- 2 december 2021
- Generaldirektoratet för migration och inrikes frågor
The RAN multi-meeting of the FC&S Working Group (with input from the RAN C&N and Y&E Working Groups) addressed the topic of support for families to build resilience against conspiracy narratives. The meeting served as an opportunity to explore 1) how media literacy can help to build resilience against conspiracy narratives among young people and adults and 2) how practitioners as well as family members can be supported in order to deal with individuals who are vulnerable to or already believe in conspiracy narratives.
The meeting gathered 25 practitioners, including social, family and youth workers, as well as practitioners involved in media literacy initiatives. Some of the main recommendations are listed below.
- When developing a media literacy initiative, make sure to carefully consider the target audience (i.e. young people or adults) and use low threshold approaches and trustful messengers.
- When dealing with individuals believing conspiracy narratives, social workers should:
- Constantly reflect on their own prejudices.
- Judge on attitudes, not on persons.
- Try tidentify the need the conspiracy narrative has been fulfilling for the individual and offer an alternative way of feeling empowered or useful.
- Ensure mutual communication and support by involving family members and by encouraging them tshare solutions and ideas.
- Create an alternative peer group to offer an alternative group instead of the radical structures.
- Guiding questions for families who want to engage with a family member who believes in a conspiracy narrative are:
- Perceive: What is behind your relative's statements?
- Analyse: Why are they bringing up a specific issue right now?
- Interact: How do you feel about this situation?
- Act: What could help both of you?
This paper presents the meeting highlights and inspiring practices in the EU. It also outlines the recommendations for first-line practitioners and (local) authorities. The annex includes a practical document for people who are looking for guidance on what to do when a family member or close friend believes in a conspiracy.