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Protecting your child

Being honest with your child and talking to them on a regular basis is the best way to help keep them safe. Remember that your child’s safety extends to their online activity, too.

Discussions about sex and drugs with your child are awkward, but necessary. It’s important to talk to them about extremism and radicalisation, too. Giving your child the facts will help them challenge extremist arguments.

Extremist groups’ use of internet and social media has become a prolific way for them to spread their ideology. Therefore to help keep your child safe:

  • Talk to your child about staying safe online
  • Keep an eye on the sites your child is visiting
  • Use parental controls on browsers, games and social media to filter or monitor what your child can see

Remember that even young children may be exposed to extremism online.

Trying to stop your child using the internet and mobile devices won’t keep them safe. Instead, teach them to understand that just because something appears on a website doesn’t mean it’s factually correct.

As a parent, it’s likely you’ll recognise factors or changes in behaviour before anyone else, and will be able to use your judgement to know whether your child is vulnerable to radicalisation. The following behaviours are a guide and it’s important to remember that anyone can be affected by extremism: 

  • Struggling with a sense of identity 
  • Distanced from their cultural or religious background 
  • Difficulty fitting in with British culture 
  • Questioning their place in society 
  • Family issues 
  • Experiencing a traumatic event 
  • Experiencing racism or discrimination 
  • Difficulty in interacting socially, lacking empathy or not understanding the consequences of their actions 
  • Low self-esteem 

Any of these issues make children more susceptible to believing that extremists’ claims are the answer to their problems. 

External factors play their part too, such as: community tension, events affecting the country or region where they or their parents are from, or having friends or family who have joined extremist groups. Exposure to one-sided points of view all contribute to the process of radicalisation.

If you’re worried about your child, there are other people and organisations you can talk to:

  • Speak to your child’s teacher. Have they noticed changes in your child’s behaviour? They will have access to specialists who can help
  • Contact your local authority safeguarding officer
  • The NSPCC offers free advice on their website – and a helpline, 0808 800 5000
  • FAST (Families Against Stress and Trauma) is a supportive organisation based in the UK for vulnerable families and individuals


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.

A link to quickly and anonymously report online material promoting terrorism or extremism. Anyone can report material such as: articles, images, speeches or videos that promote terrorism or encourage violence; content encouraging people to commit acts of terrorism; websites made by terrorist or extremist organisations; and videos of terrorist attacks. All referrals made through this tool go directly to the Counter Terrorism Internet Referral Unit in the Metropolitan police for assessment and investigation. School staff may become aware of inappropriate content through students or through online monitoring software.

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.

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.