During 2020 and 2021 Europe has gone through an extremely uncertain time with the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. This has given rise to a wide array of conspiracy theories related to the pandemic, for example, that the pandemic is a hoax, that the virus was created in a laboratory and that vaccination against Covid-19 is a cover-up for microchipping people. People believing in conspiracy theories leads to negative societal effects like dropping rates of people taking vaccinations, less likelihood of voting in governmental elections, people not taking actions to reduce their carbon footprint, and people developing prejudice and racist ideas towards minorities. Furthermore, believing in conspiracy theories leads to people distrusting and rejecting official information provided by scientists and governments which in turn can lead to an alienation from society and democracy. Throughout Europe, many young people have been home schooled during the pandemic and have therefore been isolated from their friends and teachers. During this period the use of social media among young people has increased and the combination of isolation from peers and increased input from social media, where conspiracy theories thrive, could be an ideal situation for conspiracy theories to flourish among younger groups.

Therefore, the overall aim of the Erasmus + funded, Critical Balance project is to prevent the risks that come from believing in conspiracy theories including racism, intolerance, and resistance towards science, among youth.

The specific objectives of the project that will work towards achieving this aim are:

1. to support and build capacity among youth workers with innovative methods and training on how to confront and prevent conspiracy believes, especially the ones with a racist core, among young people both in online and offline practices.
2. to increase young people's critical thinking and critical media literacy skills to better understand and deal with conspiracy theories when confronted with them, and thereby better cope with the novel risk and implication of digitalisation and the availability of disinformation.

The project target group is made up of students and youth workers.

The consortium consists of six European organisations and is working together for a period of 30 months.
For more detailed information and our developments, visit our website.

Project duration: 1st of January 2022 and 1st of July 2024.
Financial support: European Commission, Erasmus + Programme
Project website: https://www.criticalbalance.eu/.
This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This website and all its contents reflect the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.
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