Weaponizing the Weak: The Role of Children in Terrorist Groups

Research Handbook on Child Soldiers (Mark A. Drumbl & Jastine C. Barrett eds., Edward Elgar 2019)

Washington & Lee Legal Studies Paper No. 2019-06

19 Pages Posted: 16 Jan 2019 Last revised: 3 Mar 2020

See all articles by Mia Bloom

Mia Bloom

Georgia State University

Date Written: January 1, 2019

Abstract

In recent years, non-state violent extremist organizations, also known as terrorist groups, have increasingly mobilized children. This provides such organizations with advantages, notably the element of surprise and increased media attention in what is seen as the breaching of a previously unbroken psychological barrier. This Chapter discusses children’s involvement in such groups. Although this Chapter focuses on ISIS, it offers readers an array of comparative insights and impressions from a multiplicity of groups. This Chapter unpacks the many stages of ISIS’ use of children: recruitment, socialization, desensitization, schooling, selection, training, specialization and stationing. Particular attention is given to social media and the cultivation of cultures of martyrdom. Many children are forced into terrorist movements: they become victimized and traumatized by their experiences in this process. In turn, however, they themselves exploit and harm others, thereby calling into question the binaries of victim and perpetrator.

Keywords: terrorism, children, ISIS, socialization, gender, social media

Suggested Citation

Bloom, Mia, Weaponizing the Weak: The Role of Children in Terrorist Groups (January 1, 2019). Research Handbook on Child Soldiers (Mark A. Drumbl & Jastine C. Barrett eds., Edward Elgar 2019), Washington & Lee Legal Studies Paper No. 2019-06, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3316395

Mia Bloom (Contact Author)

Georgia State University ( email )

25 Park Place
8th floor - Dept of Communication
Atlanta, GA 30303
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://shared.cas.gsu.edu/profile/mia-bloom/

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