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Oct 07, 2020 / 15:05

Swedish ambassador to Vietnam joins Plan International to fight cyber bullying

The Swedish Embassy in Vietnam and Plan International call for everyone's participation to create a safer online environment for everyone, especially women and girls.

To celebrate the International Day of the Girl, Swedish Ambassador to Vietnam Ann Måwe on October 6 became the first person to sign the open sending to social media companies, initiated by Plan International, to call for building a safe online environment for children and youth, especially girls.

 Swedish Ambassador to Vietnam Ann Måwe talks with Vietnamese girls and International Plan representatives. Photo: Swedish Embassy in Hanoi

This letter represents 14,000 girls from 22 countries around the world, sending to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok, with the message: “Now is the time for all of us to take action so that girls can #BeSafeOnline.”

“We are physically threatened, racially abused, sexually harassed and body shamed. Online violence is serious. It causes real harm and it’s silencing our voices. As this global pandemic moves our lives online, we are more at risk than ever,” states the letter.

The girls suggest that the social media platforms listen to their experiences, work
with them to create stronger reporting mechanisms for violence that meet girls’ needs and hold perpetrators to account.

Online abuse is a concern not only for Vietnam. The global research by Plan International shows that more than half (58%) of girls and young women have been harassed or abused online. Attacks are most common on Facebook, where 39% say they have suffered harassment, but occur on every platform included in the global study, including Instagram (23%), WhatsApp (14%), Snapchat (10%), Twitter (9%) and TikTok (6%).

Faced with the alarming situation on this issue, Plan International globally is urging everyone to sign an open letter asking social media companies to take concrete action to ensure safety for girls online.

 Swedish Ambassador to Vietnam Ann Måwe signs the letter. Photo: Swedish Embassy in Hanoi

Ms. Sharon Kane, country director of Plan International Vietnam, said: “This research was gathered in conversation with more than 14,000 girls around the world. Although they live in multiple continents, sadly they share similar experiences of harassment and discrimination.”

After listening to the current situation of cyber bullying in Vietnam, Ambassador Ann Måwe commented that the role of parents and teachers is to ensure the safety of children online, but still need to respect their privacy.

“Just like the letter has stated, many people argued that when girls and women publish their information on the internet, they need to be prepared for judgments and criticisms. But why don't we turn this around, that social media is a welcoming platform for all. Women and girls have the right to express themselves and their own perspectives on it. They deserve to be listened to, instead of receiving non-constructive criticism," she added.

The Swedish Embassy in Vietnam and Plan International call for everyone's participation to create a safer online environment for everyone, especially women and girls. Start with signing the letter at: https://plan-international.org/vi/toan-tren-mang-cho-tre-em-gai

Plan International is an independent development and humanitarian organization that advances children’s rights, with a special focus on equality for girls. It has been working in northern and central Vietnam since 1993.