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Radicalization In Children


Certain behavioral traits are early warnings that a child is on the verge of being initiated into ideas that if not curtailed will eventually plunge a child into radicalization. There is no specific route to radicalization as a child can get into it through the internet, friends, schools, churches, and mosques. Monitoring children behavior will give parents an early opportunity to detect unusual change in a child.


Parents need to know that radicalization is a process that takes time for it to be manifested in a child. However, in some instances it is triggered by a specific incident or news item and can happen much quicker.


So much change takes place in the teenage years of a young person and most often they will tend to be rebellious, disobedient, confused about identity, lack self-control, emotionally unstable, independent, attention seekers among others and it will be hard for the parents to tell whether it is puberty stage or effects of radicalization.


The following are some of the traits that exhibit a radicalized child.

Physical Traits

  • Becoming increasingly argumentative

  • Refusing to listen to different points of view

  • Unwilling to engage with children who are different

  • Becoming abusive to children who are different

  • Embracing conspiracy theories

  • Feeling persecuted

  • Changing friends and appearance

  • Distancing themselves from old friends

  • No longer doing things they used to enjoy

  • Converting to a new religion

  • Being secretive and reluctant to discuss their whereabouts

  • Sympathetic to extremist ideologies and groups

Online behaviour

  • Changing online identity

  • Having more than one online identity

  • Spending a lot of time online or on the phone

  • Accessing extremist online content

  • Joining or trying to join an extremist organisation

Radicalization is a process that takes time for it to be manifested in a child.

As soon as you realize your child shows any of the above signs, do not hesitate to take a preventive action through seeking guidance from a professional counselor. If this goes beyond your control do not hesitate to reach out to us through our website www.citizensupport.go.ke.

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