Social media, the news and websites are all places where young people can be exposed to information about radical groups and terrorism. You may look out of curiosity, or because you want to find out the truth behind the news stories. But there are online radical and terrorist groups which want to recruit young people to their cause.
They use the same techniques as other online abusers. They:
- Lie and tell you not to trust anyone else
- Try and separate you from friends and family
- Make promises and tell you that you are special and unique
Anyone is potentially vulnerable to becoming radicalised. You need to know how to protect yourself and your friends.
Take action: Have you seen terrorist content online? You should report it at www.gov.uk/report-terrorism
A serious problem?
Young people who become radicalised suffer many bad effects. Their school and work can suffer, they can become isolated from friends and family, and they may put themselves and others in danger. They may run away from home (such as the school girls who travelled to Syria and Iraq) and refuse contact and support from their friends, family and other people who can help.
In extreme cases, young people may become so radicalised that they deliberately hurt others to draw attention to their cause.
Although this can seem like a problem that is happening far away, it may be closer than we think. Young people have needed treatment after becoming radicalised in the South East of England. Some have even run away and gone abroad.
Take Action: Worried about extremism in a school or group, or think a friend might be at risk? You can call the counter extremism helpline Monday to Friday 9am-6pm (not bank holidays) on 020 7340 7264 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are worried about yourself or a friend, you should talk to an adult you trust right away. If it is an emergency (for example, if someone has run away) you should call the police on 999 without delay.
You can also report concerns to 101 (the police non-emergency number). Don't worry about how your friend will feel, or about getting them into trouble. Young people who are being drawn into terrorist activity will be supported and helped to resist and recover.
Crucial: You can also report via the social networking sites you see the content on. Find out how with See it Report it
Safeguarding vulnerable people from extremism
Organisations in Oxfordshire work in partnership to help prevent people from being drawn into extremism. This includes providing training to spot signs of extremism, providing information and support to schools, engaging with communities and more. You might hear this called Channel or Prevent.
Instant expert: Find out more about preventing extremism on the Oxfordshire County Council Website, including questions answered, information about the sort of support provided and online training that anyone can do.
Helping your family
Sometimes people close to you might be worried about you, other family members or just want to find out more about radicalisation. There is support and information for parents about radicalisation on Educate Against Hate.