Questions & Answers

There is no single route to radicalisation.

Radicalisation can occur quickly, or over a long period. Sometimes there are clear warning signs, in other cases the changes are less obvious. Teenage years are a time of great change and young people are often solitary, quick to anger and distrustful of authority. As a parent, you are best placed to recognise when your child is acting out of character. The behaviours described here are intended as a guide to help you identify possible radicalisation: have confidence in your instincts and seek advice if something feels wrong.

Your child becoming argumentative and unwilling to listen to other people’s points of view. Refusal to engage with or become abusive to peers who are different to themselves, perhaps on the basis of race, religion, gender or sexuality. Becoming susceptible to conspiracy theories and feelings of persecution.

Changes in friendship groups and appearance: young people may distance themselves from friends, both online and offline, convert to a new religion, significantly change their appearance or clothing, and reject activities they used to enjoy.

A change of online identity, including own social media name or profile image. This may include two parallel online profiles – one being the ‘normal’ or old self, and the other being an extremist identity, often with another name. Spending excessive amounts of time online or on the phone, and be secretive and reluctant to discuss activities and/or whereabouts.

Further signs include expressions of sympathy for extremist ideologies and groups or justification of their actions, accessing extremist material online, including on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, possessing other forms of extremist literature, being in contact with extremist recruiters and joining or seeking to join extremist organisations.

Popular Resources

A non-profit organisation that works with others to make the internet a safe place for children.

Provides vital information for parents looking to understand the risks involved if children travel to Syria.

A collection of articles, tips, expert advice and other resources to help parents keep up with what their children are doing online.

Anonymously report any online material promoting terrorism.

The NSPCC is the leading children’s charity in the UK, specialising in child protection and dedicated to the fight for every childhood.

Helps families deal with the many difficulties thrown up by the pace of technological change, and helps parents keep children safe online.

Information for parents on keeping children and young people safe against radicalisation and extremism.

Advice on keeping children and young people safe online, from Childnet International, SWGfL and the Internet Watch Foundation, plus a helpline and a hotline.