How can parents keep young people safe online?

Parent guide – online radicalisation

Why do young people become radicalised?

The reasons for young people being drawn into extremist views are many and varied but may include the following:

  • They are trying to make sense of world events.

  • They feel that their culture or religion is under threat.

  • It makes them feel a sense of identity or belonging or

    being part of something.

  • They are looking for adventure or excitement.

  • They have a personal grievance or experience of

    racism or discrimination and feel they want to change


  • They are under pressure from their peers who have

    links with these groups.

How are young people radicalised?

Extremist groups use the internet and social media to spread their ideology and recruit vulnerable young people. Extremist are using sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or YouTube but young people may be invited to join discussions on less well-known sites such as Kik, Whisper, Messenger, Yik Yak or Telegram. Extremists often use these sites because they are harder to monitor and they can hide their identity.

Extremists often manipulate young people by using emotional triggers to engage with them, and may target them when they are experiencing difficulties such as bereavement, emotional trauma, mental health issues or social anxiety.

A common approach used by them is to spread misinformation or fake news to generate anger, outrage or mistrust. Teaching children not to fall for this trick and check facts is one of the most important things we can do to protect our children from online grooming and extremists.

Click the image to find out ways you and your children can learn to spot fake news.

Extremists have been exploiting the pandemic to push out COVID conspiracy theories. These theories place blame on others and create panic, fear and mistrust within our communities.

Do you know how to spot a conspiracy? Watch the video for tips!

How can parents keep young people safe online?

  • Be aware of your child’s online activity and check which social media sites they are visiting; report any sites online that you have concerns about.

  • Help your child to be critically aware of what they see on the TV or the internet. Help them to understand the differences between real and fake news and how to spot it. Encourage them to see different points of view and build tolerance for others.

  • Remind your child that people they contact over the internet may not be telling them the whole truth and may not inform them of any potential dangers. If they are being asked to keep something secret then they may be at risk of harm.

  • Its ok to ask for help - from other members of your family or community or even a teacher that your child looks up to.

Got a question about Terrorism, extremism or radicalisation? Youll probably find the answer here! Take a look at the Q&A.

Want to find a way to speak to your child about terrorism or extremism? Take a look at NSPCCS guide.

Keep up-to-date with the latest tips and tools on what really keeps your children safe online. From apps, to appropriate sharing, cyber bullying and passwords/online security. This website has it all!

What can I do if I have a concern?

If you are worried about your child, who they might be speaking to online or what content they are viewing, you can get help from:

  • -  Your childs’ school by speaking to their teacher or the Designated safeguarding lead

  • -  Your local Prevent team by emailing

    All the professionals will work together with you and your child to see what support can be offered to protect your child against radicalisation and the risks associated with it.