New moves by Tower Hamlets council to stop schoolkids being radicalised online

Tower Hamlets councillor John Pierce

Tower Hamlets councillor John Pierce - Credit: TH Cll & Archant

Moves are under way to help prevent youngsters in London’s East End being brainwashed on social media by extremist organisations like Daish.

Tower Hamlets Council

Tower Hamlets Council - Credit: Archant

Some 13 recommendations have been put forward from Tower Hamlets council to help the government’s Prevent programme including digital champions to stop youngsters being radicalised when they go online.

It follows four girls at Bethnal Green Academy who vanished last year and made their way to Syria to join Isis.

Safeguarding arrangements have been made to protect young people from all forms of terrorism or violent extremism, the council’s Scrutiny Committee was told.

“The increasingly sophisticated deployment of the web and social media by organisations such as Daesh has presented new challenges,” Cllr John Pierce warned.

“We need to build on our work to tackle these issues, from using digital champions helping safeguard children online to the development of peer leaders to help young people question information sources that is presented to them.”

Public sessions on how the council was tackling extremist influence on pupils was held in March and April, when 13 recommendations were made.

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Imposing safeguarding training on organisations working with young people was suggested, as well as a Youth Service structured programme, support for youngsters at risk of isolation and a peer education programme for “young leaders to promote cohesion in their peer groups”.

The sessions urged the council’s Learning and Achievement service to commission interfaith work in schools and create safe spaces for youngsters to “promote debate and critical discourse” as well as equality and diversity in the school curriculum.

Other recommendations urged the council to continue to involve young people in commissioning services to safeguard against the risks of being drawn into terrorism or supporting violent extremism.