Online grooming in Redbridge: Workshops teach mothers about graphic grooming and radicalisation on social media

The women found the online course useful.

The women found the online course useful. - Credit: Archant

Redbridge mothers and grandmothers completed a 10-week course about child radicalisation and grooming online.

Awaaz was set up to give women a voice and it provides education, support and activites for females

Awaaz was set up to give women a voice and it provides education, support and activites for females in the borough - Credit: Archant

Shamima Begum fled east London to join the Islamic State group when she was a teenager.

Whether you think she is a victim of radicalisation and needs help in the UK or should never be let back into the country there is no denying she was groomed online.

Redbridge mothers, grans and great-grans took part in a 10-week course about the dangers of graphic content on social media.

Run by Aurety training in partnership with the charity Awaaz, the women learnt about Instagram, Snapchat and other platforms that young people in the borough access daily.

Awaaz members headed to Ilford to celebrate the end of a 10-week course about online dangers.

Awaaz members headed to Ilford to celebrate the end of a 10-week course about online dangers. - Credit: Archant

Javeria Coleridge delivered the workshops and said while many mums and carers are on Facebook, they didn’t understand the inner workings of other social media apps - until now.

“It is easy for children to access beheadings in Syria, violence in Palestine,” she said.

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“Parents don’t realise such graphic images are so easily available.

“These children look at the picture and think, they are a Muslim like me and this is happening - it can cause them to get angry but you have to think about the intentions of the people posting it.”

As well as training parents, Javeria also goes into schools to run anti-grooming workshops.

She has a background in policing but set up her training company after the 2005 London bombings made her think about terrorism in the UK.

“Aurety isn’t on social media,” she added.

“We believe that there is a need for counter narratives on social media, but believe in the importance of having dialogue in classrooms and community setting.

“I find it more effective working one-on-one and giving young people the opportunity to share their views and debate topics among themselves.

“If young people spread the message out themselves - they are more likely to listen.

“As part of the training we speak to them and ask their opinions about serious topics - we are open with them.”

To mark the end of the course, participants held a celebration in Redbridge Central Library, Clements Road, Ilford, yesterday (Tuesday, March 12).

Speaking at the event a gran said she was shocked about what young people were seeing on the internet.

“I wasn’t aware of most of the stuff,” she said.

“Our children are being manipulated and groomed.

“Parents are trying to do the right stuff but it is not enough - they don’t know what their children are seeing - we have a better understanding now of what is out there and we need to spread the message.”

A mother of two added: “I am so happy, I knew Facebook but not the other things.

“I can teach my children the values in life but not everyone does, we as a community need to teach.”

Another course participant said she is urging women to be open with their children, even on difficult subjects.

“Anything on the news when I was little – sex, violence – it would be turned over but I want my children to come to me, I want to be open with them even if it is hard,” she said.

The Awaaz charity was set up to give women in Redbridge a voice and to provide education, social welfare and support.

Founder Bashra Tahir said: “Lots of people have benefited from the training.

“The main aim was to empower women.

“Now they have learnt a lot they can pass it on to their family and friends and share the learning.”

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