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ASEAN seeks ways to protect children from school and online bullying

November 28, 2020 | 10:34

Children bullied at schools and online was debated at a meeting jointly held by the Vietnamese Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA), the ASEAN Secretariat, and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

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The virtual meeting on children bullying at schools and online in ASEAN was jointly held by the Vietnamese Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA), the ASEAN Secretariat, and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

Children bullying at schools and online was debated at a meeting jointly held by the Vietnamese Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA), the ASEAN Secretariat, and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

The virtual meeting saw the participation of representatives from the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC), ASEAN specialised bodies working in education, health, information and communications, the ASEAN Secretariat, the UNICEF office in Vietnam, international organisations, and ASEAN partners.

In her opening remarks, Deputy Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Nguyen Thi Ha spoke highly of cooperation and support of UNICEF, development partners, donors, specialised agencies from ASEAN, and civil and non-governmental organisations for their technical and financial support for activities to promote children’s rights in general and to protect them from bullying at school and on the internet in particular.

She suggested intensifying cooperation between ACWC and other specialized agencies within ASEAN, and between ASEAN member countries and other countries around the world, in ending bullying and violence at schools and online and creating a suitable environment for children’s all-round development.

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Deputy Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Nguyen Thi Ha speaks at the meeting. Photo: Giap Tong

Delegates exchanged views on bullying at schools and online around the world as well as in ASEAN. They also shared good practice and made recommendations to relevant ASEAN bodies to address the issue.

The conference is part of the ACWC’s working plan in the 2016-2020 period, in the context of the increasing risk to children from bullying at school and online.

ACWC was established in Hanoi on April 7, 2010, on the occasion of the 16th ASEAN Summit. It works to promote, protect, respect, and implement the rights of women and children in ASEAN.

Solutions to children bullying

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21 percent of the respondents in Vietnam said they have been a victim of online bullying. Photo: UNICEF Viet Nam

One in three young people in 30 countries said they have been a victim of online bullying, with one in five reporting having skipped school due to cyberbullying and violence, in a new poll released today by UNICEF and the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) on Violence against Children.

According to this report, 21 percent of the respondents in Vietnam said they have been a victim of online bullying and most (75 percent) are not aware of a helpline or service that they can turn to if they are being a victim of cyberbullying or violence online.

Speaking out anonymously through the youth engagement tool U-Report, almost three-quarters of young people also said social networks, including Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter, are the most common place for online bullying.

Connected classrooms mean school no longer ends once a student leaves class, and, unfortunately, neither does schoolyard bullying,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore.

Through the poll, young people were asked via SMS and instant messaging technology a series of questions relating to their experiences of online bullying and violence, where it most frequently happens, and who they think is responsible for ending it.

Some 32 percent of those polled believe governments should be responsible for ending cyberbullying, 31 per cent said young people and 29 per cent said internet companies.

Regarding this issue, 44 percent of young people in Vietnam think that it’s their responsibility to end cyberbullying while 30 per cent believe that it should be Government’s task.

Nabila who represented Indonesian children at the virtual meeting said bullying would make children feel insecure and don’t want to go to schools that are no longer safe in their mind.

Governments should create a safe environment for children, she said, suggesting the building of specific orientations and priorities to protect children from bullying. Meanwhile, schools need to take solutions to handle bullying acts.

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Pham Dao Hong Ngoc from Vietnam's Back Kan province speaks at the meeting.

Pham Dao Hong Ngoc, from Vietnam’s northern mountainous province of Bac Kan, said both children and adults should equip themselves with knowledge and skills to prevent children bullying./.

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