In a world where fake news, social media manipulation and troll fatigue, here are some strategies for staying sane and safe.

Microsoft has recently revealed that a huge 2020 study showed that the Asia-Pacific region (APAC) performed better in online civility in 2020 with a score of 66, compared with the previous year’s score of 68.

The global Digital Civility Index (DCI) apparently also improved to 67 from 2019’s all-time poor score, indicating that more people in the region are experiencing positive online interactions.

Two APAC geographies—Singapore and Taiwan—sat among the top five globally with the most favorable DCI scores, taking the fourth and fifth spots respectively. Conversely, other markets have reported more negative online experiences, with Indonesia ranking at 29 out of the 32 geographies and Malaysia reporting its least favorable DCI over the past five years. Vietnam saw the best improvement in the region, with a 6% improvement on the index.

According to the firm’s Regional Digital Safety Lead (Asia-Pacific) Liz Thomas, in commemoration of last week’s Safer Internet Day 2021: “Our societies are relying on and embracing digital technologies more than ever amid COVID-19, and a safer internet will improve experiences and shape the well-being of our communities. We are reminded that governments, organizations, and individuals all have a part to play in helping to make the internet a better place for work and play.”

Thomas said it is heartening to see our next generation take the lead in driving positive interactions online, and to witness digital citizens come together to uplift online communities during the pandemic.  “Nonetheless, threats such as false and misleading information, together with uncivil behavior online, continue to pervade society, requiring us all to take positive action.”

Moving into the new year, the 160,000 respondents’ top wishes for the next decade worldwide were for better respect (65%), safety (55%), civility (33%), kindness (29%) and freedom (28%).

Four principles of digital civility

To foster a better and safer internet, Microsoft outlines four principles that online users can commit to, namely:

  1. Living the “golden rule”: Act with empathy, compassion and kindness in every interaction, and treat everyone online with dignity and respect.
  2. Respecting differences: Appreciate cultural differences and honor diverse perspectives, engaging thoughtfully and avoiding name calling and personal attacks.
  3. Pausing before replying: Pause and think before responding, and do not post or send anything that could hurt someone else, damage someone’s reputation, or threaten safety.
  4. Standing up for yourself and others: Tell someone when feeling unsafe, offer support to those who are targets of online abuse or cruelty, and report activity that threatens safety.

More tips from on online safety can be found at, with frequent updates on Facebook (@saferonline) and Twitter (@Safer_Online).