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A Guide to Keeping Children and Young People Safe from Radicalisation and Extremism

Advice for Parents 


There have been numerous media reported incidents of young people targeted by adults whom hold extremist views online encouraging them to engage in violence and also to leave home and join extremist/terrorist groups. This has placed vulnerable young people in extreme danger both in this country and abroad. This document is designed to inform parents to aid recognition of when their child may be at risk when online and where to go for help if they have concerns.

 What is Radicalisation and extremism?

`Extremism` is where someone holds views that are intolerant of people who are of a different culture, religion, ethnicity, sexual identity or gender. , It also promotes the use of violence towards members of the armed forces both in England and abroad. Extremists may try to force their views onto others and may believe in the justification of violence to support their aims. `Radicalisation` is the process where a vulnerable young person or adult comes to support terrorism and extremist beliefs associates with terrorist groups. Extremists try propaganda and influence in many different forms particularly online to attract people to their cause and persuade them that their world view is the correct view.

Why do young people become radicalised?

Young people can be drawn into extremist views because:

  • They are in a period of change trying to make sense of the world
  • It makes them feel a sense of belonging to something
  • It may give them a form of identity
  • They could be looking for adventure or excitement
  • They feel their religion or way of life is under threat
  • They are under pressure from friends whom have links to such groups
  • They may have a personal grievance based on experienced racism or a form of discrimination/marginalisation

How are young people radicalised?

Young people may come into contact with adults or peers with extremist views, this can either be online or in everyday life. Contact online can be through social media such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter or maybe through particular Apps including Whatsapp,Yik Yak or Omegle.Extremists make use of online social media profiles as it’s hard to monitor and identify the senders. Extremists manipulate young people by sing emotional triggers to engage with them these triggers may include, bereavement, emotional trauma, social isolation or mental health issues. 

What signs should parents look for?

  • Losing interest in previous activates and friendships
  • Secretive behaviour such as switching/hiding screens when you appear them on the computer/Xbox
  • Out of character changes in behaviour, dress and changes in friendship groups
  • Owning mobile phones you haven’t given them
  • Showing sympathy for extremist causes
  • Glorifying violence
  • Accessing extremist material/imagery or websites
  • Showing a mistrust of mainstream media and belief in conspiracy theories
  • Being angry about government policies

So what can parents do to keep young people safe?

  • Make sure you know where your child is and who they are with
  • Be aware of your child’s online activity and check which social media sites they use, any concerns with social media sites can be reported directly to your local police and the Counter Terrorism Internet Referral Unit at
  • Help your child to become critically aware of what they see on TV and the internet by fostering and encouraging them to see different points of view and to respect other cultures diversity
  • Talk to your child about their lives and interests, encourage participation in positive activities
  • Remind your child that people they contact over the internet may not be telling the truth and if they are asked to keep a secret they may be at risk of harm

Where to get help if you need it

If you are worried that your child may be in contact with people whom are trying to radicalise them you can contact the following people for advice Cleveland Police on 101 or 999 Middlesbrough Council Safeguarding Team on (01642) 726004

Useful Websites

Report extremist content to social media providers. Find out more at:

To report suspected online terrorist content please follow:

Prevent Tragedies this website was created because of the increasing concern about the worrying numbers of young people who are putting themselves at risk by travelling to Syria and other conflict zones and to help the numbers of families that have been torn apart by fear when their loved ones travel

Educate against Hate