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Online Safety & Security

In this section we will look at Online Security, Online Safety, Radicalisation and Extremism

The route to radicalisation

There is no single route to radicalisation. However, there are some behavioural traits that could indicate a person has been exposed to radicalising influences. Radicalisation in children can happen over a long period of time. In some cases it is triggered by a specific incident or news item and can happen much quicker. Sometimes there are clear warning signs of radicalisation, in other cases the changes are less obvious.

The teenage years are a time of great change and young people often want to be on their own, easily become angry and often mistrust authority. This makes it hard to differentiate between normal teenage behaviour or an attitude that indicates one of your friends or fellow students may have been exposed to radicalising influences.

Why does it happen?

It’s important to know the factors that can go to into making young people more vulnerable to radicalisation. The following is a guide only to assessing a persons vulnerability

  • Struggling with a sense of identity
  • Becoming distanced from their cultural or religious background
  • Crime, hate crime, conflict or war within their community.
  • Questioning their place in society
  • Conflict with their family or other social group.
  • Experiencing a traumatic event
  • Experiencing racism or discrimination
  • Difficulty in interacting socially and lacking empathy
  • Difficulty in understanding the consequences of their actions
  • Low self-esteem

Any of these issues make children and young people more susceptible to believing that extremists’ claims are the answer to their problems.

External factors play their part too, such as: community tension, events affecting the country or region where they or their parents are from, or having friends or family who have joined extremist groups. Exposure to one-sided points of view all contribute to the process of radicalisation.

Those young people involved with criminal groups, or who have found it difficult to reintegrate after being in prison or a young offender institution, may also be at risk.  Often someone is radicalised because they are vulnerable.

Identifying possible radicalisation

The following behaviours listed here are intended as a guide to help you identify possible radicalisation:

Outward appearance

  • Becoming increasingly argumentative
  • Refusing to listen to different points of view
  • Unwilling to engage with students who are different
  • Becoming abusive to students who are different
  • Embracing conspiracy theories
  • Feeling persecuted
  • Changing friends and appearance
  • Distancing themselves from old friends
  • No longer doing things they used to enjoy
  • Converting to a new religion
  • Being secretive and reluctant to discuss their whereabouts
  • Sympathetic to extremist ideologies and groups

Online behaviour

  • Changing online identity
  • Having more than one online identity
  • Spending a lot of time online or on the phone
  • Accessing extremist online content
  • Joining or trying to join an extremist organization