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Microsoft Releases Digital Civility Index On Safer Internet Day

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As part of its commitment towards online safety, Microsoft has released the 3rd Digital Civility Index on Safer Internet Day (Feb 05). The index shows that people across the world are experiencing increased levels of online civility, including in India. India was at No. 7 among 22 countries surveyed worldwide. The India index was 59% (vs the global index of 66%), reflecting a gain of 2 points y-o-y, indicating a better level of online civility in the country. A lower index indicates lower risk exposure and a higher perceived level of online civility among the population.

The DCI is based on a survey completed in May 2018 to gauge the attitudes and perceptions of teens (ages 13-17) and adults (ages 18-74) in 22 countries about online behaviors and interactions. It asked questions like, “which online risks have you and your close circle experienced, when and how often have the risks occurred, and what consequences and actions were taken?” — and it measured respondents’ lifetime exposure to 21 online risks across four areas: behavioral, reputational, sexual and personal/intrusive.

The survey showed that unwanted contact continues to be the standout risk across geographies and demographics. However, teens around the world now more than ever are looking to their parents and other trusted adults for help with online risks. The report reveals several insights for India, including the following:

  • The types of risks that stood out for India compared to the global averages included: 1) receiving offensive or obscene content, 2) encountering fake news and 3) encountering internet hoaxes
  • Online risks had some of the strongest impacts on millennials and teenagers in terms of risk exposure and consequences
  • Teens matched the global average in asking for help from parents (+35 points to 45%) or another adult (+18 points to 26%)
  • 29% of perpetrators of online abuse were family or friends
  • Respondents showed an increase in “loss of trust in others, both on- and offline; stress, and sleep deprivation” as a result of negative online interactions

Indians were most likely to encounter fake news and internet hoaxes, with 7 points higher than the global average

Digital Civility Challenge

Microsoft is also challenging people to take the Digital Civility Challenge and pledge to adopt positive online habits and practices throughout the year. The goal of the challenge is to support Microsoft’s long-term commitment to fostering safe, inclusive interactions online and to encourage people to be accountable for their online behaviour and to serve as a role model and/or champion for others. The digital civility actions include:

  • Live the Golden Rule by acting with empathy, compassion and kindness in every interaction, and treat everyone you connect with online with dignity and respect.
  • Respect differences, honor diverse perspectives and when disagreements surface, engage thoughtfully, and avoid name-calling and personal attacks.
  • Pause before replying to things you disagree with, and don’t post or send anything that could hurt someone else, damage a reputation or threaten someone’s safety.
  • Stand up for yourself and others by supporting those who are targets of online abuse or cruelty, reporting threatening activity and preserving evidence of inappropriate or unsafe behaviour.

The 22 countries that participated in the survey were Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States and Vietnam. Microsoft hopes policymakers, companies, and consumers will consider the need for a safer, more respectful internet and leverage the evidentiary base for a global push toward “digital civility.”

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