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Stories: Children, Community, Future

Hien claiming his right to safely take part in the online world

With more and more children learning and socialising online than ever before, it is imperative that children and young people know how to keep themselves safe online and where to go for help should they need it.

ChildFund has launched a campaign to advocate for children’s safety online (WEB Safe & Wise) and developed a Children’s Advisory Council. This is an opportunity for children and young people, like Hien, to share their concerns about being online and work together to create a safer online environment for themselves and their peers.

Hien took part in the ASEAN-ICT Forum about child protection online in November 2022, where he participated in a session to understand online abuse and the exploitation of children in Southeast Asia. Here, he and other participants were able to share their experiences in online safety.

Hien taking part in the online forum.

“In terms of knowledge, I am confident in what I know, but I am quite worried about not being able to express everything I want to say in English,” said Hien. After taking part in the forums, he felt empowered with the knowledge he learned at the online safety training sessions.

To begin with, Hien was nervous to share his experiences and to know what to share with his peers. “I often care about issues that few people care about, so I don’t know if I should share them, and whether sharing about it is appropriate.” After listening to and being supported by his peers, he felt more confident in sharing his opinions and felt respected.

“Some of the young panelists mentioned things I care about but did not have the courage to say. If there is another sharing session, I will talk about filtering harmful information on social networks,” said Hien.

With the skills he learned through SwipeSafe online safety training, Hien is confident that he can help himself and his peers be safe online and protect their accounts. However, Hien said that he also had come across malicious content when using social media and he understands the need to keep his accounts private and be careful about what he shares online.

“Since the internet is permanent, harmful content will always exist and it impacts young people who accidentally encounter it, so it is necessary to have the participation of moderators to remove this type of content,” said Hien.

Children and young people like Hien are the experts in sharing their online experiences. With support, they can become responsible digital citizens and can safely use the internet to socialise, learn and connect.

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