Microsoft has released some stats showing relative safety and civility by nation on “Safer Internet Day,”. According to the stats, people in the UK find each other pretty civil online as the nation has been placed first on Microsoft’s “Digital Civility Index” followed by Australia and the US.
The worst places to be online are South Africa, Mexico, and Russia. According to this research nation that has high violent crime rates has the worst record in terms of online behavior.
Microsoft conducted a study across 14 countries, asking teens and adults about four risks: behavioral, reputational, sexual and personal/intrusive. The top five mentioned were unwanted contact, mean treatment, trolling, unwanted sexts and online harassment.
Levels of Harassment were consistently highest in Russia and South Africa and Mexico reported the highest incidence of Sexual risks. Doxing was a big problem in China while concern ran highest in Mexico, India, Brazil and South Africa.
Facebook was the primary platform for online risks across all countries.
67% adults were more likely to experience an online risk than youth (62%).
Adults reported a higher incidence of Sexual risks than youth.
Youth were more likely to suffer from trolling, bullying and treated meanly than adults.
Microsoft’s aim with this new initiative is to start a conversation about how being civil online can benefit society. Indeed, civility in everyday interactions fosters vibrant, engaged communities.
“We could eradicate most cruelty, bullying, and humiliation that occurs online if every bystander became an ‘upstander,’” says Sean Kosofsky, executive director of the Tyler Clementi Foundation. “We can interrupt harassment, report it and reach out to the affected person.”
India has a higher rate of swatting (the action or practice of making a hoax call to the emergency services) and lower instances of online harassment than the rest of the world.
Around 46% of the world population has an internet connection today. In 1995, it was less than 1%. The number of internet users has increased tenfold from 1999 to 2013. The first billion was reached in 2005, the second billion in 2010 and the third billion in 2014. With more people coming online every year policymakers need to promote legal approaches that deter exploitation and promote social and emotional learning.