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Teaching children to be safe online this Safer Internet Day

Today is Safer Internet Day and ChildFund is working with children, families and their communities to make sure that children have the knowledge and skills to stay safe while learning and interacting with their peers online.

The COVID-19 pandemic has seen widespread school closures and lockdowns, meaning that there are more children using the internet than ever before. While it has allowed them to stay connected to their friends and to continue their education, it has also put them at greater risk of online exploitation.

To respond to this increased risk, ChildFund Vietnam launched an online internet safety course to teach children how they can stay safe online during periods of extended lockdown. This training is an extension of the Swipe Safe program launched in 2019.

The Swipe Safe program, now in its second phase, has been launched in the Bac Kan, Cao Bang and Hoa Binh Provinces. In the first phase of the program, training sessions about online safety were delivered face-to-face in classrooms, but as the virus continued to spread, these sessions were moved online.

ChildFund held two training courses in December for children impacted by the lockdowns. Working with government stakeholders, ChildFund used online platforms to bring together children from across the country to teach them about information security, setting passwords, sharing information and exploring what is safe to share online. They also discussed how they can access help if they feel unsafe online.

These sessions were designed to be interactive, fun and stimulating. During the training, children can take quizzes and score themselves against their peers, creating a friendly competition between the students that keeps them engaged in the content.

One mother, Ms. Nga said: “At first I thought my child would only attend the two mandatory sessions. But the next day my child was so excited that she kept reminding me to let her eat dinner early so she could attend class on time.”

She believes that by making the curriculum entertaining, children are more engaged. “I think that the teaching method used by ChildFund Vietnam is really great. It helps the children relax and enjoy the class but still helps them absorb useful information.”

The COVID-19 pandemic is continuing to see more and more children using the internet and ChildFund does not expect this to change any time soon. Beyond Safer Internet Day ChildFund is committed to empowering children with the knowledge of online safety and the resources to get help when they need it, so that they can make the most of the online world.

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