Today, Microsoft named the United Kingdom (UK) as the safest country in the world for internet users. The nation beat the United States, France, Belgium, and Germany to claim the top spot. However, a lot of progress still needs to occur to make the internet a truly comfortable place for everyone. Many people in the UK revealed that they are contacted by strangers, receive unwanted sexual messages or images, and are called offensive names.

According to Microsoft, "millennials were most likely to be affected by these negative experiences, with 62 percent admitting they had felt moderate to severe pain." Apart from that, "teenage girls were also more likely than boys to suffer." It's clear that despite this proclamation, they still face high levels of abuse, scams, and unwanted contact.

Chief Online Safety Officer at Microsoft Jacqueline Beauchere issued the following statement about these results.

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 listed below.

  • Live the Golden Rule by acting with empathy, compassion and kindness in every interaction, and treat everyone you connect with online with dignity and respect.

  • Respect differences, honour diverse perspectives, and when disagreements surface, engage thoughtfully, and avoid name-calling and personal attacks.

  • Pause before replying to things you disagree with, and don't post or send anything that could hurt someone else, damage a reputation, or threaten someone's safety.

  • Lastly, stand up for yourself and others by supporting those who are targets of online abuse or cruelty, reporting threatening activity, and preserving evidence of inappropriate or unsafe behavior.

It's great to see that some progress has been made, but it's up to all of us to further this initiative. You can read the full report on Microsoft's website.

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