Microsoft, coinciding with Safer Internet Day (SID), released the results of its Microsoft Digital Civility Index. The index examines the extent of negative behaviours, online interactions and their consequences. The research encompassed 23 countries and 20 online risks.
Microsoft’s Index is based on a survey completed in May/June 2017 to gauge the attitudes and perceptions of teens (ages 13-17) and adults (ages 18-74) in 23 countries about the state of digital civility today. 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 20 online risks across four areas: behavioral, reputational, sexual and personal/intrusive.
South Africa ranked 22nd out of 23 countries for exposure to online risks. The Index was broken up into four main categories, namely; Intrusive, Behavioural, Sexual and Reputational.
Here is how South Africa fared in the Microsoft Digital Civility Index 2017:
|Hoaxes,scams and frauds||44.00%||NA||27.00%|
|Unwanted Sexting received||27.00%||27.00%||21.00%|
|Unwanted Sexting sent||17.00%||13.00%||14.00%|
|Damage to personal reputation||13.00%||11.00%||9.00%|
|Damage to work reputation||5.00%||5.00%||4.00%|
As a 14-year SID participant, in addition to the release of the research Microsoft is rallying global consumers to take the Digital Civility Challenge on the companies Digital-Civility page and learn about online safety risks in its latest Digital Civility Index.
Microsoft’s Digital Civility Index revealed that people have experienced an average of 2.6 online safety risks out of the 20 included in the survey, with the top 5 risks being:
1) unwanted contact
3) being treated meanly
4) receiving unwanted sexting messages
Microsoft’s Digital Civility Index Digital-Civility also revealed facts like:
• The overall level of online risks and consequences held steady with a small increase among family and friends.
• Targets of online risks often named acquaintances, friends or family as perpetrators.
• Encouraging signs emerged as people began to evolve their approaches towards the challenges of negative online interactions.
• Millennials (ages 18-34) had the highest lifetime exposure to online risks.
• Respondents ranked a “loss of trust in others, both on- and offline, increased stress, and sleep deprivation” as the leading, real-world consequences of negative online interactions.
Speaking about the report Kethan Parbhoo,Chief Operations and Marketing Officer at Microsoft South Africa said, “We live in a society where online habits reflect our society. From a South African perspective what waas interesting is that online risks have grown, this is an indication that more and more people in the country are getting access to the internet.”
“What we are trying to achieve is to show people that just because we are interacting in an online world, does not mean we can act differently to real world interactions. This is the idea behind both the Index and the Challenge, to educate people not only about the risks but also about how they act online,” Parbhoo added.
With the availability of the Challenge and Index data, 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.”