Helping children to navigate in the online world

From 11 to 13 March 2018, a training of trainers on Internet safety was organised by ChildFund Vietnam. 20 volunteer youth trainers attending the training will be delivering Internet safety lessons to children and their parents using tailored and general existing applications, social media tools and platforms.

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This is the kick-off activity of Swipe Safe project In Vietnam. The Swipe Safe initiative, which is being introduced into more than 35 Vietnamese schools, will equip 12,000 teenagers in some of the poorest regions in northern Vietnam including Bac Kan, Cao Bang and Hoa Binh province with the skills to stay safe and make the most of their experiences online.

Digital technology is changing childhoods, with one in three internet users now under the age 18. The worldwide web brings new opportunities for young people to learn and connect, but it also represents new threats to their wellbeing.

Thanh Bui, Swipe Safe Project Coordinator says: “In Vietnam, ChildFund is helping with this transition. While all children who go online face some level of risk, vulnerable and marginalised children, who might have fewer resources and are not yet familiar with big technological advances, are at the greatest peril.”  

By 2015 half of Viet Nam’s population was online with over one third of the country’s 47.3 million users are adolescentonments through education and guidance that prepares young people for a connected world.s and young people aged 15-24. The penetration of online activity into the daily life of young people has increased their exposure to all forms of abuse and exploitation.

From a recent research undertaken by ChildFund, harassment/bullying is a near universal experience of youth using chat applications and social media in some of the most disadvantaged provinces of Cao Bang, Bac Kan and Hoa Binh, with up to 80% of young people able to access the internet.

It is also found that for two-thirds of young people, their parents seldom checked their online activity, and the majority of parents do not set time limits. In the absence of parents’ online engagement, knowledge of their children’s online activities and understanding of management strategies, the ability to identify risks and protect of young people is impaired.

In addition, the awareness of teachers about cyber bullying and online conflict is limited and the absence of institutional regulations sustains the perception that schools do not have a role to play to protect young people online. This is also a missed opportunity to create safe online environments through education and guidance that prepares young people for a connected world.

participant

“Through engagement with youth trainers in hands-on education about online safety and identification of risks, I hope children will develop their knowledge and skills which enable them to directly protect themselves and support their peers,” shares Manh, 23, a participant of this first training.

Also under this project, schools will be empowered to create environments that promote online safety through the development of policy and guidance. In addition, ChildFund will partner with local businesses in Vietnam, encouraging internet cafes and online gaming shops to sign on to child safety codes of conduct.

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