chapter  Chapter 12
Children as agents of terrorism and political conflict
ByDeborah Browne
Pages 14

This chapter examines the phenomenon of the child as an agent of terrorism and political violence, including child soldiers. Improving the understanding in this area is a key step in helping to support young people away from extremism and radical views. Child soldiers, also referred to as children associated with armed forces and armed groups. Children are not only involved in terrorist incidents but are also used as soldiers in organised armed conflict. It has been suggested that young people under 18 are serving as combatants in almost 75% of the world's conflicts, and 80% of these have fighters under the age of 15. Psychologists have debated whether individuals who are drawn to violence and terrorism have symptoms of pathology or personality disorder, but the evidence for this has neither been strong nor conclusive. The resilience to violence may be seen as a coping mechanism to deal with the horrific situations in which the children find themselves.