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.
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
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
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.