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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.

For more information on how to spot the signs of radicalisation visit ACT Early.


Support and advice to parents, with contributions from the leading experts and organisations in matters related to young people and families in a digital world. Parent Info is a collaboration between Parent Zone and NCA-CEOP. It aims to cover all of the issues amplified by the internet and can be recommended to parents looking for support on how to ensure their children keep safe online.

A pocket-size booklet for parents with information about extremism and radicalisation, produced by Educate Against Hate. This leaflet can be printed out or emailed to parents. Free printed versions are also available to order using the website’s ‘Contact Us’ form.

Radicalisation is the process by which a person comes to support terrorism and extremist ideologies. If you are worried someone close to you is becoming radicalised act early and seek help. The sooner you reach out, the quicker the person you care about can be protected from being groomed and exploited by extremists.

Police forces across the country have specially trained Prevent officers who work with professionals in health, education, local authorities and charities, as well as faith and community groups to help vulnerable people move away from extremism. They are here to listen and offer help and advice. Receiving support is voluntary.

Friends and family are best placed to spot the signs, so trust your instincts and share your concerns in confidence.

They can help if you act early. You won’t be wasting police time and you won’t ruin lives, but you might save them.

To find out more about how to help someone close to you visit ACT Early.

Online safety advice for parents from Childnet International, a non-profit organisation helping to make the internet a safe space for children. Whether you’re puzzled by parental controls or would like to know more about gaming, Childnet International can help parents keep up to speed with what children and young people are doing online. The website includes a whole host of useful ways to keep your child safe, from the basics every parent needs to know, to hot topics and emerging web trends.