To become a responsible 'digital citizen'...

WVR - Individuals with great digital capabilities play an important role, which is considered a vital factor to achieve success in study, research and career development. Therefore, to become a responsible digital citizen, each individual needs to be fully equipped with digital capabilities.
To become a responsible 'digital citizen'...
According to Ms. Dinh Thi Nhu Hoa, children need to be equipped with digital skills to become responsible digital citizens and to not get lost in cyberspace.

Above is the view shared by Ms. Dinh Thi Nhu Hoa, Head of Department of Accredition, Vietnam Cybersecurity Emergency Response Teams/Coordination Center (VNCERT/CC), Department of Information Security, Ministry of Information and Communications, on the education of digital skills for children.

Now, children are increasingly vulnerable on social media due to risks in cyberspace. These risks are no different from real life. How worrisome is this?

Children in the world and in Vietnam have access to the Internet from a very early age. During the COVID-19 pandemic, almost everyone's activities were through online information exchange.

Now, children uses Internet or social media for learning, entertainment, and connecting with friends. The older they are, the higher the demand for them to use the Internet both in terms of duration and purpose.

According to UNICEF's Status Report on Preventing Harmful Behavior in Vietnam 2022, 82% of Vietnamese children aged 12-13, 93% aged 14-15 use the Internet. 75% of children aged 12-13 years old use the Internet at least once a day, meanwhile 90% of children in the 14-15 age group use the Internet daily.

Internet use is increasing among children. Their awareness are not fully developed, so they are more susceptible to risks when operating in cyberspace, and it may cause many unpredictable consequences.

There are risks such as children's access to harmful content (violence, pornography, etc.) that distort their thinking, lifestyle, and development, or the distribution of children's personal information, cyber bully.

At the same time, children are also at risk of game addiction. Many cases from game addiction have turned into crimes like theft, fraud, even negative actions due to hallucinations from game characters.

In addition, children are also easily manipulated, seduced, harassed, scammed, threatened, blackmailed, forced to participate in illegal activities, prostitution, and sexually abused.

In addition to equipping children with knowledge and skills to not get "lost" in cyberspace, what specific solutions should authorities take to protect them?

In order to minimize online child abuse, it is necessary to have a synchronous implementation of many solutions. Specifically, Decision No. 830/QD-TTg signed by Prime Minister pointed out 5 groups of tasks and solutions to protect children in the online environment as followed:

First, to build and complete a legal framework, putting children in the center of policy formulation, collecting opinions of children on mechanisms and policies affecting children.

Second, to organize activities on communication, awareness raising and skills training on a national scale. Awareness raising is demonstrated through educational programs that equip children with knowledge about the online environment.

To encourage parents, caregivers, and teachers to update their knowledge and methods to guide children in self-protection skills, to let them detect and denounce potentially abusive behavior online.

Third, to deploy measures and solutions and apply technology. Thereby in order to connect, share data, collect and analyze information, monitor filtering, and remove child abuse contents on the Internet.

Fourth, to improve the organizational structure, improve law enforcement capacity. Improve the organizational structure of training and re-training staffs to meet professional requirements and promptly respond to issues related to children in the online environment.

Fifth, to strengthen international cooperation. Currently, with the Internet, strengthening international relations is inevitable, especially on working together to share information and updating solutions to support the protection of children online.

Technology is developing quickly, but child abusement online is also becoming more and more sophisticated. Therefore, we also have to update child protection measures corresponding to Decision No. 830. I hope that the goal of protecting and supporting children will achieve certain goals.

To become a responsible 'digital citizen'...
Children may unknowingly read negative information on the Internet. (Photo: Pixabay)

Social networks are also have negative effects on children's perception. What do parents need to learn and do to protect their children, since not all all parents are good at technology and spend a lot of time with their kids?

In addition to the involvement of the State and Government, the attention of parents plays a key role in ensuring the safety of children.

Parents, teachers and caregivers need to pay attention to listen and protect children when they encounter any difficulties. Teach children how to handle situations that are appropriate for their age. Always pay attention, monitor and supervise children's activities in cyberspace.

Parents also should equip themselves with knowledge and skills to protect their children online. The Department of Information Security is coordinating with a number of organizations to develop a code of conduct on protecting children in the online environment and a manual on child protection in the online environment and will be issued this year. Parents can also visit the official website of VNCERT/CC for more information.

It is also necessary to establish rules about the use of computers and network devices for your children. Children are only allowed to use social networks when they are old enough according to the community guidelines recommended by social networking platforms. Note that the normal age allowed is 13.

Always pay close attention to what they are watching online. Parents should alo install virus, malware prevention softwares, monitoring softwares and blocks harmful contents so that their children can’t access them. Parents also teach their children on how to recognize risks and report and seek help. When children have problems in the online environment, they can contact the hotline 111 or the VN-COP network at the website

To set up complex passwords, change default accounts on network devices, IoT devices in the family are also needed.

Most importantly, parents need to pay more attention to their children's feelings. Not being able to participate in outdoor activities easily leads children to find entertainment content online. Therefore, parents should search for useful, appropriate and attractive online learning programs to attract young children.

We still need to focus on educating children, so that children can become responsible digital citizens, don't we?

Covid-19 was devastating. There were times when lockdown stop most practical activities, but it does not mean that we stop all activities. We move our day-to-day activities in the physical world to the digital one. Children, instead of going to school, switch to online learning. Adults are switching to online and remote working.

In such an environment, people with good digital capabilities play an important role which is considered a vital factor to achieve success in study, research and career development. To become a responsible digital citizen, each individual needs to be equipped with digital capabilities.

For students, equipping digital competencies is extremely important in the digital age, this process should start be age-appropriate and should start from elementary school. Parents also play a great part in forming their children develop so that he or she can be self-reliant and self-learn new knowledge and skills in the digital environment.

From there, children can develop communication skills and solve problems in the digital environment in different ways. The implementation of digital competence education focuses not only on informatics but also in other subjects and in learning activities.

In my opinion, in order to improve digital competence for students, not only training for students but also need to develop digital competence for teachers. At the same time, increase awareness for both families and the community to form a leadership environment for children to improve their digital capabilities.

Thank you so much!

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