in order to generate knowledge which can directly be fed back into practice,
  • guidelines for practitioners: e-youth work as an instrument for the prevention of radicalization and for de-radicalization; a catalogue of recommendations for organizations providing Open Youth Work, for the training of professionals in the field and for Austrian youth and security policy.


The project is funded by the Austrian Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology (BMVIT) as part of the KIRAS security research program.



Project Partners

Project Period

November 2016 to April 2019

Project Manager

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