Terrorism

Is Your Kid a Terrorist? Watch for the Warning Signs!

A UK government pamphlet tells parents to watch out if their teen shows "mistrust of mainstream media" or appears "angry about government policies."

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Watch out! He's reading Reason!
Camden Safeguarding Children Board

Worried your child might secretly be turning into a terrorist? The Camden Safeguarding Children Board, a local government agency in London, has published a pamphlet for you. Keeping Children and Young People Safe from Radicalisation and Extremism: Advice for Parents and Carers lists some of the warning signs that you—yes, you!—might have an extremist under your roof.

Some of these signs, the authors note, "could describe general teenage behaviour." So if your kid has been "losing interest in previous activities and friendships" or "switching screens when you come near," you needn't fret unless it's happening "together with other signs." On the other hand, the "following signs are more specific to radicalisation":

  • "Owning mobile phones or devices you haven't given them"
  • "Showing a mistrust of mainstream media reports and belief in conspiracy theories"
  • "Appearing angry about government policies, especially foreign policy"

If that's been going on, you might want to check out the kid's Web search history, find out more about his friends ("and their families"), and, if "you feel there is a risk that your child may leave the country, take precautions such as keeping their passport in a safe place and reducing their access to money." The pamphlet also helpfully provides the number of the local "police prevent engagement officer."

Back in July, British Prime Minister David Cameron called for a national push against "extremism," including those elements who don't support violence but "promote other parts of the extremist narrative." I guess this was the sort of thing he had in mind.