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Prevent and online safety

Recognise the signs of someone being radicalised and find out how to protect yourself and your family online.

The impact of COVID-19 means that many of us will be at home for an extended period of time. This can lead to increased feelings of isolation and spending more time online. Extremists can use this to take advantage of people. So, it is important that you know how to protect yourself and your family online.

What are the signs that my child may be being exploited online?

Some of the traits listed below can be common among teenagers. Though, if taken together, they could be indicators that your child may need some help:

  • Exploring new and unusual websites, chat forums and platforms. Harmful influences may push individuals towards platforms with a greater degree of anonymity.
  • Joining new or secret groups since isolation.
  • Speaking with new friends or being secretive about chats during online gaming or in forums.
  • A strong desire to seek new meaning, identity and purpose.
  • Using language you would not expect them to know.
  • Watching, sharing or creating films online linked to religious, political or racial hate.
  • Becoming increasingly argumentative or refusing to listen to different points of view.

There are resources to help you understand and protect your child from different harms online.

How can I access support and advice for someone being radicalised?

If you think someone is in immediate danger, or if you see or hear something that may be terrorist-related:

  • Trust your instincts and phone: 999;
  • or the confidential Anti-Terrorist Hotline: 0800 789321.

Prevent is still operating during this time and is here to support families. If you have concerns about someone being radicalised, phone the Police: 101 or email the Council's Prevent Team:

Contacting the authorities will not get the individual into trouble if a criminal act has not been committed. The local authority or police will:

  • Discuss your concerns.
  • Suggest how they can best help.
  • Give you access to relevant support and advice.

Report hateful content

Prevent takes robust action to tackle radicalisation online. Any member of the public can report terrorist content they find online via the GOV.UK referral tool.

For more about this, visit: Action Counters Terrorism campaign.

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