An investigation of the techniques of extremist organizations to recruit youth on the Internet: A case study
Beverly Bracken Ray, The University of Alabama, United States
The University of Alabama . Awarded
Some children on the Internet may find themselves the target of the recruitment efforts of cyberspace white extremist organizations. Some experts such as those at the Southern Poverty Law Center have argued that white extremists are using the Internet in an effort to recruit America's computer literature youth. Using case study research with five cyberspace white extremist web sites, the study examined the extent of this problem.
The purpose for conducting the study was to investigate how cyberspace white extremist groups direct their propaganda and recruitment efforts at children. Several broad questions were used to shape the scope of the study: (1) To what extent are white cyberspace extremists using the Internet to target children? (2) What methodologies are employed by these groups in an effort to appeal to children? and (3) In what way does the technology of the Internet contribute to these activities?
The study found that cyberspace extremist groups do not currently pose a significant threat to children because they are insular, not well-linked into the mainstream of Internet society, and their recruitment efforts are not well organized. Evidence gathered during the study suggests that their current online recruitment efforts are opportunistic rather than aggressive in nature. Evidence gathered during the study suggests that the Internet is a catalyst for cohesiveness for groups, such as white extremists, that are geographically dispersed. The linkage between and among these sites creates a virtual economic agglomeration that is mutually beneficial to various white extremists and it aids in the establishment of a virtual enclave of white extremism. Also addressed in the study were implications for educators and parents and suggestions for further research.
Ray, B.B. An investigation of the techniques of extremist organizations to recruit youth on the Internet: A case study. Ph.D. thesis, The University of Alabama.
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