What can I do to protect my child from extremist influences?
Parents and schools are on the frontlines of counter-extremism efforts. When we speak of counter-extremism, one of the key ways we protect vulnerable individuals from the sway of radicalisation is by building their resilience against extreme narratives and recruitment techniques. While equipping the individual with tools to build this resilience is a priority, the people surrounding the vulnerable individual are equally important.
Instil values from a young age
The closest members of an individual’s circle are usually their family and they can act as an extremely effective vaccination against radicalisation. These actors can help by inoculating their children from extremist views by instilling in them from a very young age, values like tolerance, democracy, and humanist principles. Parents should encourage children to think critically, to analyse, digest, and critique any information that they take in, so that they may be less inclined to fall for the simplified, reductionist worldview that radical recruiters employ to influence vulnerable individuals.
Focus on emotional literacy
Aside from critical thinking, parents should also focus on helping to develop their child’s emotional literacy, again from a young age, so that they are armed against extreme narratives that often prey on the individual’s feelings of loneliness, depression, or anger.