Microsoft pushes for “digital civility,” looks toward Safer Internet day in February

Laurent Giret

Microsoft YouthSpark

Thanks to the rise of mobile devices, we’re now living in an increasingly connected world. However, while it’s easier than ever to access a wide range of Internet services, providers of popular online services such as Microsoft, Google or Facebook want to ensure that all users can actually enjoy them in a safe way.

Fortunately, Microsoft already takes online safety very seriously, as the company introduced this year new resources for reporting inappropriate content and hate speech on its various consumer services. A few months ago, the company also announced it plans to release a short series of research studies about online safety ahead of the celebration of the Safer Internet Day 2017 on February 7.

Today, Microsoft Chief Online Safety Officer Jacqueline Beauchere shared more details about what the company plans to do to support online safety next year. “Looking back on 2016, the online safety landscape has indeed shifted and we at Microsoft will continue to focus on the issue in 2017,” explained the exec.

First of all, the company will publish a new study called “Civility, Safety and Interaction Online – 2016,” on Safer Internet Day 2017, which was completed by polling teens and adults in 14 countries about their experiences with various online risks. “We hope these findings will serve as an evidentiary base for a global push toward “digital civility” – healthy behaviors for youth and adults alike, both online and off, grounded in respect, constructive interaction and inclusion,” added Beauchere.

Additionally, the Redmond giant will release new educational resources on Safer Internet Day 2017 to suggest some “smart practices” for teens, adults, educators, technology companies and more. However, the exec noted that she expects online safety to remain a complicated topic with evolving threats that none of us can really anticipate:

While we’re encouraged by our new campaign for digital civility and some favorable early feedback, we don’t profess to have all the answers – not by any stretch. On the contrary, new concerns and fresh twists on age-old internet issues continue to surface regularly, with many problems presenting a delicate balancing of interests. So, as one step, we want to get back to basics and encourage civility and respect in all online interactions.

You can learn more about Microsoft’s online safety efforts by checking the company’s dedicated website, and we’ll have more to report between the start of the new year and Safer Internet Day 2017.