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Children need training in how to protect themselves in cyberspace: ministry

Update: May, 13/2018 - 11:00
Internet usage and social media activities are posing risks to children’s safety and personal development. — Photo
Viet Nam News

HCM CITY — The Department of Children Affairs under the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs will provide training on how to prevent online bullying and sexual abuse of children during Action Month for Children in June.

At a conference held on May 12 in HCM City, Đặng Hoa Nam, the head of the department, said the increased usage of the internet, smartphones and other information and communication technologies (ICT) provided benefits, but also posed risks to children’s safety and personal development. 

Such activities can creat negative consequences on children’s mental and physical health, he said, adding that some online content is not suitable for children.

Nguyễn Hoài Nam, a representative of the Authority of Information Security under Ministry of Information and Communication, said that parents should be given tools to ensure that their children safely access the internet.

Nguyễn Văn Tính, deputy head of the Children Protection and Gender Equality Division under the city’s Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, said the division was updating information about the influence of social media, which will be given to parents, caregivers and teachers.

Recently, two people who provided false information about children on social media were fined, according to Tính.

Nguyễn Phương Linh of the Vietnamese NGO Research Center for Management and Sustainable Development (MSD) said the Department of Children Affairs was working on a community campaign “Think Before you Share” to improve awareness about children’s need for protection in cyberspace.

The campaign aims to offer training on these issues to 35,000 students aged 12-18 throughout the country by December.

The MSD’s mission is to improve civil society and promote the rights of marginalised groups, especially children, youth, women and people with disabilities.

In Việt Nam, 53 per cent of people use the internet. There are 63 million Facebook accounts, according to MSD.

Nam of the Department of Children Affairs noted that children had also become addicted to playing games on their smartphones and computers

Personal information about children has also been posted on social media, mostly by their parents, according to Nam.

Eighty per cent of parents are not aware of the potential danger involved in sharing information about themselves and their children on social media, he said.

Parents need to receive information on the importance of using discretion in writing about their children’s personal details on social media.

“How to provide a healthy and safe life to children in the digital world is really urgent now,” he added.

However, one problem is that some parents are not as proficient as their children in the use of digital devices and the internet.

Nam said that parents, teachers and children should be warned about the negative aspects of online behaviour, and talk to children “as a friend” about problems they are having online.

Children need to learn how to protect themselves in cyberspace, he said.  

National laws should also be amended to protect people in cyberspace, and more child-protection services should be provided throughout the country, he added.  

In addition, enterprises with online services should carry out their social responsibilities and help protect children, Nam said. — VNS


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