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Raised By Wolves

the feral boys of the internet

Raised By Wolves peers into online youth culture in a community in Appalachia and works with experts to reveal the complex ecosystem increasing the risk of radicalization of youth exposed to weaponized misinformation, toxic content and far right extremism in social media and online gaming.

While the acceleration of hate-fueled violence is happening across the country and around the globe — this is a personal story anchored in our community.

Contrary to popular perceptions that dangerous content is confined to dark corners of the Internet, it is hiding in plain sight on mainstream platforms frequented by children and teens. Meanwhile adult, organized white supremacist groups in the region are accelerating, drawing inspiration and strategies from European fascist movements of the 1920-30s, which is distilled into youth-centered memetic content reimagined for an opioid traumatized, post-industrial Appalachia.

The documentary is intended to help society confront increasing risks to youth and targeted community members and to understanding the systemic nature of the problem rooted in our times, our tech and our history.


featuring experts and community members in Appalachia

Raised by Wolves weaves together insights from experts — in adolescent development, masculinity and cultural identity, far right extremism and the role of technology platforms in weaponizing hate — with the stories of Appalachians navigating a crisis of hate in online and real world communities.

Jessica Acee

Educator and co-author of Confronting White Nationalism in Schools from Western States Center in Portland, Oregon

Saba Ashfaq

Community member, parent, public health research and outreach director for The Rural Digital Youth Resiliency Project

Jason Blazakis

Director at the Center on Terrorism, Extremism, and Counterterrorism, Middlebury Institute of International Studies

Caleb Cain

Appalachian, former 'alt-right' extremist, currently studying misinformation, the far right, cults and terrorism

Heather Chaplin

Journalist, author and media critic on dis/misinformation, director of Journalism + Design at the New School, NYC

Colin Clarke

Educator, political scientist and researcher on extremism at the Institute for Politics and Strategy at Carnegie Mellon University

Chloe Cooper

Investigative journalist and research analyst at Political Research Associates

Hawa Diawara

Community member, Tedx speaker, and activist for Black Americans and Muslim youth in Appalachia

Michelle Ferrier

Founder of TrollBusters.com and scholar of new media technologies, digital identity and online abuse

Rachel Fetty

Community member, parent and attorney in family law and child advocacy in Appalachia

Rebecca Lewis

Social scientist and researcher on political subcultures, media manipulation, disinformation, and principle author of Data and Society’s report Alternative Influence: Broadcasting the Reactionary Right on YouTube

Thomas McBee

Thomas Page McBee is an author, film and TV writer, reporter on gender and culture. His award-winning memoir, Man Alive, was named a best book of the year, and his recent book, Amateur, explores masculinity’s ties to violence

Cynthia Miller-Idriss

Author and scholar of far-right extremism, director of the Polarization and Extremism Research & Innovation Lab at American University in Washington, D.C.

Alex Newhouse

Researcher, Center on Terrorism, Extremism, and Counterterrorism at Middlebury Institute, specializing in white supremacy and the Internet and far-right extremism on gaming platforms

Niobe Way

Professor of Developmental Psychology at New York University researching the intersection of cultural ideologies and child social and emotional development



Cinematography and photography features work by media makers in Appalachia, including Tyler Channel, Joel Beeson, Emily Pelland, Curren Sheldon, Jesse Wright and Rob Simmons. Animation sequences are by Brad Stalnaker, video artist Kid Kadian and Tristan Zammit


Raised by Wolves was shot on location in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia and Kentucky.

Scenes also include filming shot on location in Poland and New Zealand.

Interviews were shot in West Virginia, Washington D.C., Portland, Oregon, San Francisco and Berkeley, California, New York City and Brooklyn, New York.


The documentary includes original music composed by Appalachian musicians, including rapper Geonovah from Big Stone Gap, Virginia, Nothing & Everything from Alabama, and Soft Pain from Ashland, Kentucky.

Quotes from the film

I just do not know how people can ring one more dollar of suffering out of vulnerable people. When you have a community that's so ingrained in extraction, extraction without fair compensation, where nobody owns a thing; you get paid, when you get sick they pay you off, when you die they pay your widow, and it's never, ever, ever enough. But that's what's happening. — Rachel Fetty, community member, parent, child advocate

What happened in Christchurch, New Zealand, it was like a limb in my body just ached…I died that day with my brothers and sisters who died in the masjid that day. And I'm sure many other people, even if you're not even Muslim, just being a human being and knowing that pain. You had to feel something. — Hawa Diawara, community member, activist for Black Americans and Muslim youth in Appalachia

(Parent) What do you see the most of? (Child) "Homophobic, anti-Muslim" Would you ever report a page? — "No because there isn’t any point….Instagram isn’t going to take their time to look, so there’s no point." What do you think would be helpful? — "This."

White supremacists have identified gaming as a way to get through to younger kids. So if a parent peeks in their kid’s bedroom, and they see that they’re playing video games with a headset on, they don’t think anything of it because that’s not out of the norm. Unbeknownst to the parents, there’s a lot more nefarious things that are percolating under the surface. — Colin Clark, The Soufan Center

I think when you hand over a generation to be raised by media, especially the kind of media system where the business model is to keep you hooked, and the most effective hook is this extreme content, you have real questions about our future. I mean, you're handing over a whole generation to be raised by wolves. — Heather Chaplin, media scholar

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release dates, upcoming events, trainings and resources
We hope this work can help advance public understanding of the unique risks Appalachia and America’s youth face online.

Programming and research accompanying the documentary also address youth data privacy risks, mis/disinformation targeting, exposure to violence and other harmful content. We take a solutions-oriented approach and collaborate with a generous network of researchers, journalists, technologists, and affected community members to document and address these risks.

We will be working with our community partners to host public screenings of the documentary, community conversations and to provide trainings for parents, educators, mental health professionals, community leaders and other concerned citizens. Sign up here to learn more about upcoming events in your community.