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Vietnam’s Approach to Child Safety in the Digital Age

In light of the risks posed by the advancement of information technology and the internet, the government, state, and the entire political system have taken significant measures to enhance the safeguarding of children within the online environment.

According to UNICEF, children are increasingly exposed to various risks, including the concerning issue of cyberbullying. The agency reports that one in five young individuals have experienced online bullying.

Reports have shown that the national emergency telephone number for child protection, 111, 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 and three notifications.

An expert from UNICEF’s children’s protection programme said that strategies to address cyber-bullying and abuse should be part of the broader child protection strategies. Cooperation and coordination among stakeholders are key to success in this work.

The Guidelines for Industry on Child Online Protection, developed by UNICEF and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), serve as a framework for businesses. These guidelines offer solutions that businesses can adopt to ensure the protection and well-being of children, while also promoting a healthy and creative internet experience for children themselves.

Dang Hoa Nam, Director of the Department of Child Affairs under the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, emphasised the importance of collective efforts in establishing a digital environment that is both safer and healthier for children. He highlighted the significance of drawing from both domestic and international experiences to implement targeted and practical measures aimed at ensuring children’s safety in the online realm.

Vietnam has established a comprehensive legal framework to protect children in the digital sphere, including laws such as the Law on Children, the Law on Cyber Information Security, and the Law on Access to Information. These laws provide a crucial legal foundation for child protection initiatives.

To safeguard children in the online environment, the government and the Prime Minister have issued several significant documents. These include the National Action Programme for Children in the 2021-2030 period and the programme on protection of and support for children.

Furthermore, Vietnam, alongside other ASEAN member nations, has collectively endorsed crucial agreements to protect children’s welfare online. This includes the adoption of the Declaration on the Protection of Children from all Forms of Online Exploitation and Abuse in ASEAN in 2019, as well as the Declaration on the Elimination of Bullying of Children in ASEAN.

The Authority of Information Security under the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) and several city Information and Communications Departments held a conference earlier this May on the launch and evaluation of the national cyber security and safety strategy. The event was held in Ha Long City.

As OpenGov Asia reported, servers are the primary targets of cyber-attacks in the country, aimed at stealing passwords and data. Last year in Vietnam, computer viruses resulted in economic losses amounting to VND 21.2 trillion (US$ 903 million). To ensure cybersecurity, MIC collaborated with various agencies to conduct three nationwide security exercises. The authority directly prevented over 3,600 fraudulent websites, safeguarding nearly 4 million people or approximately 6% of internet users.

Vietnam has set a goal to establish a cybersecurity research and development centre, safeguard information systems in 11 critical sectors, and establish cybersecurity forces at ministries, sectors, and state agencies by 2025.


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