Inside the fight to make the internet safe for Vietnamese kids

The amount of exposure to online advertising for children in Vietnam is on the rise. In 2020, nearly 80% of this audience will choose to view the internet instead of television. 98% of these viewers will access information from online sources. The Drum explores the measures taken to ensure that the internet is safe for children in Vietnam.

Despite online usage by Vietnamese kids being one of the highest in the region, with 88% accessing the internet via a smartphone, awareness of children’s data privacy laws is one of the lowest.

However, it is gaining momentum given the recent kid-safe regulation passed by the country’s prime minister’s office in June 2021. Although not as robust as GDPR-K and COPPA compliance, it is a progressive stance by the Vietnamese government recognizing that a Vietnamese child’s average daily time spent online has increased some 15% this year to date.

In 2021, Vietnamese children spent an average of 2h 26mins online during weekdays and 3h at weekends.

Michael Hung, the chief operating officer of TenMax AdTech Lab, explains with the explosion of social media platforms in Vietnam – the top three are YouTube, Facebook and TikTok – there are limited if any data privacy and safety regulations that can be enforced by a court of law.

“To this end, 98% of Vietnamese parents surveyed in our yearly Kids Digital Insights Research are worried about their kids’ safety on social media,” he explains.

“79% cite inappropriate content as their biggest worry (highest in the region, with the Philippines at 47% next) and 62% note the platforms’ bad moral influence on their child.”

TenMax AdTech Lab has partnered with TotallyAwesome to address growing concerns about the safety and privacy of children and young families who use the internet.

Both parties aim to design to provide a digital environment with child-friendly advertising content in Vietnam, while complying with the world’s highest standards of privacy and safety for this young audience.

Will Anstee, chief executive officer at TotallyAwesome, says that while adtech companies and big tech slow down their evolution to a cookieless world by 2023, contextual targeting is the key to brands engaging a young audience online.

“With technological advances, such as semantic targeting, which lets a brand’s values resonate in the most appropriate emotional context, driving hyper-relevancy and meaning, TotallyAwesome also relies on an army of people, albeit time intensive, to apply a ‘human value judgement’ to content, ensuring a brand is both laser-focused and never compromised,” he explains.

“Therefore our philosophy and investment in contextual targeting merges best practices of both machines and people, providing brands a unique, safe and scalable channel to their high-value audiences, driving superior media ROI. It’s a win-win.

“We have GDPR-K and COPPA compliance embedded at the heart of our bespoke processes for a brand’s peace of mind. We understand the power is not with the publisher, rather the power is at the page level within the publisher, giving media campaigns booked by TotallyAwesome’s media benchmarks some 10 times above industry. How do we do this? By empowering brands to be highly relevant, with dignity, utility and permission.”

With 55.5% of Vietnam’s population under 35 years old, TotallyAwesome plans to reach them in the future through a three-step process to guarantee a brand’s media effectiveness and efficiency in engaging kids and teens in Vietnam.

The three-step process involves audience-first, curation, enrichment and curation.

“Audience First is a bespoke inventory ‘discovery’ process capturing a high-quality audience marketplace where brands can engage an audience with confidence and accuracy via leveraging through analytics of behavioral patterns and paths to purchase across content, interests and mindsets,” explains Anstee.

“They can also use real-time consumer insights on media habits and content consumption. There will be a resident pediatric psychologist providing behavioral insights at each life stage, by market and AI-driven algorithms matching similar content.”

TotallyAwesome wants to curate content that is KidSafe-certified safe for their audience.

Moderation is carried out by a team of Vietnamese kids, teens, and family experts. They have more than two million hours of combined experience working with brands and content creators.

Antsee adds: “For enrichment, we ensure consistent categorization by humans who understand content, language, age, gender and life stage, not algorithms. Therefore, content is categorized by psychologists and family/educational experts so that safety is guaranteed by humans, not an ever-changing algorithm.”