Microsoft names UK as ‘safest place in the world’ for internet users

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Microsoft has named the UK as the safest country in the world for internet users. But the tech giant warned many still suffer from abuse, scams and unwanted contact.

Releasing the figures to mark Safer Internet Day, the firm said the most common complaints for UK users included being contacted by strangers, receiving unwanted sexual messages and being called offensive names.

However, the UK topped Microsoft’s Digital Civility Index – the table it uses to measure online safety – ahead of the US, France, Belgium and Germany.

The news comes as Government ministers warn about the impact of disturbing online material on young people’s mental health and wellbeing.

According to Microsoft’s figures, UK users were said to be below the global average when it came to experiencing or encountering fake news, but 48% said they had been contacted online by someone they didn’t know – above the global average of 42%.

59% said they had received unwanted sexual messages or images, and 54% of UK users said they had been called offensive names online.

The research suggests that millennials were the most likely to be affected by these negative experiences – 62% of those asked said they felt “moderate to severe pain” after such encounters.

Safer Internet Day: Young people struggle with online ‘consent confusion’, claims survey

Jacqueline Beauchere, Microsoft’s chief online safety officer said: “On this international Safer Internet Day, we’re reminding people about our Digital Civility Challenge: four practical principles for safer and healthier online interactions.

“Everyone can commit to the challenge actions this Safer Internet Day and pledge to adopt positive online habits and practices throughout the year.”

The four principles are to act with empathy and compassion in every interaction, respect differences, pause before replying and to stand up for yourself and others who are the targets of abuse.

The research listed Peru, South Africa and Chile as the least civil countries online.

Chris Price
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