Page Updated 25/04/2017
Parenting can be a challenging task and maintaining a positive relationship can sometimes be difficult as children grow, develop and seek an identity that may be different from that of their own family. As as our children grow up we have to take different steps to ensure their safety.
The internet provides entertainment, connectivity and interaction and children may need to spend a lot of time on the internet. Whilst studying, they use other social media and messaging sites such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Vine or Whatsapp, these can be useful tools but we need to be aware there are powerful programmes and networks that use this media to reach out to young people to communicate extremist messages.
Terrorist organisations are trying to radicalise and recruit young people through an extensive use of social media and the internet.
Young people may be drawn towards extremist ideologies because:
- They may be searching for answers to questions about identity, faith and belonging
- They may be driven by the desire for ‘adventure’ and excitement
- They may be driven by a need to raise their self-esteem and promote their ‘street cred’
- They may be drawn to a group or individual who can offer identity, social network and support
- They may be influenced by world events and a sense of grievance resulting in a need to make a difference
Signs to look out for may include:
- Out of character changes in dress, behaviour and peer relationships
- Secretive behaviour
- Losing interest in friends and activities
- Showing sympathy for extremist causes
- Glorifying violence
- Possessing illegal or extremist literature
Some suggestions that may assist you in keeping children and young people safe against radicalisation and extremism:
- Know where your child is and who they are with
- Know your child’s friends and their families
- Keep lines of communication open, listen to your child and talk to them about their interests
- Encourage them to take up positive activities with local groups that you can trust
- Talk to your child about what they see on the TV or the internet and explain that what they see or read may not be the whole picture
- Allow and encourage debate and questioning on local and world events and help them see different points of view
- Encourage your child to show an interest in the local community and show respect for people from all faiths and backgrounds
- Help your child to understand the dangers of becoming involved in situations about which they may not have the full information
- Teach them that expressing strong views and trying to change things for the better is fine but they should not take violent action against others or support those that do
- Be aware of your child’s online activity and update your own knowledge
- Know what social media and messaging sites your child uses
- Remind your child that people they contact over the internet may be pretending to be someone else or telling them things that are not true
- Explain that anyone who tells them to keep secrets from their family or teachers is likely to be trying to do them harm or put them in danger
- Consider what access your child has to savings accounts or gifts of money from family and friends (You may wish to suggest that gifts are made in kind and not in cash)
If you have any concerns that your child may be being influenced by others or that they may be imminently planning to travel call the Brent Family Front Door 020 8937 4300
If you are concerned that a child’s life is in immediate danger dial 999 or call the confidential Anti-Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789 321
If you feel there is a risk of a child leaving the country, consider what precautions you could take to prevent travel. You might want to consider taking the precaution of locking their passport in a safe place.
Some young people think they need to use a passport for confirming their age, they don’t, they can apply for an identification card. To obtain an official photo ID for the UK visit:
Educate Against Hate
Educate against hate gives parents, teachers and school leaders practical advice on protecting children from extremism and radicalisation.
Click on the picture below to go to the Educate against hate website.