How do people become radicalised?

The process of radicalisation is different for each child, but there are some factors which can lead to young people becoming radicalised.

Underpinning the radicalisation process is an extremist ideology that seems appealing and credible, often because it appears to make sense of the young person’s feelings of grievance or injustice.

Personal vulnerabilities or local factors can make a young person more susceptible to extremist messages. These may include:

  • Sense of not belonging
  • Behavioural problems
  • Issues at home
  • Lack of self-esteem
  • Criminal activity
  • Being involved with gangs

Children don’t need to meet people to fall for their extremist beliefs. The internet is increasingly being used by extremist groups to radicalise young people. These groups will often offer solutions to feelings of being misunderstood, not listened to, or being treated unfairly.


A downloadable booklet for parents with information about extremism and radicalisation, produced by Educate Against Hate.

A Metropolitan police fact file including what is and is not defined as terrorism, and links to contact the Met.

The FAST website provides support for families whose children have travelled to conflict zones or who may be about to plot, or commit, acts of terror in the UK.

Tips and advice to help parents keep up with their children’s online activity.