Raised in a digital world, millennials are more likely to use online platforms compared to other generations. Therefore, 67% of millennials in India had the highest levels of risk exposure and 77% have experienced a consequence from these online risks. 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.
Digital platforms are influencing the way people communicate online and this has made their interactions less inhibited. In 2016, we conducted a research study among teens and adults in 14 countries to measure the level of civility online. The risks are measured under the Digital Civility Index (DCI), where lower scores indicate lower online risk exposure and higher levels of online civil behavior. For 2016, India surveyed with a Digital Civility Index (DCI) of 63%, which was lower than the global average of 65%.
India ranks seventh with a DCI of 61%
This Safer Internet Day (SID), we’re bringing back the Digital Civility challenge by asking people to practice civil behavior for safer online interactions. India ranks seventh with a DCI of 61%, two points lower than 2016.
For our most recent research, we surveyed 23 countries and found that people’s digital interactions and responses are improving, and they are more inclined to practice civil behavior online. More than half the respondents (52%) across these countries stood up for themselves when confronted with online risks and 27% of the respondents stood up for others in similar situations.
For 2017, we also added two new risks to the Intrusive category (Hoaxes, scams, and frauds, and Misogyny) and one risk to the Behavioral category (Microaggression). The addition of these risks had a small impact on the YOY trend, as India’s DCI would have otherwise been 59%.
20% of perpetrators were family or friends
Recipients of online abuse in India say their experiences involved their immediate families or people from their social circles. Of these, 44% had met their perpetrator in real life, lesser than the global average of 53%. People who met their perpetrators in real life showed higher loss of trust (40%) and sleep (37%) as compared to those who had not (34% showed loss of trust and 19% said they lost sleep).
Nearly eight in 10 millennials experienced a consequence from online risks
Millennials face an average of 2.6 risks, which is higher compared to other generations. Hence it is not surprising that 68% of the millennial respondents have the highest level of concern about online risks. Baby boomers, on the other hand, experience lower consequences of online risks. According to the study, 78% boomers were also most likely to treat others with respect and dignity and stand up for themselves as well. Generation X also showed high levels of civil behavior in comparison to millennials and Gen Z.
45% females reported higher consequences as a result of harassment
Even though men reported higher levels of harassment (53%) as compared to women (47%), females faced higher levels of consequences (45%) as compared to males (32%). Half of the respondents reported harassment, with India standing at nine out of the 23 countries surveyed.
Digital Civility Challenge 2.0
Along with last year’s research, we launched our Digital Civility Challenge in 2017, asking people to pledge to live by four common-sense guidelines for safer, healthier online interactions. Here are the Digital Civility Challenge actions:
- Live the Golden Rule by acting with empathy, compassion and kindness in every interaction, and treating everyone you connect with online with dignity and respect.
- Respect differences, honor diverse perspectives and when disagreements surface, engage thoughtfully, and avoid name-calling and personal attacks.
- Pause before replying to things you disagree with, and don’t post or send anything that could hurt someone else, damage reputations or threaten someone’s safety.
- Stand up for yourself and others by supporting those who are targets of online abuse or cruelty, reporting threatening activity and preserving evidence of inappropriate or unsafe behavior.
While digital interactions have improved in India, we still encourage you to embrace digital civility by being more empathetic, compassionate, and kind. You can explore how to handle online safety issues by referring to our website and our resources page. You can also connect with us on Facebook and Twitter for regular updates and news. This Safer Internet Day, we hope you take up the Digital Civility Challenge and have safer interactions online.