As part of the Stay Safe Over Summer campaign, Humberside Police and the Families Against Stress and Trauma charity are urging mums and dads to keep a check on their children’s activities on social media and other websites.
A spokesman for Families Against Stress and Trauma – which was established in 2007 to provide support to vulnerable families and individuals – said extremists tend to target young people more during the summer holidays when they generally have more time on their hands.
The spokesman added: “When it comes to social media, ISIS and its supporters are anything but backward. They know that an increasing number of people depend on it for their news and that it helps create opinions and stir passions. These are the platforms that they use to target your children. Often these conversations begin on open social media sites and then move onto private messaging applications.”
Parents are encouraged to:-
*Chat with your children about the apps and programmes they use and the sites they visit
*Explore with children what is meant by personal information in order to develop an awareness of why it is special and why it should not be shared
*Talk about online safety. Make sure they are aware that not everything on the internet is true and that not everyone they encounter online is who they claim to be
*Consider setting up your own social media profiles and be friends or follow your children, that way you can keep up to date on what they are posting and keep an eye out for anything out of character.
*Be aware of who your children’s online friends are and the accounts they follow on twitter
*If you are concerned about what your child has been viewing, check their internet history or consider adjusting your parental controls to block content you are worried about
*Keeping tabs on the content your children are viewing is even more important, as ISIS recruiters specifically instruct those considering travelling to Syria to act normally to avoid arousing suspicion.
The public are also urged to watch out for factors which may mean a young person could be more vulnerable to those seeking to radicalise them and signs they have been targeted.
*Displaying a conviction that their religion or culture is under threat or treated unjustly
*A tendency to mistrust mainstream media and seek out conspiracy theories
*A need for identity or belonging or being susceptible to influence from peers
*Seeking excitement or adventure.
For more on the Stay Safe Over Summer campaign visit www.humberside.police.uk