Youth Violence Grows in Fast-Changing Vietnam

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 Sociologists say there is no data to capture trends in the violence but it appears to be increasing as social mores change, although the problem is not confined to Viet Nam.

While foreigners still see Viet Nam as one of the safest countries in Asia, locals are increasingly concerned. Youth violence became a hot topic in online news sites over the past year in Viet Nam, where nearly 20 percent of the 86 million people are between 15 and 24 years old.

In one of the more serious cases, a 15-year-old boy in southern Da Lat city was stabbed to death by two other grade nine students, VnExpress news site reported. The motive for the killing was unclear.

There were nearly 1,600 cases of violence in and outside schools in the 2009-2010 academic year, according to Ministry of Education and Training figures cited by Lao Dong newspaper.

More than 2,400 students had been reprimanded for their acts while hundreds were temporarily suspended from school, it said.

Along with weaker parental supervision, young people are subjected to “rampant violent images” in the mass media, online games and films, Binh said. But Viet Nam lacks effective social organizations for helping to improve the situation, Toan said.
“I think we are now living in an irresponsible society, with people tending to stay away from community and public activities,” he said.