Terrorism and the Internet (full text)
The Internet has developed from being an academic tool to a consumer novelty to an integral part of life, socialisation and business. At first, it was mostly adults that used the internet. Now, young people are the ones using the internet in new ways to build their identities, meet other people and share their everyday experiences.
Most children have no idea how the internet actually functions; they have bought into the idea of a ‘cloud’, a harmless place where information is stored. They do not see the risks of cyberspace as a virtual world, a parallel digital sphere with all of the morality (benign and wicked) of the physical world. We have never seen anything like it before, it is growing and evolving exponentially and our children are carrying this world around with them in their pockets.
Terrorists and extremists use the web to spread their messages far and wide and to recruit new followers to their cause. Tackling extremism online has become as relevant today as tackling cyber-bullying and internet child sexual exploitation.
This means that those who train young people must be able to teach Internet Safety as a primary Life Skill, not just as an optional curriculum enhancement. As parents we wouldn’t want to let extremists in our homes, yet the internet can allow access through our computers, laptops and smartphones. We must work together to protect our families online.
Useful resource for online child protection matters, with a wealth of advice and useful links