POLICE ASSOCIATION OF NOVA SCOTIA 77 More than ever, the lives of young Canadians are lived online. The World Wide Web is used by children, pre-teens, and teens for research, learning, entertainment, social networking, and to just pass the time. The widespread use of the web is facilitated by the fact that computers are readily accessible in classrooms, libraries, and bedrooms of youth while web-enabled cell phones—fast becoming the norm—provide access everywhere in between. In fact, a comprehensive Canadian study on the online habits of youth found that internet “access is almost universal.” However, just because young people have near constant access to the web, it cannot be assumed that they are fully aware of the risks posed by being online. While the internet provides access to rich educational experiences, great entertainment, and the chance to connect with friends around the clock, it also creates a number of risks that young people, parents, and guardians need to be aware of. There are the commonly known concerns of identity theft, online predators, and cyber-bullying but there is another issue that we need to collectively work to address— Radicalization to violence. This informational resource strives to increase the awareness of how the internet is being used to radicalize and recruit youth in North America. WHAT CAN RADICALIZATION MEAN? The radicalization of youth is not a new phenomenon. Radicalization to violence has not been—and will not be—limited to a single group, religion, culture, ethnicity or worldview. Extremist groups from the entire political spectrum as well as those with a different outlook have long sought to foment adolescents by exploiting existing cultural, moral, or societal grievances and capitalizing on the natural desire for adventure that many young people have. Regardless of a person’s background and upbringing, radicalization can result in a change in the beliefs held, the feelings one has on or toward an issue, and one’s behaviour. These changes can result in devoting additional time and financial resources, taking additional risks, and perpetrating violence to support a cause. It can happen to individuals and groups of likeminded people in many ways. Often the seed that starts the process is the perceived victimization of oneself or a group the individual identifies with. This can drive a desire to retaliate or generate change. With a perceived injustice, radicalization of individuals can occur. If an individual, a close relative, or friend has been the victim, thoughts of revenge can push that individual toward violence. This is perhaps best seen in the Chechen widows who strike against Russia in reprisal for their experiences. Royal Canadian Mounted Police Gendarmerie royale du Canada continued... YOUTH ONLINE AND AT RISK: Radicalization Facilitated by the Internet