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Netmums to offer parents advice on how to spot the signs of radicalisation

·2-min read

Counter-terrorism police are using Netmums to highlight the risks of online radicalisation among children.

UK law enforcement are growing increasingly concerned about the number of under-18s being groomed by extremists, particularly on the far right.

In the year to March 2021, 13% of suspects arrested for terrorism offences were aged under 18, compared to 5% the previous year. Children were also the only age group to show an increase in this period.

Of the 21 children arrested up to March 2021, 15 or 71% were linked to extreme right-wing beliefs, and the proportion has been growing since 2015.

In that year less than 20% of under-24s were held for far right beliefs, rising to 60% in 2020.

Police want parents to treat the threat from online extremists in the same way that they would bullies or paedophiles.

Chief Superintendent Nik Adams from Counter Terrorism Policing (CTP) said: “The trends we are seeing in our data are incredibly concerning.

“We must do more as a society to protect children from this threat and CTP wants to help parents, friends and families recognise when children are becoming the victims of radicalisation.

“Family and friends are best placed to spot the worrying behaviour changes which can indicate that a loved one is heading down a path towards terrorism, but currently just 2% of referrals into Prevent come from that group.

“That is why we have teamed up with Netmums, to provide their millions of users with clear, simple information about what to look out for, and where to go for help.”

Research among Netmums users found that 28% knew how to spot the signs of radicalisation.

Associate editor of the site Wendy Golledge said: “As parents, we are all too aware of the dangers the online world can pose to our children, and while we’re well versed in issues around social media and online bullying, as our survey demonstrated, we’re less aware of radicalisation and how to spot the signs.

“Together we want to help parents keep their children safe online.”

Anyone who is worried that someone they know is being radicalised can visit www.actearly.uk or Netmums for advice, or call the national Police Prevent Advice Line on 0800 011 3764.

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