30% Indians Experienced Sexual Risk Online: Report

India ranked seven out of 23 countries surveyed, according to Microsoft’s Digital Civility Index.


Almost three in 10 Indians experienced sexual risk online in 2017, according to Microsoft’s Digital Civility Index (DCI). India ranked seven out of 23 countries surveyed for online civility and had a DCI of 61 per cent.

Men reported more harassment than women, but the report said that women faced higher consequences from online bullying. As much as 23 per cent men reported harassment online compared to 16 per cent women, most of which involved unwanted sexting.

According to the Microsoft study, harassment was defined as unwanted contact, unwanted sexting, online harassment, cyberbullying or misogyny.

“Females were more likely to lose trust in people online and offline, have greater life stress and had higher rates of depression,” the report said.

In India, there was 43 per cent unwanted contact; 17 per cent hoaxes, scams and frauds; 17 hate speech and 26 per cent damage to personal reputation. About 20 per cent online risks were facilitated by family and friends compared to 17 per cent globally.

“Nearly one-third of Indians experienced a behavioral risk which was eight points below the global average. Trolling declined and fell below the global average by six points. Reputational risks rose a combined three points led by damage to personal and work reputation,” the report said.

Forty four per cent of the respondents had met their perpetrator in real life in India versus 53 per cent globally. Indians said that 64 per cent of them stood up for themselves compared to the global average of 52 per cent.

The report also said that 36 per cent Indians stood up for others compared to 27 per cent globally.

“Among those who had met their perpetrators, 75 per cent met before the risk occurred. The average number of risks was 72 per cent higher among those who had met the perpetrator in real life versus those who had not,” the report said.

In another survey, conducted by global cyber security firm Norton by Symantec in October 2017, 8 out of 10 Indians surveyed admitted to have had experienced some form of cyberbullying or stalking, with 41 per cent of women saying they had faced sexual harassment on the internet.

Two of the most common forms of online harassment in India were reported to be abuse and insults, followed by malicious gossip and rumors. A total of 87 per cent of the respondents with disabilities or mental health issues, and 77 per cent of people with weight issues said they had experienced online shaming.

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