Official: Children need safer internet environment

Wednesday, 2017-12-13 11:04:32
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NDO/VNA - Relevant organisations and agencies should work together to create a safer internet environment for children, said Deputy Minister of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs, Dao Hong Lan.

Lan made the remarks at a ceremony held in Hanoi on December 12 to release the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)’s annual report on the “State of the World’s Children 2017: Children in a Digital World”.

She said that it is necessary to equip children with the necessary skills to access to a safe internet environment and children should be of fundamental concern when building digital policies.

Meanwhile, Youssouf Abdel-Jelil, UNICEF Representative in Vietnam, said that digital technology can be a life changing tool for marginalised children, particularly disabled and ethnic kids, and those living in disadvantaged areas.

He went on to say that online protection does not mean the control of children’s internet use but to better protect their safety when using the internet, adding that the Government needs to work closely with the private sector to safeguard children, especially the disadvantaged.

UNICEF’s flagship report stated that despite children’s massive online presence – 1 in 3 internet users worldwide is a child – too little is done to protect them from the dangers present in the digital world and provide access to safe online content.

The report explores the advantages digital technology can give to the most marginalised children, including the impoverished and those affected by humanitarian emergencies. The benefits offered include increasing their access to information, building skills for the digital workplace, and giving them a platform to connect and communicate their views.

However, millions of children are missing out, the report said. Around one third of the world’s youth – 346 million – have no access to the internet, exacerbating inequities and reducing the children’s ability to participate in an increasingly digital economy.

The report examines how the internet can increase children’s vulnerability to danger, including the misuse of their private information, access to harmful content, and cyber bullying. The report notes that the ubiquitous presence of mobile devices has led to unsupervised online access for many children – a potentially dangerous situation.
Furthermore, it also recommends that policies are needed to facilitate internet access for children, protecting them from online threats like abuse, human trafficking, and online bullying, and safeguarding their privacy and identities.

Officially connected to the Internet in 1997, Vietnam had 64 million internet users as of June 2017, accounting for 67% of the total population. Social media has been popularised with 64 million Facebook users, most of whom are children and teenagers.