Today like never before, according to FBI, violent extremists of all kinds are deliberately targeting young people with poisonous propaganda—especially in cyberspace, where they are flooding social media with slick recruiting videos and persuasive calls to action.
The FBI’s investigations and analysis indicate that these efforts—to a disturbing degree—are succeeding. Across America, there are young people who are embracing various forms of violent extremism, actively communicating with violent extremists, and helping with recruitment.
Without warning, many teens are joining violent extremist groups in the U.S. or leaving their families and traveling to war zones thousands of miles away to enlist in violent extremist movements—some are even plotting and launching attacks in the U.S. and overseas.
In this hyper-connected world—where violent extremist information is only a click away—it’s more crucial than ever that young people learn what violent extremism really is, how it hurts innocent victims and perpetuates violence, and how its recruiting strategies are intended to deceive.
As part of its leading role in helping to prevent terrorist attacks and in sharing its expertise on public safety issues, the FBI is taking the next step in educating communities on violent extremism by launching a new, free program for teens nationwide.
It’s called Don’t Be a Puppet: Pull Back the Curtain on Violent Extremism, and the centerpiece is an interactive website that uses activities, quizzes, videos, and other materials to teach teens how to recognize violent extremist messaging and become more resistant to self-radicalization and possible recruitment.