Signs of radicalisation in a teen: do you know the indicators?

We understand how hard it is if you’re worried your child may be at risk of radicalisation, but we are here to listen and can help. By reaching out early for support and advice, you can help protect your child before their extreme views become more of a danger to themselves or others.

It can be difficult to spot some of the signs in children and younger people. This is because they are often associated with ‘typical teenage behaviour,’ which is why it’s important to consider the intensity of the behaviour you are noticing rather than any one sign.

What could make my child vulnerable to radicalisation?

There are many reasons that can make a young person vulnerable to exploitation by extremists. This includes having a low self-esteem or a lack of belonging, or if they have been the victim of bullying or discrimination, which has left them feeling isolated.

Radicalisation can take place online, or face to face by someone they know including friends and family, or by contact with extremist groups. Sometimes curiosity can lead children or teenagers to seek out the groups themselves, or research information they feel supports their views.

Some key indicators of radicalisation to watch out for in your child are:

are they becoming increasingly isolated from family and friends?
do you feel like they are talking as if from a script?
are they unwilling to engage with you about their views?
are they becoming intolerant of other people’s views?
are they becoming increasingly angry about issues or events they feel are unfair or unjust?
are they being secretive about who they are meeting online or in person?

In most cases these signs won’t be linked to radicalisation and there will be other explanations for your teen’s behaviour. Talk to them to find out what could be causing them to react in this way. Don’t ignore behaviours you are concerned about.

Acting early can protect your child from extremism

Parents and family members are best placed to notice any small changes taking place and so it’s important to trust your instincts and if you’re worried, reach out for advice.

If you think it, tell someone. It’s probably nothing, but it could be something. By acting early you can get your child the help and support they might need to choose a new pathway before it’s too late.

Helping all parents understand the risks

We partnered with the UK’s largest parenting site Netmums’ to help parents understand why they need to have radicalisation on their radar and how to make their child more resilient. To check out the four information guides click below.

Go to Netmum's website

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