Microsoft promotes digital civility on the occasion of Safer Internet Day

Microsoft releases Digital Civility Index, which reveals the need for people to treat each other with dignity online, for a safer and more respectful internet


Microsoft conducted a research among adults and teenagers in 14 countries and released the findings through its Digital Civility Index (DCI). Photo: Reuters
Microsoft conducted a research among adults and teenagers in 14 countries and released the findings through its Digital Civility Index (DCI). Photo: Reuters

New Delhi: Microsoft is challenging people around the world to embrace ‘digital civility’ and treat each other with respect and dignity online, on the occasion of Safer Internet Day (SID).

SID is an international day of action, organized every February, to promote safer and more responsible use of technology, particularly among children and young people. Digital platforms, social media sites, messaging apps and other online groups and forums, tend to bring out a less than cordial nature in people.

Many people act differently online than they do in person. They may be more outgoing, or passive, they may be more aggressive or social online then they are in person. The online world is relatively new, so the social, psychological, cultural, and legal implications leave a lot to be understood.

To study the levels of civility across various online interactions, Microsoft conducted a research among adults and teenagers in 14 countries and released the findings through its Digital Civility Index (DCI), which reveals the need for people to treat each other with dignity online, for a safer and more respectful internet.

According to the survey, 63% of Indian respondents reported having been exposed to an online risk, 44% of Indians experienced their most recent online risk within the past month, indicating higher frequency while 69% Indian respondents expressed concern over an online risk.

Youths were more confident than adults in managing uncivil behaviour, and were more knowledgeable about where to get help if needed.

However, only 50% youths and 35% adults knew where to get help.

Males in India reported more risks across categories—64% as compared to 61% for females. Whereas more females tightened privacy controls (61%) compared to males (50%) after experiencing online risk.

“On Safer Internet Day, Microsoft is using the Digital Civility Index to amplify awareness and demonstrate the need to further educate young adults, parents, educators, and policymakers about the real-world consequences of negative online interactions, which can have serious consequences. We hope these findings will serve as an evidentiary base for a global drive toward digital civility and increase accountability among internet users,” said Madhu Khatri, associate general counsel, Microsoft India.

The DCI measured consumers’ lifetime exposure to online risks across four categories: behavioural, intrusive, reputational and sexual.

• On intrusive behaviour like hate speech, discrimination, unwanted contact, or terrorism recruiting, 79% Indians reported concern levels.

• 77% Indians reported behavioural concerns like cyberbullying, trolling, or online harassment.

• Concerns on unwanted sexual solicitation, sexting, revenge porn, or sextortion was reported by 77% Indians.

• Concerns on unwanted reputational behaviour such as doxing and damage to personal or workplace reputation was reported by 77% Indians.

More From Livemint