The BBC published a worrying report this week that Daesh is using cartoons to target toddlers in Britain.
The report comes after evidence that the terror group had created an app to help children learn Arabic – using jihadist songs and pictures of tanks, guns and rockets. This was designed to normalise violence, depicting weapons next to colourful animations of the Arabic alphabet and to soften the idea of deadly combat.
Now, it seems that Daesh’s team of militants are stooping even lower to target children barely out of nappies. The intended result is indoctrination of children at the earliest opportunity. It beggars belief, and presents a terrifying threat for parents.
The cartoons are not only being shared in dark potholes of the internet but also on the readily available – and much used by children – YouTube platform. The BBC reports that the cartoons ‘were shared on YouTube in March, and remained on the platform until early this month – only being shut down after the BBC alerted YouTube.’
As young children have access to more devices than ever, and access to these devices is being granted at a younger age, parents are increasingly losing control over what their children are watching on the internet. And this recent change of direction in ISIS’s propaganda, is a horrifying example of how the internet can be used to form a direct line for the communication to our kids.
At FAST, we work to support and educate parents about the dangers of the internet and how to protect our children online. It’s known that Daesh is on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Ask.fm, Instagram, YouTube and many other platforms.
The recent use of cartoons amplifies the threat of Daesh, and now more than ever it is vital that parents communicate with their children. Our advice is to ask your children about what they are doing online, and be aware of what apps and programmes they are using. Emphasise the importance of caution in what they are sharing and who they are friends with. Help them understand the importance of applying critical thinking to news and opinions they see online; not everything they read will be true, and not everyone they talk to will be honest about their identity.
FAST has published a guide to working with your children to protect them from harm as well as what to do if you are concerned or need help.