Prevent Strategy

Prevent Strategy

Guide for Parents and Guardians

Isn’t my child too young to learn about extremism?

The Prevent Strategy is not just about discussing extremism itself. It is also about educating children and vulnerable adults about values such as tolerance and mutual respect. The College will make sure any discussions are suitable for the age and maturity of the children and vulnerable adults involved.

Is extremism really a risk in our area?

Extremism can take many forms, including political, religious and misogynistic extremism. Some of these may be a bigger threat in our area than others. We will give children and vulnerable adults the skills to protect themselves from any extremist views they may encounter, now or later in their lives.

How can you help keep your child safe from terrorism and extremism?

  • Know where your child is, who they are with and check this for yourself
  • Know your child’s friends and their families
  • Be aware of your child’s online activity and update your own knowledge
  • Know what social media and messaging sites your child uses
  • Keep lines of communication open, listen to your child and talk to them about their interests
  • Encourage them to take up positive activities with local groups that you can trust
  • Talk to your child about what they see on the TV or the internet and explain that what they see or read may not be the whole picture allow and encourage debate and questioning on local and world events and help them see different points of view encourage your child to show an interest in the local community and show respect for people from all faiths and backgrounds
  • Help your child to understand the dangers of becoming involved in situations about which they may not have the full information
  • Teach them that expressing strong views and trying to change things for the better is fine but they should not take violent action against others or support those that do
  • Remind your child that people they contact over the internet may be pretending to be someone else or telling them things that are not true
  • Explain that anyone who tells them to keep secrets from their family or teachers is likely to be trying to do them harm or put them in danger

How might a child be drawn towards extremist ideologies?

The internet provides entertainment, connectivity and interaction. Children may need to spend a lot of time on the internet while studying, and they may also use other social media and messaging sites such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Telegram, Snapchat or WhatsApp.

These can be useful tools but we need to be aware that there are powerful programmes and networks that use these media channels to reach out to young people and can communicate extremist messages.

Peer interaction
Young people at risk may display extrovert behaviour, start getting into trouble at school or on the streets and mixing with other children who behave badly, but this is not always the case.

Sometimes those at risk may be encouraged by the people they are in contact with not to draw attention to themselves. As part of some forms of radicalisation, parents may feel their child’s behaviour seems to be improving. Children may become quieter and more serious about their studies, and may also dress more modestly and mix with a group of people that seems to be better behaved than previous friends.

TV and media
The media provides a view on world affairs. However, this is often a very simple version of events which are in reality very complex. Therefore children may not understand the situation fully or appreciate the dangers involved in the views of some groups.

Spotting the signs and getting support

Radicalisation can be really difficult to spot. Signs that may indicate a child is being radicalised include:

  • Isolating themselves from family and friends
  • Talking as if from a scripted speech
  • Unwillingness or inability to discuss their views
  • A sudden disrespectful attitude towards others
  • Increased levels of anger
  • Increased secretiveness, especially around internet use
  • Out of character changes in behaviour and peer relationships
  • Showing sympathy for extremist causes

Children who are at risk of radicalisation may have low self-esteem, or be victims of bullying or discrimination. Extremists might target them and tell them they can be part of something special, later brainwashing them into cutting themselves off from their friends and family.

However, these signs don't necessarily mean a child is being radicalised – it may be normal teenage behaviour or a sign that something else is wrong. If you notice any change in a child's behaviour and you're worried, you can call the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000.

Tips for talking to your child about terrorism

Young people are exposed to news in many ways, so it would be practically impossible to shelter them from reports of terrorist attacks when they occur.

When talking with your child, it’s ok to agree such attacks are frightening and sad, and that you can’t stop them happening. Avoid complicated, worrying explanations, as they won’t be able to process the information and it could leave them more frightened and confused.

It’s also important to address victimisation following the terrorist attacks.

  • Some young people will feel targeted because of their faith
    It’s important to look for signs of bullying, and make sure that they know they can talk with you about it. Often they’ll feel scared or embarrassed talking about it, so reassure them it is not their fault that this is happening, and that you will help the bullying stop. Alert your the College so that we can be aware of the issue.
  • Offensive or unkind comments about a child’s faith or background in response to the terror attacks
    If you think this is happening, it’s important to intervene. Calmly explain that comments like this is not acceptable. Your child should also understand that someone’s beliefs do not make them a terrorist. Explain that most people are as scared and hurt by the attacks as your child is. You could ask them how they think the other child felt, or ask them how they felt when someone said something unkind to them. Explain what you will do next, such as telling your child's school, and what you expect them to do.

Key terms

  • Extremism – vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values such as democracy, the rule of law and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs
  • Ideology – a set of beliefs
  • Terrorism – a violent action against people or property, designed to create fear and advance a political, religious or ideological cause
  • Radicalisation – the process by which a person comes to support extremism and terrorism

Prevent Information Workshops

We hold regular information workshops for parents, guardians and carers who would like to find out more about the Prevent Strategy. Contact us to book on to the next workshop:


How should you talk to your child/dependant about terrorism?
Parents/Guardians worried about
How to use Facebook Safety Check

Want to report a concern?

Send a confidential and anonymous message to the Hugh Baird College Safeguarding Officers.

Send a report

Anti-Terrorist Hotline: 0800 789 321
Report hate crime online at:
Report online extremism at: