There is some really harmful and very negative disturbing and upsetting content on the internet. It is a reality that due to the open nature of the internet it does give free access to anyone who wishes to post whatever content that they like online. One are of this that is causing a lot of genuine fear among the parents that we encounter is that of the possibility of their children being exposed to Radicalization material.
This content can be horrific and severely damaging to a child if they are exposed to it. A child’s natural curiosity may lead them to searching for this content. Google has reported a huge increase in the number of searches performed by the search engines for this type of content. Children may be exposed to individuals who seek to impart their beliefs and views or perhaps even attempt to convince the child to convert or join them.
By it’s very nature the internet is a 24 hour 7 days a week opportunity to radical individuals to seek to engage with teenagers who are attempting to find their own place in the world. Social media affords the opportunity for extremists to publicise their beliefs and opinions while seeking out other like-minded individuals and those who may be susceptible to their propaganda.
Some Advice for Parents
- This is a new danger that previously did not exist to the extent that it currently does online. Parents need to be aware of it and what to look out for
- You may notice a change in your child’s behaviour or interests
- They may now display interests in areas that they did not have before
- They may begin to distrust what they see or read and challenge it
- They may become very secretive about who they are engaging with online
- They may switch to a different screen when you enter the room
- Parents need to monitor the child’s online activity
- Always treat the child with respect and understanding
- A child may not engage again with honesty if a parent’s first response is to argue or attack the child
- Parents should go through the Friend and Followers see who is in contact with the child, remind the child if they do have Friends that they have only met online then they should never meet that individual in person
- Discuss with the child what they are being exposed too Online