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Vietnam Unveils Online Child Protection Website

The Vietnam Network for Child Online Protection has recently debuted its website to keep children safe online, where users can report incidents of child abuse. The Authority of Information Security, which is run by the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC), developed and deployed the website. The network is linked to 24 units, including representatives of the Ministry of Labour, Invalids, and Social Affairs, the Ministry of Public Security, the Ministry of Education and Training, and the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism. Other representatives are from agencies, enterprises, and domestic and foreign organisations that specialise in child protection on the Internet.

According to a press release, in the ‘Opinion Expression’ section of the website users, including children, can give their ideas and suggestions, which state agencies can consider when drafting new policies and schemes. The ‘News’ section includes updated information about Internet safety for children in the country and across the world as well as the new technologies developed to keep children safe online. Meanwhile, the ‘Tools’ section offers useful suggestions and software for young users to have healthy interactions online.

Apart from contacting the Child Affairs Department’s hotline through the portal, users can also send child abuse reports. The Vietnam Network for Child Online Protection will then verify the reports and take appropriate action. The press release claimed that the website was launched as part of a programme approved by the Prime Minister, issued in June last year, to protect and assist children in healthy and creative interactions on the Internet. It targets preventing and handling activities that take advantage of the cyber environment to abuse children as well as promoting and maintaining a healthy Internet environment. It aims to develop an ecosystem of useful domestic apps and products to help children learn and be entertained online. So far, the programme has introduced various initiatives, tasks, and breakthrough solutions to exploit advanced technologies like big data to collect data and deliver early warnings for any potential content that violates laws or is not suitable for children.

Last November, the Ministry of Information and Technology announced it was collecting suggestions for a draft Code of Conduct to protect children on the Internet. As per data from late last year, there were 15 million under-16 children in the country. They are the most vulnerable to cybercrimes like bullying, attacks, and scamming. Reports from research firms reveal that in Vietnam, the most popular websites for children under 16 are audio-visual sites, social networks, and computer games (accounting for 44.7%, 32.5%, and 8.6%, respectively). Given the high amount of Internet use among the country’s youth, the Code of Conduct would protect children by regulating behaviour online and shielding children from potential risks.

As OpenGov Asia reported, the Code would introduce methods to report suspected activities that could be abusing children and to raise the public’s awareness of possible dangers. The Code of Conduct outlined clear regulations for businesses and organisations that provide Internet services, online platforms, and digital content creators to prioritise the protection of children in cyberspaces. It also included policies and ethical standards to promote safer cyberspace.

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