UK is safest for internet users but abuse still rife, Microsoft research reveals

The UK has been named the safest country in the world for net users, but they still face high levels of abuse, scams and unwanted contact.

New research from Microsoft, discharged to mark Safer net Day, discovered that being contacted by strangers, receiving unwanted sexual messages or images and being called offensive name calling were among the most common complaints from people of all ages in the UK.

Millennials were most likely to be affected by these negative experiences, with 62% admitting they had felt “moderate to severe pain”. adolescent girls were besides more likely than boys to suffer – 61% versus 54%.

Despite this, the UK was named at the top of Microsoft’s Digital Civility Index, beating the US, France, Belgium and Germany.

Digital Civility Index
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“On this international Safer net Day, we’re reminding people about our Digital Civility Challenge: four practical principles for safer and fitter online interactions,” Jacqueline Beauchere, Chief Online Safety Officer at Microsoft, wrote in a blog post. “Everyone can commit to the challenge actions this Safer net Day and pledge to adopt positive online habits and practices throughout the year.”

The four principles are:

  • Live the Golden Rule by acting with sympathy, compassion and kindness in every interaction, and treat everyone you connect with online with dignity and respect
  • Respect differences, honour diverse perspectives and when disagreements surface, engage thoughtfully, and avoid name-calling and personal attacks
  • Pause before replying to property you disagree with, and don’t post or send thing that could hurt person other, damage a reputation or threaten person’s safety
  • Stand up for yourself and others by supporting those who are targets of online abuse or cruelty, coverage threatening activity and conserving evidence of inappropriate or unsafe behaviour.

The UK research found that millennials experient an average of 2.3 risks, piece teenagers baby-faced 1.5 risks.

Going deeper into the research, 48% of people had been contacted online by person they didn’t know, compared with a global average of 42%. piece 42% of those in the UK had been the target of phishing or spoofing scams (far above the global average), 36% had experient “fake news” (far below the global average) and 33% had experience of net hoaxes.

Learn more about Microsoft’s Digital Civility Challenge

Link to Microsoft's Digital Civility Challenge

When it came to behavioral risks, 54% of net users in the UK had been called offensive name calling (the global average was 51%), 48% aforesaid person had tried to embarrass them on purpose and 26% discovered that false or deceptive information about them had been posted online.

In addition, 59% of UK net surfers had received unwanted sexual messages or images, 27% had received persistent demands to develop a romantic or sexual relationship and 24% received an unwelcomed request for a sexual favour (all below the global average).

piece this affected teenagers’ wellbeing, they followed their peers crosswise the world in asking for help from adults. In total 34% of UK teenagers told their parents about their negative experience online, below the global average of 42% but much higher last year’s UK reading of just 8%.

Despite the disposition to reach out for help, the research discovered that there were still consequences related to negative online experiences. 32 percentage of those surveyed in the UK admitted they had become less trustful of other people on the net (up four percentageage points from last year). Nearly a quarter aforesaid their life had become more nerve-racking, 21% had lost sleep and 23% were less likely to take part in social media, blogs and forums.

In keeping with the rest of the world, Britons were less likely to take positive actions following an online issue, so much as pausing before replying to person or showing respect for others’ points of view.

Microsoft Digital Civility Index graded Peru, South Africa and Chile as the least civil countries online.

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