Our digital lives have started mirroring the real one. Threats of getting bullied, unwanted sexual advances, sharing explicit images and videos have become a norm. However, such threats are not just received from strangers. According to the Microsoft's latest study, 'Civility, Safety and Interactions Online - 2018', there has been a visible rise in the risk from people's own social circle.
According to the Microsoft's study, over 60% of the risks come from strangers online and the rest are from the family members and friends. What's even more worrying is that the people are targeted because of their personal characteristic, gender, appearance, age, etc. The study said that the negative experiences from family, friends and acquaintances were up 4%, 7% and 2%, respectively, while a new classification of perpetrators - colleagues and coworkers - accounted for 9% of people's unpleasant interactions online.
The social threats fall into four categories, namely reputational, behavioral, sexual and personal/intrusive.
Reputational - Threat to the personal and/or professional reputation.
Behavioral - It includes online harassment, bullying and trolling.
Sexual - Sending and receiving unwanted and explicit sexual messages and making solicitations
Personal/Intrusive - Threat of unwanted contact, fraud, hoaxes etc.
The use of social media (Facebook and Twitter) and anonymity on the web has led to the rise in these threats. The internet today is more dangerous and frightening than ever before. One must be extremely careful but sometimes the safety, both online and offline comes down to gut check.