Over the years, Ditch the Label have written many guides and support articles to help you face and deal with bullying. One of the core pieces of advice that we give is the importance of sharing what you are going through and being honest with someone you trust.

For so many of us, that in itself feels like the impossible thought and is a major stumbling block in getting the help and support we deserve.

So, why is it so damn hard to just open our mouths and talk about being bullied?

Shame.

Shame is as toxic and erosive as acid. It causes immeasurable damage to our wellbeing and is one of the biggest offenders for why we silence ourselves in the face of being bullied, coming out, or dealing with mental health issues.

The bottom line is when we feel shame, what we are thinking is ‘I AM BAD’ not ‘something bad happened to me’ or I did something bad, shame sends the message YOU are bad.

The difference is huge and guess what the antidote for shame is? To talk about it, to share it, to out it, and I promise you it will begin to lessen.

Don’t let shame silence you, you are too important.

Embarrassment.

Embarrassment is another biggie for why we don’t feel able to talk about the big stuff like being bullied – for this one, we have our egos to thank.

Our egos can’t stand being embarrassed and will do anything to stop this happening including keeping our mouths shut. But how unfair is that?

When something happens that is out of our control, our egos pipe up with ‘better keep that one quiet’ and not tell anyone. You have nothing to be embarrassed about so always share your problems!

Fear.

Fear has a lot to answer. It’s a fundamental reason for why we all keep quiet and don’t tell anyone what’s going on. It can be a suffocating emotion that quickly takes over if we let it. Fear, like embarrassment, doesn’t want to be discussed and distorts our thinking.

Living in fear and silence can be a living hell. So if there is something you are just too scared to talk about it with anyone, contact us here. There will be no judgement, just support.

girl, lady, hat, blue, hair, sunglasses, cold, coat, garage door

Denial.

Denial has most definitely earned itself a place on this list. When we deny something is going on in our lives either unconsciously or consciously we stop ourselves from getting much-needed help.

Every time we kid ourselves that the bullying isn’t that bad or try to handle it alone, it comes at a price. Really ask yourself, is staying quiet and denying it worth your future happiness?

All denial can ever offer is a pause button from facing reality and never a way to fully get through it.

Isolation.

Being bullied is a very lonely experience. It leaves you feeling exposed and singled out. This feeling of isolation is exactly what can stop us from talking about it.

The more alone we feel in what we are going through, the less we want to ask for help.

If you are reading this and there is something going on that you haven’t told anyone. Join our online community and post your questions anonymously in a safe space that’s just for you.

Blame.

One of the biggest reasons why we can struggle to talk about being bullied and share what’s going on is blame. We very easily begin to think that we are the problem and it is our fault. We blame ourselves and internalize all the negativity.

Being bullied is never your fault. Please don’t let that kind of thinking stop you from telling someone close to you.


If you are being bullied, you do not need to go through it alone.

If you ever need help, Ditch the Label is here for you. You can contact us here or for more help, join our community.

We’ve partnered with Simple who’ve teamed up with Little Mix to take a stand against online hate and bullying, wipe away unkind words and empower everyone to #ChooseKindness. We caught up with Little Mix about the campaign and their experiences with online hate.

DTL: Obviously, you guys get a lot of crap in the press about what you wear and your message, have you found the same online? 

Perrie – ‘It’s always online. The majority of the stick that we get comes from social media, from people behind their computer screens, their phone screens. In the comments section of articles and stuff, it’s just all the time.’

DTL: Who’s got the best clapbacks to that kind of stuff?

Leigh-Anne – ‘Jade definitely! She always knows what to say!’

DTL: A lot of young people deal with online abuse every day – what would you say to them? 

Perrie – ‘It’s really hard because when people are being cruel online, it’s hard to deal with. When you are not that kind of person and someone is acting that way, you just don’t know why someone would want to say something nasty or cruel. You just have to stay confident in yourself, and maybe try to talk to someone close who will listen to you.’ 

DTL: Did you ever used to look at negative comments online about yourselves? 

Jade – ‘Oh yeah. I think we’ve all been guilty of looking at the comments, and I think at one point we used to obsess over it, and that’s obviously a really unhealthy way to live your life. It’s how you start to get more insecure about yourself, and over the years we’ve really learnt how to not let that negativity in, and how bad that was for us. It’s now kind of out of sight, out of mind – we try not to read it any more. It’s great that Instagram lets you block words and things you don’t want to see. It helps us surround ourselves with much more positive stuff.’ 

DTL: The photoshoot you guys did for ‘Strip’ deals with a lot of this – what would you say is the worst thing anyone has ever said to you that you remember?

Leigh Anne – ‘I think for me if anyone has ever said ‘you are not good enough’ or has questioned my ability. Like if you do a bum note and people comment on that, or you miss a dance move. It happens! But it does really stick in my mind because it’s just questioning if you are good at what you do.’

DTL: Recently, you guys have started to talk about your struggles with mental health – what made you want to start talking about it? 

Perrie – ‘I think it’s because we’re in a good place right now, and when you are in a good headspace, you can talk about these things a little easier. Hopefully, it will just help someone else out there who has gone through the same thing.’

DTL: Why is talking about it so important? How can we all start talking about it more? 

Jade – ‘I think the more you talk about it, the more everyone does, it starts to normalise it. It becomes a less taboo subject to talk about and in doing so, helps a lot of people. I think for a lot of time, mental health wasn’t really spoken about enough, and could escalate because no one spoke about it. 

Jesy – ‘Yeah and I think the more you talk about it, it’s like a weight being lifted off your shoulders. I think especially with social media, we have this huge platform which we want to use to talk about this kind of stuff and be positive. I guess we hope it would help combat some of the negativity online as well.’ 

[full-width-figure image=”https://www.ditchthelabel.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/KV-shrunk.jpg”]

DTL: Do you think the stuff you’ve had to deal with online has contributed to this? 

Jade – ‘I think one of the main reasons I wanted to talk about it more is, you come out the other side of dealing with this stuff, and when you’re in a better place you want to. Also I think we are being listened to more, and people are starting to take notice and understand how much of an impact big artists can have, and we hope it can only help.’ 

DTL: What do you think can or should be done to deal with online abuse? How can we make the internet a more positive place? 

Perrie – ‘In real life, rather than online, if you see somebody in the street, you’d be more likely to compliment them than scream at them. We think a compliment goes a long way. We just believe in making people feel good about themselves. Instead of tearing somebody down and throwing negative stuff at them 24/7; pick them up and make them feel amazing! It’s the same online, reach out to people and let them know how great you think they are instead of being negative.’

Leigh Anne – ‘More needs to be done by other people to combat it too. Like there should be more moderation from platforms and stuff. And maybe bigger consequences for people that do it often, because the consequences for those that go through it can be huge, the biggest.’ 

Jade – ‘Yeah the effect that it has on people’s mental health can be massive, and there seems like there isn’t enough being done by everyone at the moment to stop it from happening. 

DTL: What would you say to someone who posts the negative stuff online? 

Jade – ‘The majority of the time, the people are spreading hate online have a lot of issues themselves in their personal lives. It takes a lot of energy to go out of your way to be awful to somebody else, so obviously the root of that is them feeling crap about themselves. So, they need to talk to someone, get some help, find a way of channelling all that energy into something positive. 

Jesy – ‘It’s so much easier to be kind’.

DTL: What do you think they can learn from the #choosekindness campaign?

Perrie – ‘I think, just be kind. That’s the vibe. I don’t think a troll really realises what impact they have on people when they say something nasty, even if it’s in passing for them. The impact of it really has to be understood, and the campaign will hopefully do that, and empower people to be kinder.’

DTL: In the spirit of #choosekindess, what’s the kindest thing anyone has ever done for you? 

Leigh-Anne – ‘The kindest thing, for me, would be the girls and how they are such a positive support system in my life. When I come to work, I know I have three friends to come to. That’s a really nice feeling.’

Watch how Little Mix wipe away unkind words and check out the video from the #ChooseKindness campaign below


We’ve teamed up with Simple who have teamed up with Little Mix to tackle online hate. For more information on #ChooseKindness, click here

worried about a mate

It’s not always easy to tell when someone’s going through a hard time. Especially if they’re purposely trying to cover something up. As humans, we have become experts at pretending we’re ok, even when we’re not.

We’re often too proud, or too scared to ask for help. We’re so quick to assume that people have their own problems to deal with, we ask ourselves, “why would they want to hear about my problems??!”

The truth is, we need to be better at looking after each other…

Are they acting strange?

So, whatever the problem might be – if you’re worried about a mate, here are some signs you can look out for that might indicate that they need help:

  • Sudden weight loss/gain
  • Not sleeping
  • Not washing/taking care of their personal hygiene
  • Visible physical injuries
  • A sudden change in moods which go from one extreme to the other
  • Appearing depressed, down in the dumps or sad all the time
  • Making excuses for not hanging out or socialising*
  • Lying about where they are going/what they are doing
  • Unusual body language
  • Acting out of character
  • Actively pushing you away
  • Not reply to texts/calls
  • Going out of their way to pretend they are fine, after a traumatic or upsetting event
    Not wanting to talk about things which  you know are bugging them
  • Not wanting to go home

*bare in mind that it can be any combination of these things. Some of them, when on their own might seem like nothing out of the ordinary, but remember to keep your eyes out for other signs that might indicate that something’s up.

Talk it out

Whatever the problem is, chances are, it’ll manifest itself in one of the ways listed above and the very best way to deal with it is to tell you’re friend that you think something’s up. Make sure they know that you’re all ears if they do want to talk. If they don’t want to talk to you about it, you can’t make them speak up.

Instead, try encouraging them to speak anonymously to Ditch the Label. Send the link below in a message and explain that they can access impartial and non-judgmental help from a digital mentor:

They can either post their query anonymously to the community, or message a digital mentor directly. Simply log in, click ‘messages’, and select a mentor to speak to.

Don’t take the risk

It can be difficult to determine whether things like self-harm or talk about suicide is a ‘call for help’ or a genuine attempt or risk. The truth is, it doesn’t actually make a difference because either way, your mate needs help. Never dismiss a suicide reference or threat. It really can be the difference between life and death.

The first and most important thing to do is to speak to a trusted adult about your concerns, especially if your friend is in crisis. Alternatively, you can refer them to the following helplines if they are willing to talk. If not, contact them yourself on behalf of your mate:

are you being cyber bullied?

Cyberbullying comes in a whole range of different shapes and sizes and is something that is totally subjective to the person being cyberbullied.

From our research on cyberbullying, we found that up to 7 in 10 young people experience cyberbullying before the age of 18.

Ditch the Label defines cyberbullying as the following:

Cyberbullying is the use of digital technologies with an intent to offend, humiliate, threaten, harass or abuse somebody.

– Ditch the Label

We all spend a ridiculous amount of time online. With the internet in your pocket, in school, at work and at home, it is impossible to escape it. That’s why being bullied online can be absolutely rubbish, and can make it feel impossible to live your life. We have put together this so you can understand everything you need to know about cyberbullying and where you can get help if you need it. 

What are the different types of cyberbullying?

Examples of cyberbullying include:

  • Nasty messages online or on your mobile phone
  • Comments or replies on your social media posts or posts about you
  • Being excluded from online group chats on purpose
  • Embarrassing or harmful photos being put online without your permission
  • Sending offensive pictures through a messaging app
  • Rumours and lies about you on a website, messaging app or social media platform
  • Offensive chat or voice communication on an online game
  • Fake online profiles being created with an intent to defame you

If you are experiencing cyberbullying or you know someone who is, check out our Top 9 Tips For Dealing With Cyberbullying or visit our Community to talk to a trained digital mentor who can help you with what to do next.


Are you being Cyberbullied?

Asking yourself the following questions can help you determine whether you’re being cyberbullied:

  • Are you on the receiving end of hurtful comments online?
  • Is someone persistently bothering you on social media?
  • Have you ever been threatened by someone you know online?
  • Do people spread gossip or rumours about you on the internet?
  • Has a picture of you been shared without your consent?
  • Have you been hacked or impersonated online?
  • Are you being blackmailed online?

Are you looking to prevent cyberbullying?

Anybody can become a recipient of cyberbullying, regardless of how old they are or the kind of job that they do or what their hobbies might be. It is never anything to do with you.


Cyberbullying Statistics

From our research, we found that up to 7 in 10 young people experience cyberbullying before the age of 18.

Taken from The Annual Bullying Survey, Ditch the Label

  • 7 out of 10 young people have been victims of cyberbullying.
  • 37% of young people have experienced cyberbullying on a highly frequent basis
  • 20% of young people have experienced extreme cyberbullying on a daily basis
  • Young people are found to be twice as likely to be bullied on Instagram than on any other social network.
  • 54% of young people using Facebook reported that they have experienced bullying on the network.
  • 28% of young people using Twitter reported that they have experienced bullying on the network.
  • Cyberbullying is found to have catastrophic effects on the self-esteem and social lives of up to 69% of young people.
  • An estimated 5.43 million young people in the UK have experienced cyberbullying with 1.26 million subjected to extreme cyberbullying on a daily basis.
  • New research shows that young males and females are equally at risk.

Taken from The Wireless Report, Ditch the Label

  • 37% 13 – 25-year-olds have sent a naked photo of themselves (63% to a boyfriend/girlfriend and 32% to someone they are attracted to)
  • 30% of 15 yr olds have sent a naked photo of themselves at least once
  • 15% of 13 & 14 yr olds have sent a naked photo of themselves at least once
  • 5% of 13-year-olds send naked photos several times a week.
  • 24% have sent a naked photo to someone they know only online.
  • 24% have had a naked photo shared without their consent.
  • 49% believe is just harmless fun.
  • 16% said it’s the normal thing to do.
  • 13% felt pressurised into doing it.
  • Females are twice as likely to send a naked photo of themselves more than once a week than men.
  • 62% have been sent nasty private messages via smartphone apps
  • 52% have never reported the abuse they have received.
  • 47% have received nasty profile comments
  • 40% have received nasty photo comments.
  • 42% have received hate-based comments (racism, homophobia etc.)
  • 28% have had personal information shared without consent.
  • 52% have never reported abuse on smartphone apps
  • 26% felt like it wasn’t taken seriously when reported
  • 49% experienced a loss in confidence as a result of the bullying
  • 28% retaliated and sent something abusive back
  • 24% turned to self-harm as a coping mechanism
  • 22% tried to change their appearance to avoid further abuse
  • 13% stopped using the app

What Does The Law Say?

As cyberbullying is a relatively new phenomenon, the UK courts are still trying to catch up with it and sentence offenders effectively. Though no laws specifically apply to cyberbullying alone, there are several laws which can be applied in cyberbullying cases:

  • Protection from Harassment Act 1997
  • Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994
  • Malicious Communications Act 1988
  • Communications Act 2003
  • Breach of the Peace (Scotland)
  • Defamation Act 2013

In 2012 The Crown Prosecution Service published guidelines on how cyberbullying cases would be assessed against current laws, which you can find here.

On January 1st 2014, the Defamation Act 2013 came into order and can be read here.

Cyber Bullying Prosecutions

Cyberbullying cases can often go unreported by victims for fear of what people may say, and indeed this was an issue faced by Nicola Brookes, who was remorselessly cyberbullied after posting a message of support on Frankie Cocozza’s Facebook page. After taking evidence to the Police with no success, she took her case to the High Court and won a battle with Facebook to have her bullies’ names revealed. You can read more about the story here. The case was a landmark battle, as for the first time it meant a website had to release members’ details, opening them up for prosecution.

Trolls are increasingly being taken to court and if found guilty, given fines and facing jail terms. Two people who sent abusive messages towards Caroline Criado-Perez were jailed for 8 weeks and 12 weeks and were ordered to pay £800 in fines.

A website owner will generally be responsible for content posted on the website, meaning that if a defamatory comment (or series of comments) exists on a website, the site’s owner can be taken to court – this is how Nicola Brookes was able to get information about her trolls from Facebook. Alternatively, it may be possible to take the troll themselves to court, as has been seen in the case of Caroline Criado-Perez. As with any court case, the evidence is essential and it’s important to catalogue any abuse you may receive. KnowtheNet has produced a helpful infographic on how to interact on the internet, and you can see it here.

On a different note, after boxer Curtis Woodhouse had been trolled by the same account on Twitter for months, he put a bounty on the address of his assailant and visited the troll’s house to solicit an apology from him. Though this isn’t advised, it’s a good example of how cowardly bullies are when the tables are turned.

Reporting Cyberbullying

Reporting Cyberbullying on Facebook

 How to report and remove a post
–  On the post that you want to report/remove, click on the arrow icon in the top right hand side and select I don’t like this post.
–  When the window pops open just click the appropriate reason for removing the post.
–  Then you are given the options on how to proceed. You are given plenty of options to choose from.
–  Once you have gone through this short process, you will have several options on how to proceed including blocking the person who made the original post and making a complaint to Facebook.

Blocking a User
–  You can still block users by going to their Facebook page. Once on their profile page go to the top right corner and click on the button to the right of the messages button.
–  You now have the option to report or block them.

Dealing with Abusive Messages
–  If you are using the chatbox then click on the options logo in the right corner followed by Report as Spam or Abuse…
–  If you are in your inbox, select the message that you want to get rid of or report from the left-hand column by clicking on it.
–  Click on Actions at the top of your screen and select Report as Spam or Abuse…
–  Three options will appear so just click on the one that is appropriate.

Reporting Cyberbullying on Twitter

Blocking a user through a Tweet
–  On the tweet that you want to block, click on the more (…) icon at the bottom of the Tweet and click Block.

Blocking a user through a profile
–  Go to the profile page of the user you want to block.
–  Click on the options icon next to the follow button and select block.
–  You can also report users by completing these same steps.

Reporting Cyberbullying on Instagram

Reporting Content or a User
–  Click on the options arrow either on a post or the users profile and click report.

Getting Further Support

Whether you’re being cyberbullied yourself or know somebody that is, help is at hand. Visit our help section for more information or join the Ditch the Label community today.

Research papers

If you want to learn more about bullying-related trends, behaviours and attitudes across the past six years. We’ve got loads of research for you to read!

How to Stop Bullying Others: 7 Tips

We recently found that 1 in 2 people have bullied another person at least once. Bullying is one of the biggest issues currently affecting young people and we believe that we can overcome it, if we start to think differently about how we resolve things.

We believe that nobody is ever a bully. They may be bullying somebody, which is a behaviour, but it isn’t who they are as people. Our experts have compiled together 7 practical tips which are designed to help you stop bullying others by enabling you to understand your behaviors better and equipping you to resolve them in more effective ways.

1. You are not a bully

First and foremost, stop labeling yourself as a bully. It isn’t productive and will not benefit you. You may be bullying another person but that does not mean you are a bully. It is a behaviour and not your identity.

2. Understand why

Our research shows that there are a variety of reasons why people bully others. Bullying is a learned behaviour and is often used as a coping mechanism for a stressful situation. Common examples could include being bullied by somebody else, abuse, a traumatic situation or a stressful home life. In addition, we also know that some people bully others because they may feel competitive towards them or they may not fully understand an element about them. Once you are able to gain an understanding as to why you are motivated to bully others, this will give you hugely valuable insight.

3. Seek a resolve

Once you have identified the source of your behaviour, it is important to find a productive way in which you can resolve the situation. If you find this difficult, we would recommend speaking with an adult who you trust.

Alternatively, you can contact us or give our friends at Childline a call on 0800 11 11. Believe us when we tell you that you are deserving of support.

4. Reprogram your stress

What is the one thing that we all have in common? Stress. We all feel it, but it’s important to recognise stress and deal with it accordingly. By that, we mean – don’t store it up and let it fester, as it can have significant impacts on your mood and health. Give our Stress Reprogramming system a try.

5. Speak about it

You’d be surprised at how powerful it can be to just sit down with somebody who you trust and talk about everything that is bothering you. A problem shared, really can be a problem halved. It may be worth buddying up and going through our Stress Reprogramming exercise with somebody who you trust.

6. Is it a good strategy?

Pulling somebody else down will never, ever take you any higher. Using bullying as a coping mechanism for something stressful in your life is only going to make things worse; not just for you but also for the person who is at the receiving end of the bullying.

Want daily positivity and inspiration? Follow us on Instagram!

7. Understand the impact

To you, it may not seem serious, but to another person, the impact could be significant. For every 10 people who are bullied, 3 of them will self-harm, 1 will go on to have a failed suicide attempt and 1 will develop an eating disorder. Additionally, we know that people who have been bullied, on average, achieve lower grades and therefore the bullying could reduce their future career prospects.

Above everything, we would encourage you to please speak to somebody and seek the support available.

This could be a Ditch the Label Mentor who will offer non judgmental advice and support.

If you’d like to chat, join our community today – we’re here for you.

What is Hate Crime?

Hate crime is a criminal offence. It is an act of hatred or aggression directed at a specific person, group or their property. It is motivated by hostility or prejudice against:

  • A personal characteristic
  • Gender identity
  • Disability
  • Sexual orientation
  • Race
  • Religion
  • Faith

This may involve bullying, physical assault, verbal abuse and/or insults, damage to property, threatening behaviour, robbery, harassment, offensive letters (hate mail) or graffiti and inciting others to commit hate crimes. The legal consequences for perpetrators can be serious and range from a fine to a maximum of 10 years in prison.

Why Report Hate Crime?

Reporting hate crime is important because it provides a platform from which action can be taken against perpetrators and for the abuse to stop. It can often lead to vital support for the victim and it can also benefit wider society by creating safer public areas.

Hate crime can go unreported for many reasons including:

  • Many people do not know that they can report this kind of abuse
  • People do not know how to report it
  • Some people have reservations or fears around approaching the police or authority figures

An increase in reporting will:

  • Provide more accurate statistics which leads to better services within the justice system and improves how hate crimes are responded to
  • Challenge attitudes and behaviours that endorse hatred towards anyone perceived as ‘different’
  • Encourage early intervention to prevent situations escalating
  • Increase confidence for victims in coming forward to seek support and justice
  • Ensure that the right support is available for those that need it
american, cop, car

How to report Hate Crime

In an emergency, ALWAYS dial 999 or 112 – All calls are free and will be answered by trained operators. If you are in immediate danger, or to report a crime in progress, dial 999 or 112 as above.

Other ways to contact the police:

  • Dial 101 to report non-urgent crimes or to make an enquiry
  • Call in at a police station. You can search by postcode via: http://www.police.uk
  • In incidents where the victim of a hate crime does not wish to approach the police directly there may be a police liaison officer for their region, or a Community Safety Partnership Department. Call 101 for further advice on this.
  • Reporting hate crime online: http://report-it.org.uk/your_police_force
  • Understandably it can sometimes be very difficult to report an incident alone. If you do not have a friend or family member to accompany you, help with reporting via voluntary and other agencies can be found here: http://www.report-it.org.uk/organisations_that_can_help
  • You can also report hate crime anonymously via Crimestoppers here: 0800 555 111 / https://crimestoppers-uk.org

Always tell someone if you have been the victim of a hate crime. You can speak to a digital mentor at Ditch the Label who can help you in dealing with this. Join the community today.

Ditch the Label and Simple want to know

“What does choosing kindness look like?”

Enter the Choose Kindness Creative Competition and win the chance to meet Little Mix and £1000 for your school!

The Task

We’re asking people aged 11-18 to consider what choosing kindness looks like, and to send us their creative interpretation.

Your creative piece of work can be anything from videos, photographs or posters, to stories, sculptures or essays.

The competition is free to enter and is open to individuals aged 11-18 in UK secondary or further education, or equivalent.

How to Enter

Entries must be submitted in a digital format via our Competition Entry Form or by emailing [email protected], with the subject link “Choose Kindness Competition”.

Scroll down for further details on how to enter as an individual or teacher.

The Prizes

The top five competition entries will be chosen by Little Mix themselves, and each of these winners will win tickets to see Little Mix in concert, plus the opportunity to meet Little Mix.

On top of this, the overall winner will receive £1000 for their school.

The Deadline

Monday 13th April 2020


Individual Entries

To enter, you must create a piece of work based on the brief ‘what does kindness look like?’ using any creative medium you wish.

You should submit your entry in a digital format – so physical items such as paintings or sculptures should be photographed, and performances should be videoed.

The photo, video or URL link to their entry should be submitted via our Competition Entry Form or by emailing [email protected]

If the file size is larger than 10MB, a file sharing service such as WeTransfer should be used to share the entry via a URL link. If entering via email, a completed cover sheet from the Individual Competition Pack should also be attached.

If you are under the age of 16 you will require parental permission.


For Teachers

To enter, students must create a piece of work based on the brief ‘what does kindness look like?’ using any creative medium they wish.

Students should submit their entry in a digital format – so physical items such as paintings or sculptures should be photographed, and performances should be videoed.

The photo, video or URL link to their entry should be submitted via our Competition Entry Form or by emailing [email protected].

If the file size is larger than 10MB, a file sharing service such as WeTransfer should be used to share the entry via a URL link. If entering via email, a completed cover sheet from the Teacher Competition Pack should also be attached.

Any students under the age of 16 will require parental permission.

Sharing with your students

We’ve included an assembly in the Teacher Competition Pack to help you to introduce the Choose Kindness Creative Competition to your students. This assembly is fully scripted and supported by a student-facing PowerPoint.

It explores the benefits of choosing to be kind – both for us and for other
people – before introducing the competition and explaining the key
information.

We recommend nominating a ‘teacher lead’ for the competition so students
know who to go to for more information, and who to name as the teacher
to be contacted in the event that they win the competition.


Whole Class Submissions

To submit entries on behalf of your whole class, you should upload all of the entries into a folder on a file-sharing service, such as Dropbox or Google Drive.

Each file should be named after the student who made it, and should be accompanied by a completed cover sheet found in the Teacher Competition Pack – also named after the student.

You may then submit a URL link to that folder using the Competition Entry Form or via email to [email protected].


Abridged Terms and Conditions

PLEASE NOTE: Due to the outbreak of COVID-19 and subsequent government guidance on social distancing measures, there has been some amendments to the terms and conditions.

The updated terms and conditions can be found below.

Open to GB residents aged between 11 to 18 in secondary or further education, or equivalent.

  • Opening date: 24/02/2020
  • Closing date: 13/04/2020

Prizes: The grand prize winner will receive £1000 for their school, 3 x tickets to a Little Mix concert and the chance to meet Little Mix.

Four runner up winners will receive 3 x tickets to a Little Mix concert and the chance to meet Little Mix. All winners must be accompanied by an adult. 1 entry per person.

See full terms here.


What Is Conflict Resolution 101?

Most of us will do absolutely anything to avoid having awkward conversations and to stay as far away from confrontation as humanly possible. Unfortunately, conflict is just a part of daily living, no matter how hard you try to avoid it. It’s impossible for us all to agree on absolutely everything and it’s also impossible to breeze through life without falling out with your best mate, hitting rock bottom with your bub or having a complete and utter breakdown of communication with your family.

There’s also a growing amount of evidence to show that some of the skills we’re going to share in this piece can be great ways at tackling bullying. We’ve put together the ultimate guide on conflict resolution to help you tackle bullying head-on and to patch up that fall out that’s playing on your mind. The techniques will also help you become better at negotiating and help you avoid further conflict.

Get a notepad and take notes. Here are the 16 things you need to know about conflict resolution:


1. Know what it is first

Conflict resolution is all about finding a peaceful solution to a problem between 2 or more people. Conflict resolution can be used to resolve a massive range of issues – from war and corruption to divorce, bullying and breakdowns in communication.

2. Assess risk

Sometimes it isn’t appropriate to do the conflict resolution yourself. If the person causing you distress has a history of violence or aggressive behaviour and confrontation could put you at risk, then explore other options. If you feel like you could safely speak to the person directly, read on…

3. Address your fears

Know that the idea of conflict resolution at first can feel absolutely terrifying and intimidating, but please don’t let it deter you. Know that most of us find confrontation uncomfortable and do remember that there is a strong chance that this will help you solve the issue.

4. Structure your conversation

Before you have your conversation, make sure you are familiar with how you’d like to structure it. An example is below:

  • Request the conversation. Example: “Hey Tom, I wondered if we could chat for a minute about something I have on my mind?”
  • Establish an outcome: “It would be great if we could figure out a better way of talking with each other”
  • Say your piece: “You keep calling me stupid. I’m not stupid and it makes me feel embarrassed. I’ve been worried about it. Did I do something to upset you?”
  • Allow them to talk. Remain calm and receptive.
  • Negotiate and agree on a solution.
  • Thank them for talking to you about it.

5. Get neutral

Conflict resolution works best when it is done in a neutral setting, like a public park, coffee shop or empty classroom. Sometimes it may be beneficial to have strangers around to prevent it turning into a huge argument, but that’s up to you.

6. It ain’t a group activity

In order to be effective, the conversation needs to either be facilitated by a trained mediator or should be just between you and the person you have issues with. This is not a point scoring exercise or a way to prove who is right and who is wrong, so don’t allow a group dynamic to influence the process.

7. DON’T SHOUT

Nothing ever got resolved by shouting. Seriously, can you think of anything that shouting ever resolved? Not really. If the other person starts to shout, no matter how angry or tempted you are, don’t do it. Stop talking and wait until they’ve stopped. Tell them you don’t want to argue and talk to them as you normally would. If they keep on shouting, suggest a break or consider ending the session.

8. Take bullet points

At first, it’s likely that you will feel nervous and stressed. These feelings will pass, but can temporarily cloud your mind. This is why it’s a good idea to write down a few bullet points of things you’d like to tell the other person before you meet with them. If you feel more comfortable, you could even write a few paragraphs of things you’d like to say and read it out to them. Be honest and tell them that the conversation makes you nervous because it’s important to you. Unless they have deeply rooted issues, it is likely that sharing something vulnerable with them will encourage them to drop their guard and be more receptive to you.

9. Don’t be personal

You’ve lost the moment you say something to purposely insult the other person. Conflict resolution isn’t a fancy way to argue, the whole point of the process is to resolve conflict.

10. Be objective

A good structure of conversation is to first talk about the observation, then the impact and then what needs to change/ask why. Example: ’You called me fat in front of the class, it made me feel embarrassed and upset and I’d like it if you didn’t do that again’.

11. Focus on an outcome

Mutually agree on an outcome at the start of the session and do refer to it should the conversation start to detract… for example, if you’ve fallen out with your best mate and they’ve been talking about you behind your back, a good outcome would be something that isn’t blaming, something like ‘We’d like to figure out what went wrong and rebuild our friendship.’

12. Repeat language back

It is likely that the other person will feel defensive at first. A great and subtle way of encouraging them to lower their barriers is to start using some of the same language. They likely won’t consciously realise it, but subconsciously they will interpret it as you both have similar ways of communicating.

13. Talk and listen

Listen as much as you are talking. A good conflict resolution session is balanced and a safe space for people to talk openly and honestly about how they feel. If you are using conflict resolution to resolve a bullying-related issue, keep in mind that often, people bully others because they have deeper issues that they aren’t coping with properly.

14. Negotiate

Be prepared to negotiate, but never allow anybody to make you feel as if your emotions aren’t valid. If you’re feeling it, it’s real and you are entitled to feel upset or angry for example. If you’re being bullied, never take ownership of your own abuse. Do be receptive to what the person has to say though and try to be respectful, even if deep down you feel as though you hate the person and how they have treated you.

15. Know when to end

If the other person is unresponsive, know when to end the conversation and to try a different resolution tactic.

16. Remember

Regardless of the outcome, learning conflict resolution skills is an invaluable process. This situation is temporary and not everybody is mature enough to have an open and honest conversation. Good luck!

Related content

It’s a brand new year and we think 2020 should be the year that everyone gets to be their most confident, comfortable, authentic selves. Our CEO Liam Hackett is helping everyone to do just that with the release of his new book ‘Fearless’. We caught up with him to find out all about the book. 

Ditch the Label: Hey Liam, congratulations on your new book! Tell us a bit about it.

 Thanks! So the book is all about finding the confidence to be your true authentic self. It covers all kinds of things, from the fear of being judged and not fitting in, to conquering your fears of being a failure. There’s some incredible colourful illustrations in it, as well as loads of expert quotes and tips and tricks to dealing with life as a young person today.

Basically, it’s there to help all young people break the labels that might be holding them back or keeping them in a box, smash through gender stereotypes, and overcome the fears that stop everyone from being unashamedly themselves. 

Ditch the Label: That sounds awesome! What made you want to write a book about this? 

When I was younger, I was badly bullied. That’s why Ditch the Label was born, to tackle bullying in all its forms to help anyone else going through it. What I went through really affected how I saw myself and my confidence was on the floor. One day, my Grandma asked me why I always walk with my head down. I told her it was because I wasn’t confident. She said something I will never forget which was “confidence is in all of us, but sometimes you have to fake it until you make it”. 

Through Ditch the Label, I have seen so many stories of young people battling with low self-esteem and a lack of confidence, and I remember exactly how that felt. I just want to help them become the confident versions of themselves that they can be.

Ditch the Label: What was it like writing a book?

It’s been an amazing experience. It really has been a long term dream of mine, so to have something actually out there is incredible and I still can’t quite believe it. It’s the product of years of hard work, so I’m really excited to have something on the shelves that can really help young people to feel good about themselves and be able to cope with the issues and emotions that so many of us navigate growing up. 

Ditch the Label: How important do you think it is for young people to read something like this?

I think it’s really important. Young people today are up against so much. At Ditch the Label, we’ve seen time and again how much issues such as being judged, coping with emotions and a fear of fitting in can have an impact on their mental health and general wellbeing. This book is designed to break everything down that could be holding them back and then leads them through how to tackle it step-by-step.

The aim is that by the end of the book, they will be equipped with all the tools they need to face the world exactly as they are – and be rightly proud of themselves. And it’s always there for the tough times, they can dip in and out of the book when they need a boost or further support. 

Ditch the Label: What’s your favourite bit? 

Haha – tough question! I’m not sure I can say any one bit of it is my favourite because the whole point is that different parts will help different people in different ways.

It’s basically there to help whenever anyone needs it, whether that be in everything it covers as a whole, or just one or two hints and tips on gaining confidence, being kinder, or expressing themselves. 

DTL: We can’t wait to read it! Is there anything else you want to tell us about it? 

I learned so much myself in writing this book; I had to face my own fears: Was it good enough? Would anyone want to publish it? Scholastic (my publisher) have been amazing through it all!

Finally, I really wish something like this was around when I was growing up. 

The book is available now from all good book shops including Amazon, Waterstones and WH Smith. You can support your local independent through Hive.co.uk #Fearless.

If you need support, join the Ditch the Label Community here. 

Are you ugly? Thousands of people ask this every day. It comes as no surprise then, to find out that one of the most popular questions entered into our search bars on our phones was ‘Am I Ugly?’

In fact, if you type “am I” into Google, the first suggestion that is offered to you is “am I ugly?”

google search results for am i ugly

Attitudes towards appearance are one of the main reasons why people are being bullied. In fact, in Ditch the Label’s 2019 Annual Bullying Survey, 59% of young people said that their appearance was the reason they were bullied.

This is not a new question. Unobtainable beauty ideals have us questioning our self-worth, based on our appearance, on a daily basis probably since the beginning of humanity.

For example in Ancient Greece, beauty standards were that men had to be buff and glossy, while women were seen as most attractive when they had red hair and a fuller-figured body. While during Victorian times, a pale face with rosy cheeks was seen as the most ‘beautiful’. These ideals and standards have changed many times over the past 1000s of years.

In 2013, a YouTube trend emerged called “Am I Ugly or Pretty?” whereby, teen girls uploaded videos of themselves asking viewers exactly that. Following this, the internet answered the question in all its force and pulled no punches.

Even in 2020, these questions are often asked on places such as Instagram, Reddit and TikTok.

@davidpostman

♬ original sound – sidthesciencedik

This question is one that matters and is something that nearly all of us will ask ourselves at some point during our lives.

So, let’s answer it!

Are you ugly or pretty?

Am I ugly because people keep saying it to me?

No, the danger is when you are called ugly enough times you start to believe it might be true.

Am I ugly because I’m single?

No, you are not single because you are ugly, and being in a relationship doesn’t make you beautiful.

Am I ugly because I keep thinking about it?

No, so please stop telling yourself you are, our thoughts very quickly become our reality.

Am I ugly because I was dumped?

No, you were NOT dumped because you are ugly, the relationship ended and that’s ok – give yourself some time and space to heal.

Am I ugly because I’m looking different?

No, your body is just changing and you are still growing into it.

Am I ugly because I have bad skin?

No, having bad skin does not make you unattractive and is totally normal.

Am I ugly because I don’t look as pretty as a model?

No, it’s ok to not look like a model. Turns out they are the only ones that do and they make up a teeny tiny amount of the population.

Am I ugly because I’m big?

No, your dress size does not determine your beauty, case in point: Tess Holiday.

Am I ugly because my friends keep saying so?

No, they are telling you that because they are scared that they aren’t good enough and have their own fears of being ugly, this doesn’t have to be your fear as well.

Am I ugly because I feel it?

No, your self-esteem has just gotten a little too low and needs rebuilding, have a look at our support guide for tips on how to begin rebuilding your self-confidence here.

Am I ugly compared to everyone else?

No, when we compare ourselves we always come off feeling worse, to compare is to despair so stop comparing.

Am I ugly because I am fat?

No, your weight is how much your body physically weighs full stop. Every single object, mineral, plant or animal on this planet has a weight. It is what we as humans equate with this number that forces us to connect beauty with weight. There is no such thing as a ‘beautiful weight’ or an ‘ugly weight.’ There is a healthy weight and that is different for everyone.

Am I ugly because I was rejected?

No, everyone experiences rejection in all its painful forms and it does not make you unattractive. Looking for ways to deal with rejection?

Am I ugly?

No, even if you have never ever felt anything but ugly your whole life right up until now that is still not proof that you are. Here’s the secret and I know because I am talking from experience, just like happiness it is all an inside job. So if you want to start changing how you feel we have some tips to help you start here.

If you aren’t feeling great about your appearance right now and need someone to talk to, Ditch the Label is here for you. Join our community and talk to us here.

join ditch the label community