‘Helping criminal youths by understanding their online behaviour’

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‘Helping criminal youths by understanding their online behaviour’

When assisting criminal youths, social workers must ensure that they remain well informed about their online behaviour. Their street culture increasingly coincides with what they do on the internet.

By Joost van der Wegen

Photo is for illustration

Street life

It is important for counselors of criminal youths to know how their street life works. According to criminologist Jeroen van den Broek, this means that youth workers must continue to understand how the street and online go together: ‘My research shows that on “the street” online and offline are increasingly intertwined.’

Reaches

“It makes it necessary for social workers who work with criminal youths to consider online as part of their work,” says the researcher. ‘In this way they keep an eye on their living and perception world. That is crucial to be able to continue to reach, understand and positively influence them’, writes Van den Broek.

Van den Broek mainly refers to the help of young people in a ‘forced framework’. For example, if they are forced to cooperate with the court after a conviction.

The Internet has also led to other developments. Young people are increasingly ‘away from the street’ because they can meet each other online, according to the criminologist at Erasmus University.

Understanding

In general, he thinks care providers should be aware of how much influence cultural backgrounds have on these young people: ‘By understanding what norms, values ​​and expectations for behavior apply in their culture, you can connect with them as a professional. This allows you to assess the risks associated with them and intervene where necessary,’ says the researcher.

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