|Children are exposed to increased risks of online harms, especially during and after COVID-19 pandemic. — VNA/VNS Photo|
HÀ NỘI — The Party, State, as well as the whole political system, have worked hard to better protect children online amid increasing risks.
With the rapid development of information technology and the Internet, children face many risks, including cyberbullying.
The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) reported that one in five young people said they had been a victim of online bullying.
Statistics show that about 750,000 sexual predators worldwide are online at any given moment, four times the population of Ba Đình District in Hà Nội, and over three million accounts registered across the 10 most harmful child sexual abuse sites.
Deputy representative of UNICEF in Việt Nam Lesley Miller said these are worrisome numbers, and it is necessary to take urgent action to address the situation.
According to reports of the national emergency telephone number for child protection, 111, it received nearly 420 calls about child protection in the online environment and 18 notifications about channels or video clips with harmful content for children in 2022. The figures in the first five months of this year were 128 calls, including 124 requests for counselling, and three notifications.
Thirty of the 124 counselling requests were related to sexual abuse of children online.
Nguyễn Ngọc Anh, an expert from UNICEF’s children protection programme, said after COVID-19, families and children rely more and more on the Internet to keep up with lessons, study, or maintain social connections, leading to higher risks to children.
What happened in cyberspace reflects the general society at large, as well as the dangers children face in their own homes, schools, and communities – places that must be safe for children.
Therefore, strategies to address cyberbullying and abuse should be part of the broader child protection strategies, and cooperation and coordination among stakeholders are key to success in this work, he stressed.
UNICEF and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) have developed the Guidelines for Industry on Child Online Protection for businesses, which outline solutions that companies can take to protect and respect children, as well as for children to use the Internet in a healthy and creative way.
Đặng Hoa Nam, director of the Department of Child Affairs under the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, stressed that it is necessary to join hands in creating a safer and healthier digital environment for children.
He underlined the need to learn from Vietnamese and international experience, thus rolling out more specific and practical measures to ensure safety for children online.
The legal system for protecting children in the online environment has been developed, including the Law on Children, the Law on Cyber Information Security, and the Law on Access to Information, creating an important legal basis for the child protection work.
The Government and the Prime Minister have issued a number of important documents to protect children online, such as the National Action Programme for Children in the 2021-30 period and the programme on protection of and support for children.
Việt Nam and other ASEAN member countries also agreed to adopt the Declaration on the Protection of Children from all Forms of Online Exploitation and Abuse in ASEAN in 2019, and the Declaration on the Elimination of Bullying of Children in ASEAN. — VNS