We’re all Looking for Validation but in the Wrong Places

Turn on your TV, open a magazine or refresh your timeline and it’s difficult to hide away from the beauty ideals our society hails as the ultimate. Clear skin, a tiny waist, a stacked chest, zero pores, eyebrows constantly on fleek, designer clothes, big tits and not a hair out of sight. This is the standard we hold ourselves to and benchmark ourselves against and quite frankly, it’s exhausting.

In The Annual Bullying Survey 2017, we found that 1 in 3 would delete a selfie if it didn’t get enough likes and it isn’t surprising when we’re all pitched in a global rat race to be the person with the most followers, the highest engagement and the brand partnerships to match. The reality is, most of us care about how we’re perceived online and about the stats we amass and that’s okay.

[full-width-figure image=”https://www.ditchthelabel.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/splash.jpg”]

There’s nothing wrong with posting selfies and caring about your appearance. But it’s important to question the deeper psychology behind what we’re doing online. The chances are, deleting a selfie that didn’t get enough engagement comes from a deeply rooted need to feel validated. We all have a need to feel accepted and liked and when we’re immersed around social media, it’s almost impossible to not compare yourself to others and to want to look like our own edited and filtered selfies. Surgeons are being approached by new patients who are taking in edited photos of themselves as their inspiration for surgery. But can we just take a min to clarify on a few things?

Listen up

  • Everybody has pores
  • We’re all blessed with DNA and genetics that we simply cannot control or ignore
  • Each and every one of us has different proportions and a body shape that is often impossible to change
  • Most of us have problems with our skin – spots are a harsh reality of modern life, hormones, genetics, diet and lifestyle
  • Most of the things you see online are edited. Not just the pics but the lifestyles too
  • Filters are dangerous because they create a new standard that is literally unattainable
  • Everybody likes different things. Some people like big tits, some people like little tits, some people like biceps for the gods and others prefer slender guys
  • Like it or not, social media does affect your mental health and it’s a good idea to take breaks when it gets a bit much
  • We’re all under the same pressures as you
  • Being an influencer is a full-time job, it isn’t as simple as taking a photo, it takes a huge amount of time, talent and money to get the perfect snap. It’s stressful, can get incredibly lonely and isn’t always as glam as it may look from the outside
  • It isn’t in everyone’s interest for you to feel good about yourself and your body
  • Consider unfollowing people on your feed who make you feel crap about yourself
  • Makeup and hair might look on fleek for like 30 minutes but then humidity and sweat happens. For everybody. No exceptions. Absolutely none.
  • You are beautiful, whether you like it or believe it or not
  • It is your responsibility to deal with how you are currently feeling, nobody else will do it for you
  • The validation you receive online is temporary, it will never satisfy your deeper need, so change tactics (more on that below)

Change your tactics

If you’re feeling like crap, know that you aren’t alone and we’ve been there. Some of us are still going through it and we’ve got a ton of amazing things to help you. Check out some of the following:

 

practical bullying advice

“Next time” you think, “Next time, I’ll stand up for myself…”.

You’ve probably replayed over a thousand times in your head how you’re going to react ‘next time’ they give you S***… the thing is, it doesn’t always work like that. In the moment, it can be so hard to find the words to express yourself, especially if you’re hurt or emotional.

One of the biggest pieces of advice people love to give in the face of being bullied is ‘Just stand up for yourself’… as if it’s that easy, right? 🙄

Ditch the Label is here to provide some practical anti-bullying advice with some things you can try when you’re in the moment and it’s all getting a bit much:

It’s ok if you can’t stand up for yourself

For a few of us, it might work and the person doing the bullying might respond and stop altogether. However, not everyone is able to stand up for themselves in that way.

If that person is you, give yourself a massive break and try a different approach that you feel you can do instead of giving yourself a hard time for what you can’t do. Here at Ditch the Label, we never condone using violence or physical force to sort things out and will always opt for a more peaceful approach to end bullying, such as talking things through.

Places you can go

Do you have places at school and home that you feel safe in and that you can go when you need some time away from it all? Have a think about where they might be, especially at school. If you are having a particularly tough day it helps to have places to go to get away from it. Try talking to your favourite teacher and asking them if you can go to their classroom, or seek out some downtime in the library. It is important that you have a safe place to go. When it all gets too much, simply turn your back, walk away and go to your place to chill.

Who have you told?

Telling someone is sometimes the hardest thing to do. Check out this article for more tips on who you can tell. If you still haven’t told anyone and it’s getting harder and harder on a daily basis, the time is now to tell someone you trust who cares about you. keeping it all to yourself doesn’t work and only adds to your stress and the intensity of the situation.

It is 100% OK to cry

Yep, that’s right, you are allowed to cry. Crying is a very healthy and natural reaction to being treated badly or feeling pain. What’s not so healthy is shaming yourself for not being stronger. Newsflash: crying is not a sign of weakness, nor does it make you pathetic.

There are many differing opinions around whether you should or shouldn’t let the person or people bullying you see you cry. At the end of the day, there really is no right or wrong when it comes to how you process your feelings as it happens to you. Whatever situation you find yourself in, it is always made worse when we judge ourselves for not handling it better.

Strengthen other friendships

Try and focus on other friendships where you do feel safe. Naturally, when you are being treated badly it can become a very big focus in your life and it’s easy to overlook the friendships that matter to us. Ask them for advice, what would they do if they were in your shoes? Be real with them about what you are going through and talk to them about backing you up when or if they see it happening.

Deflection

Making a joke or using a comeback line can work at deflecting nasty comments directed at you. Alternatively, you could try dismissing them and not react at all. People bullying you are looking for a reaction so humour and silence can work to readdress the situation. By ignoring them, you completely disarm them, when they realise they’re not getting a reaction, they’ll likely give up – give it a try, if it doesn’t work, no biggie. There are more options at your disposal…

Sticks n’ stones

If the bullying is consistently verbal, what happens after a surprisingly short space of time is that we start to believe it. Our minds start to think that because we are hearing the same message repeatedly, it must be true. This is why verbal bullying is very damaging psychologically and can cause deep emotional pain that no one else can see – only you can feel. It’s super important that you take action when anything verbal is directed at you.

The action is relatively simple: you need to work at counteracting those negative messages by repeatedly telling yourself the opposite of what you hear. This will help you in the long run, it might feel weird or silly or maybe you are thinking it’s not that bad but life is too short and your peace of mind too important. Whatever abuse is thrown at you, it is not true now and never will be.

[full-width-figure image=”https://www.ditchthelabel.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/inthemoment.jpg” alt=”practical bullying advice”]

Fake it to make it

Being bullied leaves pretty much everyone feeling victimised in one way or another. What underlies all advice around overcoming bullying is finding ways to empower yourself to carry on in the face of being treated badly by other people. Walk tall, look up and make eye contact. It’s okay to feel scared and anxious but when you can, try to not let that show in your body language.

Record it

Are you keeping a diary of what’s happening? If not, you need to start now. Keep a record of all events – time and place and what is said or done. This will help when it comes to talking to your parents and any teachers. Most likely this will feel like the last thing you want to do but it is a really important thing to do. Keeping it all logged will also help you to realise that yes, it is bullying and no, you’re not being ‘too sensitive’.

CyberBullying

If the bullying you are experiencing is cyberbullying read this article.

Unsure?

It’s hard to tell if what you’re experiencing is bullying especially if it’s coming from a mate or group of mates. Have a read of this article to help you figure out the line between banter and bullying. The best way to determine whether or not it is bullying is to analyse how it makes you feel. If the answer is ‘like S***’ or thereabouts – chances are it is bullying. To make doubly sure – try out this quiz.

For more practical advice check out Ditch the Label’s Top Ten Tips for Overcoming Bullying.

Most important is to talk it out – join the community to chat with digital mentors and like-minded people who can help.

What We Do

Every year, Ditch the Label carry out extensive research into cyberbullying. We delve into the reasons why people cyberbully, the different types of cyberbullying, and the long terms effects that it has on people’s emotional well-being. Cyberbullying continues to be one of the biggest challenges facing young people online. It’s eye-opening stuff if we do say so ourselves.

Cyberbullying Facts in 2018

  • 35% of people asked 12-20 frequently experience cyberbullying in the UK
  • 37% developed depression as a result of cyberbullying
  • 62% would be unlikely to intervene if they saw somebody cyberbullying somebody else
  • 25% self-harmed because of cyberbullying

  • Only 29% said social media companies do enough to prevent cyberbullying
  • 23% said cyberbullying is “just part of growing up”
  • 35% of people sent a screenshot of someone’s status or photo to laugh at them in a group chat

Taken from the Annual Bullying Survey 2017

If you are being cyberbullied, you can message our digital mentors on Community or find out how to overcome it here.

All our research is taken from our 2017 and 2018 Annual Bullying Surveys – the annual benchmark of bullying in the United Kingdom.

A Parents Guide to Online Gaming

So, you’re getting hassled about online gaming: your child has started gaming or wants to start, they’re telling you ‘back off, I know what I’m doing, I’m sensible. I know the box says it’s for over 18s only but all my mates are playing it.’ Kids are now growing up in an ever digital world, sometimes so unfamiliar to you as a parent that keeping them safe online seems utterly daunting. The media will scream at you: Grooming! Violence! Strangers! Addiction! Sudden refusal to leave the game to use the toilet!

But, don’t freak out, at Ditch the Label we want to help parents be informed about the choices they make with their kids when it comes to life online. In this article, we take a look at gaming, whether your child is into online gaming or not, it’s likely someone they know is. With approximately 32.4m people playing games every year in the UK and now a £100 billion industry, gaming has become the largest form of entertainment across the globe.

Keeping your child safe when gaming:

Games have an age rating (similar to the one the movies use), this means the Video Standards Council Rating Board has deemed the game is only suitable for children over that age. Don’t ignore that rating, it’s telling you that there may be inappropriate content in that game for a younger child. BUT, we also understand how the world works and that parents and kids may want to make that judgement themselves. One of the best ways to see whether a game is suitable in your household is to try it out for yourself. Even if you are not a gamer, you will be able to find out whether it is suitable for your children before they play and whether it includes violence, sexual content or bad language. Make sure you critically analyse the game to see if it kid-friendly.

If you are unsure, why not play the game with them? You can sit beside them and discuss things happening in the game in a casual manual – it’s likely your child will enjoy that their parent is engaging in a hobby of theirs, either that or they’ll be howling with laughter at your lack of gaming ability (like that time you tried to do the floss in front of them).

What are the risks you need to look out for when you’re child is gaming?

  • Gaming with other people— Is the game single player or multiplayer? As in, is the game online and does it allow your child to communicate with others either through an in-built chat or another method? If it does, familiarise yourself with how that happens, can they talk to anyone during the game or do they need to accept a friend request? Have an open chat with your child about what’s safe, keep an open dialogue about who their gaming with and the risks involved to talking with people they don’t know online – it often will depend on how old your child is. If you think you’re child is too young, you can choose games that only have single player options (see below for some ideas)
  • Inappropriate language and content — often the media will focus on grooming as the biggest risk to children and young people when they’re online but perhaps a more instant risk is that they can see all sorts of unmoderated content – some of which will be inappropriate and can include things like swearing, racism, violence or sexual language and behaviour. Again you need to check out what the risks of this happening in the game itself and have a conversation with your child about what they might see and hear. Some games will have an in-built chat filter that will block anything inappropriate being said to your child through text chat, while others provide limited chat options such as “wow” and “hello”. Again, we don’t want you to freak out about these risks but make sure you are informed enough about the game itself to know what they are.
  • Bullying in gaming— anything online that allows people to talk to each other does, unfortunately, create an opportunity for cyberbullying and this is the same when it comes to gaming. This could come from people your child doesn’t know but also people they do. For more information about how to deal with cyberbullying, you can visit our cyberbullying hub.

*Not all games have in-built voice chat, some do, some don’t. However, both Xbox and PlayStation consoles allow for players to create a ‘party’ where voice chat is possible even in games that lack functionality – there is software on PC computers that also create this functionality.

 

Chat options in a screenshot – taken from Rocket League on the Xbox

How do games make their money? Microtransactions

While some games come with a retail price as they always have done, many games are now free to play and download onto your devices (known as F2P in the gaming industry), these games fund themselves through what is known as ‘microtransactions’ or a ‘season pass’. Micro transactions are typically cosmetic changes to the playable characters or game items that you can pay a small amount of real life money for, while a season pass is an unlockable ‘pass’ that allows the player to unlock time-limited exclusive items and cosmetics in-game for a one-time fee. If you have a card linked to the game being played or device your child is using they may not realising that it is actually costing real money or understand the consequences of doing so.

While multiplayer is always going to have an aspect of danger as you can’t control what other people do on the game – there are a group of games that provide safe spaces for your children to play. We have listed them below:

Mario Kart (Nintendo Switch, Wii U, 3DS)

A colourful racing game featuring a cast of characters from Mario games over the years. Although there are both single player and multiplayer options, there are no text chat or voice comms options.

Minecraft (PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch, Mobile)

One of the biggest selling games of all time, Minecraft has become a cultural phenomenon over the past 9 years since it’s release in 2009. Primarily a game based on exploring, crafting and building, Minecraft enables both offline solo gameplay and multiplayer servers which emphasis on survival, adventures and battle. While the original game mode is extremely family-friendly, any additional servers or mods (custom levels, functionality or objects) need to be tried and tested by you before letting your kid play them.

If you want to learn more about Minecraft, minemum.com is a brilliant website for parents.

Terraria (PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch, Mobile)

Similar in functionality to Minecraft, Terraria is the 2D cousin of the popular building game. With a greater emphasis on exploring, it allows for the same ‘create your own world and adventure feeling’ that Minecraft and toys such as LEGO in real life provide.

 

Poptropica

A free, MMORPG (Massively-Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game), with exploration, safe chat, quests, games, comics, what’s not to love? Poptropica has an optional subscription service where members get Early Access to new Islands and unlimited access to the Poptropica Store. Membership subscriptions renew automatically.

Wizard101

This adventure game is designed to be easy to learn and fun for all ages. Players are encouraged to participate in social activity. It’s a great form of entertainment for families. The £10 monthly subscription fees may seem bad on the surface, however, it is a good thing. Making people pay to play the game does keep trolls away, leaving this game troll free!

Fifa 18

This football game is one of very few AAA games that are online and very kid friendly. The best part about it is that it’s a great game that you can play with your children as it can be enjoyed by all ages.

FIFA

Rocket League

Another football game, kinda. This involves playing football in cars and is very child-friendly, due to the in-game chat putting a block on any bad language. This is also a game that can be enjoyable at all ages, which is a plus.

Pokemon

Pokemon is perfect. It teaches the values of friendship, money, loyalty and more. Newer Pokemn games have online features which allow you to trade and battle with people from all over the world. Pokemon has no bad language, blocking out anything resembling a swear word. It also has just the right amount of depth so that it can be a game franchise that they enjoy even into adulthood.

pokeball

Splatoon 2 (Nintendo Switch)

Splatoon is a team-based third-person shooter game in which the goal is to cover as much of the map in your team’s ink colour. Although Splatoon is limited to Nintendo Switch devices, it has become one of the biggest selling games on the Switch platform. While there are chat options these are limited to such terms such as “Booyah”, “This way”, and “Ouch”.

Single-player only games

While the above is a list of games that can be played online and offline, there are a number of single-player games that are offline (or only with friends and family in the same room as you). These include:

  • LEGO games such as LEGO Harry Potter, LEGO Star Wars, LEGO Batman and LEGO Avengers
  • Stardew Valley – a game about building a farm, collecting resources and making friends with computer-controlled neighbours
  • Little Big Planet – now relatively old with the latest game being released in 2014, Little Big Planet is a puzzle-adventure game that can be played alone or with a friend
  • Rayman Legends
  • Mario Odyssey

Need some more advice? click here for more parenting tips.

46% of people we surveyed think “real life” only means things that happen offline

In 2017, we released the Annual Bullying Survey which looks at the impact bullying has on people aged 12-25 in the UK. The research looked into the online lives of people who took part in the survey and revealed that the majority of people believe ‘real life’ only counts as things that take place offline. What this study showed was that there are increasing amounts of people believing that what they say and do online aren’t having real-life effects.

 

Let’s break it down a bit… you would never tell someone you think they’re ‘ugly’ in a real-life setting because you wouldn’t want to hurt their feelings. But with 46% of people believing that real life doesn’t extend to online spaces, we’re seeing people say and do things online because they think it doesn’t have a real impact. It’s just too easy to forget that there’s a person operating a keyboard, behind a screen who has real-life feelings, just like everybody else.

Online vs Real Life

The assumption that online interaction is not ‘real life’ is why lots of people think its ok to be abusive on social media and other platforms such as online games. Too often, we’re seeing people say “It happened online, not in real life” meaning an insult doesn’t carry as much weight as it would if it was said out loud. Not to mention the increase in ‘troll’ accounts and profiles created solely for the purpose of abusing other people online.

The fact is, 41% of people go on to develop social anxiety IRL, as a result of online bullying. 37% of people who experienced cyberbullying in the last year experienced depression and 26% had suicidal thoughts. This is proof that things which take place online, have very real effects that carry over into life offline and have the potential to seriously affect our mental health.

Here are some shady online behaviours the people who we surveyed admitted to taking part in, we’re willing to bet that most people wouldn’t do these things IRL:

 

 


TALK TO US

Is someone giving you s*** online? We want to hear from you! The Ditch the Label Community is an online forum where you can talk about anything that’s bothering you. Get support from other community users or share some of your own wisdom with someone who could really do with the advice!

If you’re experiencing cyberbullying or online abuse, we can help. You can speak directly to a digital mentor or the phone, over email or through our support community:

 

 

Sometimes it’s lonely at the top. Especially when people assume that being an online influencer consists mainly of adoring fans, exclusive launches and dream brand partnerships.

Recent Ditch the Label research shows that 67% of us care about being popular online and it’s no surprise when the life of an influencer is seemingly perfect from the outside.

Posting passionately about your views and ideas online will inevitably draw in support from an audience of like-minded individuals but unfortunately, it will also attract negativity and criticism. Not everyone will agree with your ideas, and that’s OK, but sometimes people take their opposition a little too far.

Over the years, we’ve heard about how online influencers have been subjected to an endless stream of death threats, abusive tweets and even having their personal contact information shared on public forums without their consent.

The abuse can often be so extreme, it has stopped people from doing what they love. The impact of bullying on health and wellbeing is indisputable and nobody is immune – regardless of how big their following or how deep their support network.

As global anti-bullying experts, we oppose all forms of abuse, regardless of how it is posted or who is subjected to it.  Here are some expert top tips on how to handle abuse online:

1. Know that you’re not the problem

First and foremost, know that the reason you’re being targeted isn’t because of you or the content you post. More often than not, those who troll online are doing so to conceal deeper issues. Ditch the Label research shows that those who bully others are far more likely to be going through something difficult and use bullying as a coping mechanism. If somebody feels bad about their own appearance, for example, it is often easier to project those feelings onto somebody else.

2. Remember the typical profile of an abusive account

Default profile photo: check. Less than 100 followers: check. A constant stream of abusive posts: check. Knowing the key warning signs of an abusive profile is key; use it to remind yourself of the fact that this person quite obviously has issues and often you’re not the only person they are targeting. Try not to take things anonymous people on the internet say too seriously. After all, they are anonymous for a reason.

3. Have a nominated person who can escalate reports

Sometimes getting abuse online can be triggering, specifically, if it is targeted or attacks a vulnerability. This is why it’s important to have a designated friend, agent or legal representative to report abusive content on your behalf. If you receive something that is particularly triggering, try to limit your access to it. Copy the link or screenshot over to your trusted person and then block the user it originated from. Don’t give it more mental capacity than it deserves and consider stepping away from the computer for a bit and do something to take your mind off it.

4. Don’t react

Our research shows that reacting to abusive content online can feed the motivation of the abuser; particularly if they are doing it in order to feel powerful or to gain your attention. Sure, it can feel disempowering sometimes but take time to seriously consider whether or not replying is the best thing to do. Encouraging your audience to attack is not a good idea! Often, online abusers are in dark states of mind and we know that doesn’t make it any easier for you, but don’t enter into a vicious cycle of encouraging further abuse.

5. Record and report

If you are receiving content that makes you feel physically threatened or having your personal information leaked, these are all things that need to be documented and reported to the Police. Equally, content that could be considered as hate speech; such as racism, homophobia or transphobia should also be reported to the Police. They have a duty of care and are obliged to take it seriously. For more information on how to report abuse online, click here.

6. If you’re stuck, we’re here for you

Please don’t ever feel like you’re alone. We are here for you. Whether you need help having defamatory content removed or are feeling low after receiving abuse, there is no issue too big or too small. You can contact a digital mentor on our support community or even give us a call 01273 201129.


For more info about online abuse, check out the Ditch the Label Cyberbullying Support Hub:

More:

 

 

 

We know from our research that up to 7 in 10 young people experience cyberbullying before the age of 18. Cyberbullying comes in many different forms and is something that is totally subjective to the recipient. At Ditch the Label, we define cyberbullying as the following: “Cyberbullying is the use of digital technologies with an intent to offend, humiliate, threaten, harass or abuse somebody.”

A common form of cyberbullying is in-game abuse (harassment from other gamers whilst in online mode). Dealing with bullying in a game and in-game abuse can be extremely upsetting, distressing and draining – and it also spoils what is a very enjoyable hobby!

It is often hard to identify the appropriate course of action to take to address and improve the situation. With this in mind, we have compiled a short list of things you should and shouldn’t do if you are at the receiving end of in-game abuse. Happy gaming and GG!

1. Don’t respond with aggression.

Often reacting in an aggressive manner can make the situation worse and can put you at risk of further abuse. If you feel it is a safe and appropriate action to take, maybe try calmly communicating with the person who is doing the cyberbullying. Remember to challenge the behaviour, not the person – so instead of accusing the person of being a ‘bully’, explain why their actions or words are causing you distress. For example, instead of saying “you’re upsetting me”, you could say “what you said/did has upset me”.  If the bullying still persists after taking this action, see point 2.

2. Do block/report the person that is cyberbullying you.

You can block and report the users who are bullying you at any time – remember that these options are in place to support and protect gamers from abuse. The type of gaming environment you are in will determine which course of action is best to take. Speak with other gamers and check your headset to see if you can activate options to mute/disable audio chat and turn off the screen text. You could also contact the game administrators or moderators and report the user.

3. Don’t have your personal information available.

We recommend that you keep your privacy settings high and do not connect with anybody who you do not know offline. People may not always be who they say they are and you could be putting yourself and those that you care about at risk. Never give away personal details like your full name, telephone, address etc to someone you have not met offline either. If somebody is exhibiting threatening behaviour, or has your personal information and is giving you the impression that your safety might be at risk, contact the police or a trusted adult immediately.

4. Don’t take it personally.

Remember that the person who is abusing you in-game is the one with the issue, not you. More importantly, remember that it is very likely they don’t even know you! What you are experiencing is in no way your fault; people experience bullying not because of their sexuality, gender identity, race, appearance, disability or any other unique factor; it is because of the attitude towards the factor. The only thing possible to change is attitudes – you are perfect the way you are.

5. Don’t seek revenge.

Gandhi once said, “An eye for eye only ends up making the whole world blind.” Think about the repercussions of your actions – what can really be gained by seeking revenge? You might even get yourself in trouble with the game’s moderators. It is far better to save yourself from the possibility of further trauma and focus on the good things in your life. Look at how you can move forward in a positive way, putting the person who is cyberbullying you firmly in the past.

6. Don’t isolate yourself from friends and family.

A common, sometimes unconscious reaction to being bullied is to shut down and withdraw from your loved ones. We begin to distance ourselves both emotionally and physically from the very people we need support from.

Depriving yourself of any sort of support or friendship certainly won’t do anything to resolve the issue. We know it might feel like the best thing to do, but it will only make things worse in the long run by silencing you and reducing your self-esteem. Try to keep up with your normal social life and activities you enjoy – the distraction if anything, will help lift your spirits and remind you of the positive things in your life.

7. Do tell someone.

Even if you don’t want to report it, it is important you share with someone what you are going through – you shouldn’t go through something like this alone as it is extremely stressful, and can be emotionally draining to endure bullying. This stress can have an impact on all areas of your life, including your mental wellbeing, ability to communicate with others, performance in school, self-esteem and confidence. It is therefore incredibly important that you tell somebody you trust about what you are going through; it doesn’t even have to be an adult – it could be a friend or somebody at Ditch the Label. It is vital, during this time, that you have a support system and people who you can rely on when you are feeling low, or unable to cope.

8. Do keep a record.

Keeping a record of all interactions with griefers (a player who deliberately harasses or irritates other players) is very important. Be vigilant from the beginning and screenshot anything offensive. This is your evidence when talking with game administrators. You have a responsibility to yourself and other gamers – you never know who you might inadvertently be protecting from future abuse by being proactive right now.

9. Do take some time out.

When you are very immersed in a game it can feel all-consuming – in a good way! However, when an unexpected griefer is thrown into the mix, it can quickly become a very negative and overwhelming experience.

Maybe take some time out, step away from the game and remove the cause of stress. Give yourself a chance to see things a little clearer – that way you can decide what the best plan of action is.

It is important during this time, that you remember to take good care of your health and mental wellbeing. Little things like eating a balanced diet, exercising, getting a good night’s sleep, relaxing and having quality time with friends and family can really improve physical and mental health, which will, in turn, reduce stress. Reductions in stress increase your clarity of vision, allowing you to better analyse difficult situations, which will make them much easier to deal with.

If you would prefer our easier to read version, please click here

Join our support community here where we have mentors that can advise and support.

Trolling is not OK… Troll Trolling is not OK either!

Here at Ditch the Label, we know that bullying is a behaviour and like all behaviours, it will continue to evolve and adapt to any new environment it finds itself in unless it is challenged in a responsible way.

We are all in unchartered territories and the thing with Cyberbullying and Trolling is that often the participants will give as good as they get! Internet users have a tendency to be far more outspoken online than they would be IRL which means that they are open to more of a backlash.

It’s easier to disagree with someone through a monitor than face to face. It’s easier to laugh at someone through a keyboard and it’s easier to think of a mean comeback to the mean comment someone just posted on your wall than when it’s said to your face… but, as everyone’s Nan probably always said, 2 wrongs don’t make a right…

Is It OK to troll trolls?, 57% have been bullied in an online game, online, gaming, bullying

Here are some things to consider if you’re considering trolling the ‘troll’ who trolled you in the first place:

1. High Horse Angle 

We are so busy being outraged by people that troll, that we often miss the point. When did it become socially acceptable to call them out on their unacceptable behaviour with the very same unacceptable behaviour right back at them?! *major facepalm* There’s no harm in calling out some unacceptable behaviour in a safe and responsible way, but if they’re trolling for the sake of trolling – don’t engage! It really is the best way to disarm them. Online hate speech is not OK. If you see it happen, report it.

2. Bigger Picture Stuff

It’s no secret that there is a major failure across most social media platforms to ensure online spaces are moderated and monitored safely. Think about the bigger picture – if you report rather than engage, you’re helping these sites to see the extent of the problem and in the future, preventing the person who’s trolling from abusing someone else who’s potentially even more vulnerable. We might seem like we’re living in the age of advanced technology, but it also has it’s shortcomings, but DW, we’re hoping they’ll catch up soon enough…

3. Netiquette

We all have a base understanding of manners IRL but we are desperately lacking an online equivalent. In an age where we spend most of our time online, it makes sense for there to be some kind of moral code to the way we behave when we’re there. In short – just don’t be a D***!

4. Language

The term ‘troll’ actually is very dehumanising and dangerous. When we stop seeing one another as human – sh*t gets real! You only have to flick through GSCE History textbooks to see what happens when one power dehumanises another. Using the term “bully” and “troll” is labelling them – and we’re all about Ditching those things here 😉

69 % of all respondents have done something abusive towards another person online, online, cyberbullying

5. Accountability

You only have to look at the stats peppered throughout this article to see the extent of online abuse; it’s not only on social media, but it’s also in games too. Aren’t games s’posed to be fun?!?! Loads of people we surveyed agreed that what happens online is not real life. This shows that those who troll do it because they’re not aware of the real-life implications and don’t think that they’ll be held accountable for their actions.

6. Fighting Fire with Fire 🔥

We’ve all heard this millions of times but do we ever really reflect on what it means? We wouldn’t fight fire with fire, so why deal with bullying by bullying the people who bully? It just doesn’t make sense. If you ignore, disengage or report, you extinguish the fire altogether.

“If you troll back, you become part of the problem, not the solution.”

Have you trolled or been trolled? Join the conversation in Community – we want to hear from you!

Related:

Just 14 years old, Kid’s Choice Award nominated actress Lizzy Greene has already made a pretty impressive name for herself. Starring in Nickelodeon’s Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn she was just 11 years old when she landed the role of Dawn Harper, the sole female lead of the show. Telling the story of quadruplets navigating life as pre-teens, Lizzy plays the only sister amongst them, all whilst balancing her own life as teen!

Whilst it may seem as though she lives the life of a star, you might be surprised to find out that she’s your everyday teenage girl too! Just like you she has school worries, fear of not fitting in with classmates and is anxious about the future that lies ahead. But luckily, she has some pretty powerful advice about how to handle all of that.

Here’s Lizzy with words of wisdom that we can all learn from:

DTL: Hey Lizzy! Thanks for chatting with us. To start, would you mind telling us about your own experiences with bullying?
Lizzy: I was bullied for being different and being myself. I was never bothered by what people thought of me. I kept going and doing all the things I believed in.

DTL: Thank you for sharing. Talking about this topic isn’t easy at all! Why is it so important for you to share this story with others?
Lizzy: To show others that bullying happens to everyone. Just because I am on a TV show doesn’t mean I haven’t experienced it in my life. Society pressures people to “fall in” with the pack but I believed I could be myself and rise on my own.

I believed in myself.

DTL: In the past, you have spoken about how you helped others in the school playground who were being bullied. Can you talk us through why you felt this was an important thing to do?
Lizzy: It had nothing to do with me. Someone needed help and I felt someone has to stand up for what was right. My school had lots of bullying and I knew even if I stood up to only 1 of them it would make a difference.

DTL: Here at Ditch the Label, we believe that there is no such thing as a ‘bully’ or a ‘victim’. Not only do we help those that have been bullied, but those doing the bullying too. How does this message resonate with you and your past experiences?
Lizzy: I agree with your statement 100%. People that bully others are sad, troubled and hurting.  They feel the need to take it out on others. Everyone on the planet earth is working on something or hurting about something.

We have to find a way to sort it all out and help people that cannot help themselves.   

DTL: You talk about remaining positive and not letting being bullied define you. Do you have any tips on how to stay positive even when it feels really difficult to do so?
Lizzy: Something inside of me made me rise up to those that tried to drag me down.  Those that try to put you down envy your creativity and happiness so they feel the need to tear you down to make themselves feel better. If you understand that fact you can deal with them in a way that you do not give away your own power.   

DTL: Much of the bullying that takes place today occurs on the internet. What advice would you offer to those who face negativity online?
Lizzy: I have experienced cyberbullying from people that don’t even know me daily. And I have experienced it from people that I do know. People use the fact that they are hidden behind a screen to be mean to others. If they were standing in front of you they would be less likely to be mean. Do what I do and block and unfollow the people that are not being nice to you.

Understand that it is not your responsibility to set them straight.

Stay in your own lane my mom always says. They are unhappy about something and they are taking it out on you and that is not your responsibility to fix. Block the mean people.

DTL: Working with charities is something that you have expressed as being really important to you. What made you want to be an ambassador for Ditch the Label?
Lizzy: I want to use the platform that I have to show others how important it is to be kind to other people.

All humans deserve to be treated with respect and love.

DTL: Finally, what motto do you live by?
Lizzy: Be so busy loving life that you have no time for hate, regret or fear.


Lizzy’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/greene_lizzy
Lizzy’s Instagram: https://instagram.com/lizzy_greene/?hl=en

Photo credit: Ryan West

anti-bullying week 2017

It’s Anti-Bullying Week!

From the 13th-17th of November, people all over the country will be reflecting on the issue of bullying. But, why do we need one designated week in a year to discuss issues surrounding bullying? Here are ten reasons:

1. Bullying affects more people than is commonly believed, it can take place anywhere, in any situation and absolutely no one is immune.

2. Contrary to popular belief, Bullying is not an outdated thing but in fact, it is a very current issue that loads of people are going through right now.

4. In a world which is becoming increasingly divided in some respects, it’s really important that we come together to overcome prejudice and discrimination in all its forms!

5. One of the most common reasons why a person will experience bullying is because of attitudes towards their appearance. The theme of Anti-Bullying Week this year is “All different, all equal.” This week is an opportunity for us all to celebrate our differences!

[full-width-figure image=”https://www.ditchthelabel.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/statiscropped-compressor.png”]

3. Not only does bullying happen physically and verbally, it also increasingly takes place online. People who are bullied at school or work, now often are exposed to online bullying meaning that there really is little opportunity for escape.

6. Bullying has long-lasting, negative effects on a person’s mental health: 37% of people developed social anxiety after bullying, 36% developed depression and 24% developed suicidal thoughts.

7. By raising awareness of the catastrophic effects that bullying can have, we can help those most affected by it.

8. Anti-Bullying week is a time where we can come together to help those affected by bullying to overcome it and.

9. Anti-bullying week allows us to raise awareness to the work we do with those who bully to become better, happier and more understanding people instead of villainizing them. In doing so, we can overcome bullying all together.

10. Because if you’re going through it right now, just remember that you matter and we care (🌽 )

Find out more about Anti-Bullying week:

Anti-Bullying Week 2017