Do online risks have real-world consequences?

Debating the offline consequences of online behaviour is a frequent topic of discussion in the current digital age, by both internet safety experts and end-users alike.

Looking at the core of this topic, earlier in November 2016, Microsoft presented new findings from their ‘Civility, Safety and Interaction Online – 2016' study, which polled youth aged 13-17 and adults aged 18-74 in 14 countries. According to this study, nearly 65 per cent of those polled have had at least one negative online experience which resulted in real-world consequences in at least one area of 17 identified online risks. Moreover, when referring to the online experiences of their friends or family, this grows to 78 per cent. As a result, both adults and teens said they became less trusting of others in the real world after a negative interaction online (adults: 31 per cent, teens: 29 per cent). Read the original Microsoft blog post here.
Earlier this autumn, Microsoft published a first entry on this matter, analysing how teenagers appear to be aware, just as much as adults, of the possible imminent risks that they may encounter on the internet. This study was referred to in a previous article on the Better Internet for Kids (BIK) portal, highlighting the timeline to present the full results on the global celebration of Safer Internet Day (SID), next taking place on Tuesday, 7 February 2017 with a theme of ‘Be the change: Unite for a better internet'.
On the path leading to the Safer Internet Day, Microsoft encourages both young people and adults to have a more in-depth look at their online use in their capacity of (future) digital citizens. Taking charge of our online reputation, embracing digital civility and taking some additional measures to keep kids safe online can seem small digital steps for a few users but, if united, they can add up to a significant change for a better internet for all.
From the BIK line of work and associated activities, various positive examples of a correct understanding of digital citizenship have been depicted already this year:
"Digital citizenship is a broad concept that explores how best we should act in this online world, what we need to be aware of and of course what are our rights and responsibilities." This is one of the definitions given by eTwinning, the community for schools in Europe, when dedicating a series of activities to digital citizenship during autumn.
Digital citizenship has also been recognised and adopted by more and more young people: analysing their digital rights and responsibilities, youth panelists from the Insafe network of Safer Internet Centres (SICs) and youth coordinators attended a webinar on digital rights and citizenship earlier in 2016.
Further information on Microsoft's guidelines on online safety can be found on their website and resources page.
Further information on Safer Internet Day can be found at

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