How is someone radicalised?
Radicalisation by extremist groups or individuals can be perpetrated via several means: face-to-face by peers, in organised groups in the community and, increasingly, online. Their targets are individuals or groups of people who can be easily led towards terrorist ideologies because of their experiences, state of mind or sometimes their upbringing.
The power of social media is well-known, and it is this that is the main channel for such grooming. Other online channels include chatrooms, forums, instant messages and texts – all are used by extremists for their day-to-day communication, as is the dark web.
Social media is also used for research by extremists, making it easy for them to identify those who may be vulnerable from what they reveal in their profiles, posts/tweets, photos and friend lists.
How to guard against online radicalisation
- If you are approached or groomed, think long and hard about the consequences of radicalisation to yourself, your family and friends, and your basic values.
- Keep an eye on family members, friends and others you think may be susceptible to radicalisation. Have their behaviour patterns changed? Have they become withdrawn or introverted for no apparent reason? Has their belief structure altered? Are they making unusual travel plans? Are mutual friends and acquaintances also concerned?
Report online material promoting terrorism or extremism
If you become aware of any terrorist or extremist use of the internet, there is an online reporting form that can be accessed at: https://www.report-terrorist-material.homeoffice.gov.uk/report
If you’re reporting a terrorist or extremist incident that’s happening right now – or if there’s a threat to someone’s life – call 999 immediately. You can also report suspicious activity by contacting the police in confidence.