The minds of little children are like sponges and they absorb the things around them to set their course for later in life. What goes in by the age of seven is what stays with them forever. That is what religions use to capture those minds and focus them only on what they want them to know. Today parents are aware about opening the channels as early as possible to give children the best start in gaining an education. Others, however, are closing up the channels so that children are focused only on what matters to them. The brainwashing starts with parents who are so conditioned from birth.
The tragedy is that such children are being abused because they are not allowed to expand their brain to gain the most out of life. Entire societies may conspire to force children to accept their faith or ideas related to their god(s).
There is no way around this as democracy determines that everyone has the freedom to rear their children according to their will and culture. If people are under the thumb of a religious dictator or they belong to a culture where religion is everything then there is nothing others can do to change it.
People who grow up with freedom to choose what they think and what makes sense to them are far more open to alternative views and a lot more focused on catching on. Perhaps brainwashing should be listed for what it is – child abuse. Perhaps religions need to be taken to task for what they do to young children through this activity.