"Education awareness is key. We cant expect our kids to have the tools and resources to realize what they're up against if were not speaking about it in our homes and schools and teaching them."
That's the message Christianne Boudreau of Canada has for parents who want to protect their vulnerable loved ones from outside forces. But for Boudreau, even the radicalization of her son by the terrorist group ISIS comes as a shock, like the day she found out from a reporter's Twitter feed that her son died at the age of 22 fighting alongside the radical Islamists in January 2014.
The change in her son, Damian Clairmont, happened before Boudreau's eyes, but she never realized he would take his dedication to his religion to such an extreme, as CNN reports.
As Boudreau explains, her son started attending a different mosque, hanging out with indivudals fostering a militant ideology and said he wanted to fit in with his new peer group. When Clairmont told his mom he was headed to Egypt to study Arabic linguistics and become an imam, Boudreau believed him. But now she understands that he was exactly the type of vulnerable person that ISIS fighters are looking to recruit.
"The way a lot of it happens is one main recruiter plants the ideology in their mind and the Internet reinforces that with the information that they can search up and other contacts that they can make easily online," Boudreau told CNN.
For Clairmont, who reportedly converted to Islam after a troubled period in high school, it was too late.
"We need to start arming ourselves with the knowledge, the awareness, the education, and to be able to deal with these issues and be able to speak with our children at an early age," Boudreau said. "We do the same thing with sex education, with drugs, and this is just one more thing that our kids are faced with—a challenge."