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Vietnam Strengthens Child Protection in Cyberspace

Image credit: Ministry of Information and Communications

Reports from the conference of the Supervisory Team about “The implementation of policies and laws on child abuse prevention” of the National Assembly show that Vietnam has one of the highest number of Internet users. It has 64 million users, accounting for 66% of the population. Of the figure, one-third are minors and young people aged 15 to 24.

In Vietnam, one in five children said they had been a victim of cyberbullying on the Internet. According to a press release, finding measures to protect and ensure that children are safe in the online environment is a top priority for the government and relevant agencies. The centre has developed a plan where involved departments will focus on surveying and assessing the impact of the Internet on children, as well as developing a set of criteria for child protection in the Internet environment. This is the first time that there has been close cooperation between the state management agency in charge of cybersecurity and the state management agency in charge of ensuring children’s rights.

To protect children against risks in the online environment, there have been many legal documents with specific provisions such as the Law on Children 2016, the Law on Access to Information 2016, and the Law on Cybersecurity 2018. Additionally, the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) has issued Circular No. 09/2017 stipulating the percentage of content, time, and warning of inappropriate content for children on radio and television stations, e-newspapers, and publications.

MIC was assigned by the Prime Minister to assume the prime responsibility for developing a project to protect and support children to interact with healthy creativity in the online environment from 2020 to 2025. The scheme offers essential solutions such as creating one focal point to receive reports of child abuse content. Also, applying artificial intelligence and analysing big data to proactively remove children abuse content on the Internet. MIC will also equip children with a basic set of digital skills, providing them with the knowledge they need to identify risks and protect themselves.

In 2019, Vietnam signed the Declaration on the Protection of Children from All Forms of Online Exploitation and Abuse in ASEAN. In December 2019, Vietnam launched the National Call Center App to protect children (111).  In March 2020, to improve child protection online, the Department of Children’s Affairs under the Ministry of Labor, War Invalids, and Social Affairs cooperated with MIC to develop plans to prevent child abuse in the online environment.

Last November, at the 10th session of the 14th National Assembly, MIC Minister Nguyen Manh Hung answered a question about the promulgation of the Code of Conduct in cyberspace and the integration of the act of protecting children in the online environment into this Code. Accordingly, MIC has paid attention to integrating child protection in the online environment into the Code of Conduct. It recommends that users and network service providers must respect the legitimate rights of individuals, including children’s rights, requiring social network users and network service providers to educate children and adolescents in the safe and healthy use of social networks.

With the determination to repel risks to children in cyberspace with the active participation of all levels and sectors, the combination of the power of advanced technology with knowledge and experience about child protection will help protect Vietnamese children, minimising negative impacts from the cyber environment.

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