POLICE ASSOCIATION OF NOVA SCOTIA 83 Youth Online and at Risk: Radicalization Facilitated by the Internet ...continued Royal Canadian Mounted Police Gendarmerie royale du Canada www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/NationalSecurity fotosearch IT STARTS WITH A CONVERSATION As with all dialogue, open and frank communication between youth and caregivers proves to be most fruitful. Having a two-way conversation that values the opinions of young people is important. In many cases, young Canadians can navigate the virtual world more efficiently than adults and recognizing this expertise can go a long way toward facilitating a friendly discussion. Whether the conversation happens in the home, the classroom, a community centre, or religious facility, adults need to make youth aware of the radical views that can be found online. The discussion needs to cover how to determine if content is appropriate and the expected behaviour when something is found not to be. Just as extremist groups target youth with specific messages, the conversation by parents or guardians must also be tailored—the conversation with an eight year old will be different from one with a teen. To help with this, there are websites such as www.thedoorthatsnotlocked.ca that have developed specific messages and topics for different age groups. Run by the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, this site features tools for parents, teachers, and other adults to understand what typical youth are doing online at certain ages. For example, between the ages of 5 and 7 years, children are known to primarily use the internet to play games and search for interests where as 10-12 year olds are using chatrooms, social networking sites, webcams, watching videos, and beginning to access file sharing sites. This information can then be used to shape a conversation to the online interests of specific ages. Where it is deemed appropriate, the brutality of violence should be confronted to remove any imagined glory that is put forward by violent extremists. The perpetrators of these acts must be reduced to the criminals they are and not the heroes of a global cause they purport to be. When this happens, the allure of radical behaviour and extremist groups can be diminished. As one young adult who used the internet to share violent propaganda bragged “I [am] one of the most wanted terrorists on the Internet” when he was aware that both the U.S. and British intelligence were tracking him. It must be made clear to susceptible youth that violent extremism does not bring glory and fame, but rather death, destruction, and human suffering.