Microsoft digital civility study shows online abuse often comes from people's own social circles

According to Microsoft's latest study, released on Safer Internet Day (SID) 2018, people's digital interactions and responses to online risks appear to be improving around the world – though perhaps surprisingly, many of those who have been targeted for abuse online say their perpetrators came from their immediate families and social circles.

Indeed, nearly two in three respondents (61 per cent) said they had some familiarity with their online abusers. More than a third (36 per cent) said they knew the perpetrator personally: 17 per cent responded that the perpetrator was a friend or a family member, while nearly one in five (19 per cent) said the perpetrator was an acquaintance. One quarter of those surveyed said the offender was someone they knew only online, and 37 per cent said their online risk exposure came from a stranger. Family and friends accounted for a high percentage of perpetrators among those who said they were bullied online (41 per cent) or discriminated against (36 per cent).

These are some of the findings of Microsoft's latest study, "Civility, Safety and Interactions Online – 2017" which measured the perceptions of teens and adults about the online risks they face and how their interactions affect their lives.

Microsoft has released this research in conjunction with international Safer Internet Day. Microsoft is also reigniting its Digital Civility Challenge, asking people to pledge to live by four common-sense guidelines for safer online interactions, along with inviting everyone to share examples of how they're doing the right thing online using the hashtags #Challenge4Civility and #Im4DigitalCivility.

This year's Safer Internet Day theme is "Create, connect and share respect: A better internet starts with you". To highlight the theme, the Microsoft research was conducted in June 2017 and, following on from last year's study, gauges the attitudes and perceptions of teens (ages 13-17) and adults (ages 18-74) about the state of civility online today. It measured respondents' lifetime exposure to 20 different online risks – three more than the previous year – across four categories: behavioural, reputational, sexual and personal/intrusive.

The study was conducted in 23 countries (up from 14 countries in 2016).

This article is an abstract from a recent Microsoft blog article and is reproduced here with permission. Read the full Microsoft blog article on the "Microsoft on the issues" blog, including an overview of the top online risks, such as "unwanted contact", "hoaxes", and "fraud and scams", along with information on Microsoft's Digital Civility Challenge 2.0.

See Microsoft's Safer Internet Day Supporter profile page also.


Related news

Microsoft study shows teens are looking to parents for help with online issues

Microsoft's latest study, called "Civility, Safety and Interaction Online – 2018", shows an encouraging development in online safety. Indeed, there has been a stark increase in the numbers of teenagers turning to their parents and other trusted adults to solve online problems. 

Microsoft's Council for Digital Good calls on US policymakers to promote digital civility

  • Awareness
  • 31/07/2018
  • Jacqueline Beauchere, Microsoft

In an open letter to U.S. law- and policy-makers, Microsoft's Council for Digital Good is calling on government to address digital-world realities like cyberbullying and "sextortion" by modernizing laws and promoting in-school education to encourage positive online behaviors.

Microsoft's teen Council for Digital Good at one year: Learning, sharing and growing

Microsoft is a supporter of Safer Internet Day, the annual celebration of creating a safer and better internet for children and young people across the globe, and frequently launches new research and initiatives in support of the campaign. Last October, we reported on the establishment of Microsoft's Council for Digital Good. Here, Jacqueline Beauchere, Chief Online Safety Officer at Microsoft, reports on the success of its teen council after one year of operation.

A better internet starts with you…on Safer Internet Day 2018

On Tuesday, 6 February 2018, more than 140 countries worldwide, including all 28 countries of the European Union, along with many organisational supporters, celebrated Safer Internet Day (SID) for the fifteenth consecutive year. Initiated under the European Commission's Safer Internet Programme and now continuing under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), which co-funds Safer Internet Centres in the member states, the day marks an annual opportunity to engage in making the internet a safer and better place for our children and young people.

SID 2018 is here!

As every year, we celebrate Safer Internet Day (SID) on the second day of the second week of the second month of the year! SID 2018 takes place today, 6 February 2018 under the theme of "Create, connect and share respect: a better internet starts with you"! 

Microsoft celebrates Safer Internet Day

Safer Internet Day 2016 was celebrated across the globe on Tuesday, 9 February. In our round up of events and activities which took place to mark the day, we hear from SID Supporter Microsoft: