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Online safety research

Online safety research

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To help ensure our online safety and privacy guidance is relevant and timely, we continually research the latest trends for various issues. We commission primary research as well as review findings from other organizations' studies. While some of our surveys are conducted in the U.S. only, we also commission some surveys in multiple countries.

The results of our research provide compelling information that can help parents, educators, and others to be safer online.

Safer Online Gaming: Perceptions and Behaviors of Gamers and Parents of Gamers (December 2010, U.S.)

Overall, parents surveyed rank the risks of online gaming for their kids low compared to other online activities. And while they report that the steps they’ve taken to help protect their children are effective, most are not using available family safety settings.

  • Thirteen percent of parents ranked online gaming as their top concern compared to online chatting (43%) and browsing social networks (20%).

  • Forty percent report using available family safety settings. Of those who don't use family safety settings, 54% reported not using them because they trust their child and 53% said they don't use them due to lack of awareness or lack of understanding how to find/use them.

Even though parents ranked the concerns of online gaming low, many gamers themselves reported experiencing abuse online—and for younger gamers, the abuse has impacted their online gaming behavior.

  • One in five gamers reported experiencing abuse while gaming online.

  • The results showed that gamers aged 18-24 (24%) are twice as likely as gamers under 18 (12%) to experience abuse.

  • Most gamers, 71%, claim they know what to do when they encounter abuse online, but many (44%) do not report it.

  • Two-thirds of gamers under 18 have either stopped playing online games or play them less due to a previous bad experience.

Download the Executive Summary or PowerPoint presentation for more information.

  • Safer Online Gaming: Perceptions and Behaviors Survey - Executive Summary PDF | XPS

  • Safer Online Gaming: Perceptions and Behaviors Survey - PowerPoint presentation PPT

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Location-Based Services: Usage and Perceptions (December 2010, U.S., UK, Germany, Canada and Japan)

Overall, awareness, familiarity and usage of location-based services (LBS) remains low across all countries surveyed. However, there are indications that widespread adoption is only a matter of time as perceived value of these services is high among those who use them.

  • 6 in 10 are aware of LBS, but confusion remains about what LBS are.

  • Among those who use LBS, 94% said they were either very valuable (41%) or somewhat valuable (53%).

  • GPS and weather alerts are most common uses of LBS while only 18% use LBS for sharing their location with others.

  • 52% of respondents expressed strong concern with sharing their location with other people or organizations.

  • Of those receiving a location-based advertisement, 46% took action and 80% considered the ads valuable.

Download the Executive Summary or PowerPoint presentation for more information.

  • Location-Based Services: Usage and Perceptions Survey - Executive Summary PDF | XPS

  • Location-Based Services: Usage and Perceptions Survey - PowerPoint presentation PPT

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Cyberbullying: Parents' and Educators' View (September/October 2010, U.S.)

While most parents and educators are concerned about cyberbullying, our research suggests they could be more proactive about their involvement with the issue.

  • 3 in 4 parents are very or somewhat concerned about cyberbullying.

  • 3 in 4 educators believe cyberbullying is a very or somewhat serious problem at their school.

  • Educators consider cyberbullying (76%) as big an issue as smoking (75%) and drugs (75%).

  • 2 in 5 parents report their child has been involved in a cyberbullying incident.

  • 1 in 4 educators have been cyber-harassment victims.

Download the Executive Summary or PowerPoint presentation for more information.

  • Parents and Educators Cyberbullying Survey - Executive Summary PDF | XPS

  • Parents and Educators Cyberbullying Survey - PowerPoint presentation PPT

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Parental Involvement in Children's Social Networking Activities (August 2010, U.S.)

Although most parents are aware of the risks of children having social networking accounts, many also gave their children permission to have those accounts.

  • 7 in 10 parents are very or somewhat concerned that their child has an account.

  • 7 in 10 parents are involved in their child’s social networking adoption process.

  • 3 in 5 16-17 year olds asked for permission to open an account.

  • 38% of children under 13 have an account, of those 84% have accounts with minimum age requirements of 13, and of those, 90% have them with permission from their parents.

Download the Executive Summary or PowerPoint presentation for more information.

  • Parents and Social Networking - Executive Summary PDF | XPS

  • Parents and Social Networking - PowerPoint presentation PPT

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Online Reputation (December 2009, U.S., U.K., France, Germany)

Microsoft commissioned research in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States to find out how people manage the information they and others place on the Internet.

The same research also studied how hiring managers and recruiters use this information to investigate job applicants and to what extent the data they find has a bearing on their hiring decisions.

  • Online reputation research overview PDF

  • Online reputation research PowerPoint presentation PPT

  • Does online information affect your reputation? Video

DPD research graph

Of participants surveyed, the percentage of hiring managers rejecting candidates based on their online profile information is higher in the United States than in the United Kingdom, Germany, or France.

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