As children and young people head back to school in many places around the world, recent Microsoft research shows that education continues to be critical to making the internet a safer and a more respectful place. Nearly nine out of 10 respondents (88%) said they strongly agreed or agreed with the statement, “We need to educate people better about how to make the digital world safer.”
We also know that the impact of the global pandemic continues to play out online, as well as offline. In July, we released findings from our sixth annual study, “Civility, Safety, and Interactions Online – 2021”, which showed that perceptions of online civility have been worsening over the last year. Teens and adults in 18 of 22 countries said that civility in the digital world was net-worse after a year of COVID-19.
This all points to a continuing need for us to spread “digital good” and to keep emphasising the importance of foundational online safety skills. In June, we were pleased to announce the launch of “Digital Safety Essentials for students and teachers”: a new resource intended to support classroom discussions on key elements of digital safety. Intended as a resource for teachers, including in hybrid or online learning environments, the site provides information aimed at young people and quizzes to test their knowledge, as well as downloadable notes for teachers.
We’re aiming to make this resource more widely available across the Asia-Pacific region, so a Japanese-language version was released in August, alongside the results of some Microsoft research into perceptions of online safety among teachers, students and parents in Japan. And today we’re pleased to launch Digital Safety Essentials in Filipino, making this resource available to as many people as possible in the Philippines.
Our 2020 Digital Civility research showed that the top wishes for online life in the 2020s for people in the Philippines were respect (82%) and safety (60%). Unfortunately, in our latest research results, Filipino respondents reported the sharpest net-negative sentiment among the Asia-Pacific countries surveyed, with 50% saying that online civility has become worse during the COVID-19 pandemic.
We at Microsoft want to help empower users around the world to keep moving towards those goals of greater respect and safety in online interactions. We hope students and teachers in the Philippines can take advantage of this new resource to help facilitate in-class conversations on four essential digital safety topics:
· Protecting your data and identity
· Putting a stop to cyberbullying
· Wising up to risks, and
· Being a good digital citizen