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Parents, beware: Kids spending more time online are 'easy targets' for extremists

Ismail Sebugwaawo /Abu Dhabi
ismail@khaleejtimes.com Filed on August 17, 2020 | Last updated on August 17, 2020 at 06.12 am
Parents, beware, Kids, spending, more time, online, easy targets, extremists

(Supplied)

Extremism pushes the individual towards isolation, urges him to move away from family and friends, thus making him weak and easy to influence.

Leaving kids unsupervised while they are on social media or playing games online could make them an 'easy target' for extremists, the UAE's Sawab Centre has warned.

Sawab Centre, the country's online engagement initiative in support of the global coalition against extremism, reminded parents to monitor their children's online activity, especially amid the pandemic when they are spending more time on the Web.

In their recent awareness messages on Twitter, the centre pointed out that since Covid-19 struck, extremists have been "actively attracting and recruiting new followers - and youngsters were among the major targets".

"Young people remain particularly vulnerable as they are likely to spend more time online. Do you monitor your children's online activity?" Sawab Centre tweeted. "Parents, be careful! Extremists are targeting your children online."

Authorities said extremist groups spread radical messages using a wide range of online sites, including websites, chat rooms, forums and social media sites. They highlight stories of 'suicide terrorists' and try to gain the sympathy of followers by using religion.

"The extremists exploit the psychological weakness of those they want to recruit, by strengthening the principle of persecution in him, portraying him as a saviour, promising them a new, valuable and happy life," said officials.

Extremism pushes the individual towards isolation, urges him to move away from family and friends, thus making him weak and easy to influence, they explained.

"It is our responsibility to be close to every member of our family and strive to understand what they are going through."

Beware of fake fundraisers

The Sawab Centre has also warned people to be careful about people and entities they deal with online, especially when it comes to donations. Extremists, it said, had set up fake financial networks to raise funds, smuggle and engage in money laundering.

Officials urged people to donate only to authorised organisations to ensure their money won't end up being used for terror activities.

ismail@khaleejtimes.com 

author

Ismail Sebugwaawo

A professional journalist originating from Kampala, Uganda, Ismail is a happy father with strong attachment to family and great values for humanity. He has practiced journalism in UAE for the past 13 years, covering the country's parliament (FNC) and crimes, including Abu Dhabi Police, public prosecution and courts. He also reports about important issues in education, public health and the environment, with a keen interest in human interest stories. When out of reporting duties, he serves the Ugandan community in Abu Dhabi as he wants to see his countrymen happy. Exercising and reading are part of his free time.


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