Connect - Project Cybersafety
Connect - Project Cybersafety

Connect: Building an online intervention matrix together

Project leader
dr. Willem Bantema
April 2022 - April 2023

Research shows that municipalities mainly use physical and reactive interventions to prevent disorder, while there is a desire and a need for more preventive and online intervention at the front end. This project contributes to substantiated knowledge and understanding of online intervention possibilities.

What is the motivation for the project?

In Amsterdam and the Amstelland municipalities, it is increasingly common to see online agitation and provocation lead to serious violent incidents. An example of this is tensions between drill party groups and the resulting disturbances in public order and violence. Amsterdam wants to better understand how online group dynamics can lead to violence on the street and, based on this, be able to de-escalate, intervene and find ways to prevent or reduce future violence. There is a lot of experience with the role that neighbourhood policemen, youth workers and street coaches can play offline in making contact with young people and offering them what they need (setting boundaries and offering perspective). However, an increasing part of young people's lives takes place online. Professionals therefore see the need to be more present online and to better understand and respond to what is going on there.

What problem does the project solve?

The project's first goal is to further fill the online toolbox and action framework for Amsterdam and other municipalities by generating an overview of experiential knowledge and evidence- and practice-based possibilities for further limiting online disturbances and nipping them in the bud at an early stage. With this project, we aim to deliver an online intervention matrix to counter online agitation and challenge.

Project team

  • Dr. Willem Bantema (project leader)
  • Sipke de Vries
  • Anna Bartelds MA (Thorbecke Academy/ research group Cybersafety)
  • Prof. Dr. Tom Postmes
  • Dr. Hedy Greijdanus (University of Groningen/ Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences)

Project approach

The project consists of three phases. In the first phase, a literature review is carried out on the basis of scientific literature and grey literature (e.g. evaluations and policy documents). This results in an overview of the existing intervention possibilities online and offline and what can be learned from them with regard to effectiveness and mechanisms (why does it work).

In the second phase - which partly runs parallel to the first phase - an inventory is made of best practices and concrete experiences from practice. This will be done primarily by conducting interviews/focus groups with various professional groups who have experience with online interventions. We also involve the credible messengers of ADAMAS to make use of their knowledge of experience. This phase helps to map what is already happening in practice but is not being recorded (evaluations often do not take place) and also helps to align interventions with practice to complement the first phase.

The third phase of the project is aimed at bringing together the insights and developing a framework for action. On the one hand, this framework provides an overview of possible working methods and intervention options. On the other hand, the framework is a tool for the analysis and better understanding of the online group dynamics that can lead to violence and public disorder. The framework also offers insight into the preconditions for effective deployment of the online intervention possibilities outlined. Thus, the final product is created: an online intervention matrix that will be further developed in future projects.

What are the main and preliminary results?

This ongoing research project will produce four products:

  • Literature review
  • Inventory of best practices and concrete experiences from practice
  • Framework for action with possible approaches and interventions
  • Online intervention matrix that will be further developed in future projects
Sustainable Development Goals

This project contributes to...