Online risks in India decreased by 2% as people decline unwanted contact—Microsoft report

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Internet users worldwide reported increased levels of online civility, according to Microsoft’s 3rd Digital Civility Index which was released on Safer Internet Day 2019. India ranks 7th among the 22 countries that were surveyed.

Digital Civility Index (DCI) is the measurement of exposure of consumers to online risks. These risks are categorized into behavioral, intrusive, reputational, and sexual. These categories together consist of 17 distinct online risks. The DCI scores show the exposure of consumers to one of these 17 online risks.

The survey got completed in May 2018 and is based on the attitudes and perceptions of teens and adults about online behaviors and interactions.

The 3rd DCI index was released as part of Microsoft’s commitment to online safety. As per the report, the DCI score of India is 59%, while the global index is 66%. The positive news for India is that its DCI is decreasing by 2% every year. It was 63% two years ago, then decreased to 61% last year. This has happened because people are declining the unwanted contact.

Key findings of Microsoft’s Digital Civility Index (DCI)

  • Unwanted contact is the most common type of online risk

The online risk types that made India stood apart from global averages were receiving offensive content, encountering fake news, and encountering internet hoaxes.

People reported that they faced unwanted contact even when it was made clear that the contact was unwelcome. DCI for this in India is 36% compared to 32% globally.

Indians are increasingly encountering fake news and internet hoaxes. Further, there were several forms of behavioral risks like bullying. People said that they received unwanted sexual messages and images, and requests for sexual favors. This is increasing not only in India, but all around the world.

  • Social circles are becoming riskier

In India, people reported increased risks from family and friends, from 20% last year to 29% now. While, the Digital Civility Index for this globally is 28%.

Worldwide, 62% of online risks were reported from strangers and people respondents knew online only.

  • Severe pain from online risks highest in India

Around 76% of respondents in India experienced moderate or severe pain due to online risks, compared to 55% globally. Only 5% Indians reported no pain, while the index for same is 16% worldwide.

Suggested reading: What do the elderly do online?
  • Increase in consequences and decrease in positive actions

The consequences of online risks are increasing all over the world, whereas the positive actions taken against these risks are decreasing. As per the report, the consequences of online risks increased by 3-4 points, but positive actions taken against these risks decreased by 3-5%.

As a consequence of online risks, Indian consumers reported that they became less trusting to online and offline people, their life became more stressful, lost sleep, and became uninterested in social media, blogs, and forums.

The positive actions included pausing before replying to online people, defending people who were treated unsafe online, treating other people with respect, tightened privacy settings on social media, and respecting opinions of other people.

  • Online risks impacted millennials and teenagers the most

In terms of risk exposure, consequences and the pain (physical, psychological and emotional), the millennials and teenagers were hit the hardest.

  • Surge in teenagers asking for help

Globally, more teenagers asked for help with online risks from parents (42%) and adults (28%). Whereas, in India, they asked for help from parents (45%) and adults (26%).

Also read: Top security trends that will impact consumers and enterprises in 2019: Trend Micro report

Digital Civility Challenge

To foster safe and inclusive interactions online and to encourage people be accountable for their online behavior, Microsoft is challenging people to participate in the Digital Civility Challenge.

This challenge will include a number of actions, like living the golden rule by acting with empathy, compassion and kindness in every interaction, and treat online people with respect. People should respect the differences in opinion, take a minute before replying to things they don’t agree with, and stand up for themselves and others against online abuse.

Full report is available here.

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