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Discussing extremism

If you’re worried your child is being exposed to extremist influences or has been radicalised, talking to them might be daunting. Here are some ways to make it easier.

It’s never easy to start a serious conversation with a child. If you’re too forceful, your child may clam up; if you’re too subtle, you could end up discussing something completely different. The NSPCC has some helpful guidance:

  • make your child feel at ease
  • get the balance right
  • let your child talk without interruptions
  • encourage questions
  • listen

It’s important to think about where and how to raise the subject of extremism with your child. Choose a place your child feels at ease. Make it a time when you’re unlikely to be interrupted.

Make the conversation relevant. For example, if you both see something on TV about extremism, you could ask your child what they would do if they ever found themselves in that situation. Or, to show that you value their opinion, you could say that a friend of yours needs advice about extremism. Ask what they think. Find out how much they know about the subject.

When you’re chatting with your child, take care to listen:

  • Ask them questions that don’t result in a yes or no answer. It gives them the chance to tell you what they really think
  • Let them talk without interrupting, and encourage them to ask questions
  • Be honest with them about your thoughts on extremism, and talk about your own views

If you’re worried about a young person becoming radicalised or holding extreme views, ACT Early have guidance on spotting the signs of radicalisation and advice on how to start conversations.

It’s important that your child knows they can talk to you in confidence. If they don’t feel comfortable talking to you, suggest they talk to other people they trust, or to organisations such as Childline.

The number for Childline is 0800 1111.


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.

Expert information for families and schools, featuring carefully checked and curated advice and information on issues related to internet safety.

The NSPCC is a leading charity fighting to protect children from all forms of abuse. The website includes advice for adults worried about a child including what to do if you are worried about radicalisation and how to talk to children who might be upset by terrorist events in the media.

If you’re worried about a child, even if you’re unsure, you can contact the NSPCC helpline to speak to one of their counsellors on 0808 800 5000.

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.