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Youth Online and at Risk: Radicalization Facilitated by the Internet

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.”1 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.

Resource published 2011

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