Vietnam fares poorly in online child safety ranking

By Nguyen Quy   February 14, 2020 | 09:45 pm PT
Vietnam fares poorly in online child safety ranking
64 million Vietnamese people are active social media users, according to official data. Photo by Reuters.
Vietnam has performed badly in cyber risk and social infrastructure rating in an index compiled by DQ Institute, a U.S.-based non-profit.

The institute’s Child Online Safety Index for 2020 ranks Vietnam 28th among 30 surveyed economies with an overall score of 12.7 out of 100, below the global average of 42.

In what it claims is the first-ever report of the kind, DQ Institute says a survey was done of 145,426 children and adolescents over the last three years, measuring the level of online safety for children based on six pillars: cyber risks, disciplined digital use, digital competency, guidance & education, social infrastructure and connectivity.

The report admits that the collection of 30 economies is a convenience sample and the data may not be nationally representative.

Child safety]

Scores from 30 economies in DQ Institute's Child Online Safety Index for 2020.

Vietnam was a bottom ten finisher in all six pillars, performing worst in terms of cyber risks, including cyberbullying, risky content and risky contact with strangers as well as social infrastructure, which factors in the legal framework and government policies for child online protection. In both these categories, Vietnam was in 28th position.

The DQI study found that owning a mobile phone increases overall risks for young people by around 20 percent, while being highly active on social media and gaming increases risks of being exposed to cyber danger by around 40 percent.

The report also said mobile ownership among children in Vietnam was low.

The country ranked 25th in disciplined digital use, which gauges the amount of social media and gaming activity children engage in; and 26th in digital competency, which measures children's ability to mitigate cyber risks and maximize the positive use of technology.

In guidance education, which measures levels of parental influence and instruction regarding children’s media use, Vietnam was placed 22nd. It was in 21st place in connectivity, which is based on children's access to the internet.

Vietnam lagged way behind most Southeast Asian peers in the list. Malaysia did best in third position, followed by Singapore (4th), the Philippines (23rd) and Indonesia (26th). Thailand finished at the bottom of the ranking.

Spain was deemed the safest country in the world for children online, followed by Australia and Malaysia.

21 percent of young people in Vietnam have been a victim of cyber bullying, a UNICEF survey found last year.

In Vietnam, cyber bullying most often occurs on Facebook, messaging apps such as Zalo and Viber, and video and photo sharing sites such as YouTube and Instagram, UNICEF said.

According to official statistics, there are 64 million active social media users in Vietnam, or nearly two-thirds of the country’s population. Of them, six million were Facebook and Instagram users under the age of 18.

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