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Understanding the Impact of Creating an Online Circle

According to preliminary findings from our most recent research, 63 percent of online hazards were derived from strangers or individuals respondents only knew online — a figure that remained virtually constant from the previous year. Meanwhile, 28 percent of internet dangers originated from family and friends, an 11-point increase.

Furthermore, results showed a link between risk exposure and acquaintance with the perpetrator: respondents who had met their abuser in person were almost twice as likely to face an online danger. More disappointing were signs that individuals were targeted based on their traits, such as gender, age, and physical attractiveness.

These are some preliminary results from Microsoft’s newest research, “Civility, Safety, and Interactions Online — 2018,” which evaluated attitudes and views of adolescents and adults in 22 countries regarding the online dangers they face and how their interactions affect their lives.

As with past years’ polls, complete and final findings will be made public on International Safer Internet Day. We decided to make these findings public today in conjunction with World Kindness Day to highlight the need for more polite and respectful online and offline interactions.

The Dangers of Going Online

People’s digital interactions and reactions to online dangers seemed to be improving in 2017, but what was unexpected was that many of those targeted for abuse claimed their offenders originated from their relatives and social networks. We decided to check at some of these results more closely this year, and we saw that the disturbing trend was still going on.

Indeed, bad encounters from family, friends, and acquaintances increased by 4%, 7%, and 2%, respectively, while a new category of offenders — colleagues and coworkers — accounted for 9% of people’s unpleasant online contacts.

The nature of the internet risks is within the four risk categories — reputation damage, cognitive, romantic, and personal or intrusive. 40 percent of respondents noted psychosocial risks and undesired contact (a unique and invasive chance), slightly more than one-third (34 percent) found negative intimate experiences.

28 percent disclosed falling victim to hoaxes, frauds, or embezzlement, another personal and intrusive risk. Surprisingly, 60% of those who encountered a behavioral danger also experienced unwanted contact, and 60% of those who met unwanted contact also underwent a behavioral risk.

Graph of Risk Perpetrators

Bullying appeared to be the behavioral category’s defining feature. Almost all respondents who indicated a behavioral risk were the subject of name-calling, intentional humiliation, or some bullying. Inappropriate contact was defined as repeated efforts to engage the target, with more than four out of ten respondents.

Inappropriate contact was defined as repeated efforts to engage the target, with more than four out of every ten respondents reporting at least one kind of recurrent, unwanted contact. Receipt of unwanted intimate images and communications topped the romantic risk category, with almost four out of ten people reporting repeated efforts to establish a romantic connection.

Finally, incorrect and misleading information was the source of many frequently encountered hoaxes, scams, and fraud risks. Fake news and online hoaxes were much more prevalent than phony anti-virus schemes.

Online Circles

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Not all communities look and feel the same; they come in various shapes and sizes to meet the requirements of their diverse members and organizations. To attract everyone to your online destination, you must consider everyone as engaged. How will they benefit from the circle, and how inclusive is the space?

To address that, let’s go back a step. What is the purpose of your online community? The response will have an impact on your techniques and plans for achieving high engagement. Consider your circle to be for a particular group with a defined goal.

If it’s a group for individuals who use a specific technology or product, the plan would be to learn, educate, and network with others in the same situation. If you create an online group for a local riding club, the goal may be to network, organize bicycle activities, and advocate for bike safety. Whatever the circle is, it works best when interactions are simple, secure, and straightforward.

Your circles will offer value far beyond expectations by breaking off the traditional one-way flow of information and allowing discussion. You build relevant and meaningful connections to draw on people’s unique perspectives. You can then encourage them to share their experiences and expertise with others.

An online circle is more than simply another piece of software purchased by a company; it is about establishing a destination for actual people. Your group may act as a virtual town hall for your company, or it can offer acknowledgment, support, and connection when your consumers or members are in need.

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