With the internet, children can study online, practice skills and critical thinking, work in teams, improve language skills, and join groups and communities with similar habits.

Content is created with entertainment models and diverse knowledge, thus helping children learn and play well.

However, if they are not equipped with skills to protect themselves, or if there is no barrier to prevent toxic content, children will face a negative impact from toxic content on social media. 

If information cannot be controlled and selected, children may fall into the trap of the ‘virtual world’. They may consider what happens on social networks as real life and imitate the behaviors they see in the virtual world.

More dangerously, children can easily be bullied online, deceived, seduced, or induced to commit illegal acts.

The state has recently launched important policies to protect children from increasingly high risks in cyberspace. The policies are taking shape in laws, including the 2015 Law on Cyberinformation Security, 2016 Law on Children 2016, and 2018 Law on Cybersecurity.

To improve children’s awareness of using social media, some education establishments often organize programs and events to disseminate laws on preventing and fighting child abuse in cyberspace, and on preventing and fighting violence against children.

At the events, students are provided information and guidance on preventing child abuse, recognizing toxic content, and keeping away from content that promotes violence. 

The events are designed as dialogues where students can exchange information and raise questions about matters of their concern.

Dinh Thi Phuong Anh, headmaster at Luong Yen Secondary School in Hanoi, believes there should be close cooperation between families, schools and society to protect children.

“The role of schools is indispensable in establishing ‘barriers’ that protect students and encourage them to have healthy and creative interactions in cyberspace,” she said.

Meanwhile, parents must be strict supervisors of their children to be sure that their children use the internet for healthy and reasonable purposes.

One of the wise solutions parents can apply is controlling their children’s time on the internet with technological tools. On YouTube, for example, when parents grant the right to access to YouTube to their children, some certain features won’t be available to protect the small internet users.

Thanh Hung