As the summer holidays are here, there is a good chance that young people will be spending more time online. Understanding that you will want to help and support to keep them safe, we thought useful to signpost you to some recent lines and links. We think that a general approach to supporting young people with online safety is beneficial, as this will encompass healthy, positive relationships within the home and use of the internet.
As we know, the online space has many benefits, sadly however, this comes along with potential harms and risks. One of the risks to young people online is from those looking to exploit young people or unfortunately can be driven by a distortion in a range of ways to present information / propaganda which could, in a low amount of cases, mean that young people could become radicalised or drawn into hate, us and them narratives and / or extremism.
Information for spotting the signs of radicalisation in young people can be key information to share with parents/carers and members of our community, however, as you know behaviours and vulnerabilities are not always easy to spot and contextual to each individual.
Sadly, nationally, there has been an increasing number of young people being drawn into various forms of extremism, and so, it’s important that we’re doing what we can to safeguard and protect young people from these risks.
When a young person is being drawn down a path towards radicalisation, there are often signs in their behaviour that can indicate that this is happening. This could be something like becoming more secretive about who they are speaking to or becoming less tolerant of other people’s views.
The Counter Terrorism Policing ACT Early website (www.actearly.uk) has information and advice about the signs to look out for and for how parents/carers can approach and have conversations with young people about this subject.
As you will know, there is also help available through Prevent and locally contact can be made direct to the Sandwell Prevent team through the Prevent Inbox email address - [email protected] We also have a recently updated ‘Child Online Safety and Extremism guidance booklet’ available on the Sandwell Council Prevent webpage
ACT Early also have a telephone support line - 0800 011 3764, where individuals can, in confidence, share their concerns and speak with trained CTP Prevent staff.
By reaching out early for support and advice, young people can be supported to remain safe online and in their conversations with others, and where these possibly exploitative links could exist. It’s good to maintain vigilance, particularly over the coming weeks when schools and colleges are closed, and the contacts herein this letter will help support this approach.
Sandwell Council Prevent team