Evidence-based practices are programs, practices, and policies that have been evaluated and shown to be effective at reducing or preventing risky behavior. These effective approaches include family interventions, community reinforcement, and skills training; however, implementing these programs requires coordination, effort, time, and money. Online interventions that incorporate evidence-based practices are a great way to affect behavior change in a timely and cost-effective way, especially for first-time offenders.
Why choose an online intervention over a face-to-face one?
1. Negative behavior may increase after group interventions
While there is some research that shows the effectiveness of a group intervention setting, there is quite a bit of evidence that actually shows negative effects from bringing together multiple people who are engaging in negative behavior. These studies found that high-risk youth support and encourage negative peer behavior, resulting in an increase in risky behavior after the intervention, rather than a decrease. An online intervention avoids this scenario altogether.
2. An online intervention is consistent but personalized
Online interventions are structured and consistent—the content is delivered the same way, every time. Trainer ability, skill or qualification (which can negatively or positively affect the effectiveness of a program) is a non-issue.
Additionally, clients are more authentic in online interventions because there is no temptation to give answers to fit their “image,” as there is in a classroom full of peers. And, because online courses aren’t as direct, people tend to answer more honestly and realistically, rather than trying to make themselves appear better, tougher or less concerned about the consequences of their behavior as they would in a group session.
3. Online programs are available 24/7 so there’s no excuse for non-completion
Face-to-face interactions are governed by schedules, so they have to move at a predetermined pace. An online intervention provides clients with the time and opportunity to reflect on their usage, negative consequences experienced from usage, and plans for change at their own pace. This allows for more genuine and thorough introspection. Furthermore, because classes are online, clients do not have to worry about missing class or fitting a class time into their already full schedules.
While there are other programs that have been shown to be effective as well, online interventions provide an attractive and low-cost alternative to the educational group for providing evidence-based practices to first-time offenders.