Children should be put in the centre when building digital policies. (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Relevant organisations and agencies should join hands to create a safe internet environment for children, said Deputy Minister of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs Dao Hong Lan.

Lan made the remarks at a ceremony held in Hanoi on December 12 to release the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)’s annual report “State of the World’s Children 2017: Children in a Digital World”.

She noted that it is necessary to equip children with necessary skills to access to a safe internet environment and children should be put in the centre when building digital policies.

Meanwhile, Youssouf Abdel-Jelil, UNICEF Representative in Vietnam, said that digital technology can make a life change for children who are left behind, particularly disable and ethnic kids and those living in disadvantaged areas.

Online protection does not mean to control children’s internet use but protect their safety, he highlighted, adding that the Government need to closely work with the private sector to safeguard children, especially disadvantaged kids.

The UNICEF’s flagship report stated that despite children’s massive online presence – 1 in 3 internet users worldwide is a child – too little is done to protect them from the perils of the digital world and to increase their access to safe online content.

The report explores the benefits digital technology can offer the most disadvantaged children, including those growing up in poverty or affected by humanitarian emergencies. These include increasing their access to information, building skills for the digital workplace, and giving them a platform to connect and communicate their views.

However, millions of children are missing out, the report said. Around one third of the world’s youths – 346 million – are not online, exacerbating inequities and reducing children’s ability to participate in an increasingly digital economy.

The report examines how the internet increases children’s vulnerability to risks and harms, including misuse of their private information, access to harmful content, and cyber bullying. The ubiquitous presence of mobile devices, the report notes, has made online access for many children less supervised – and potentially more dangerous.
Furthermore, it also recommended that policies need to facilitate internet access for children, protect them from online threats like abuse, human trafficking and online bullying, and safeguard their privacy and identities.

Officially connected to the Internet in 1997, Vietnam had 64 million internet users as of June 2017, accounting for 67 percent of the total population. Social media has been popularized with 64 million Facebookers, most of whom are children and teenagers.-VNA