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.

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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.

The Dos and Dont’s:

In our research, we found that almost half of us have experienced bullying at one point or another. Given what a high number of people that is, it is still very common to be on the receiving end of advice that although means well, isn’t always very helpful.

We also know that an alarmingly high number of us never report it and suffer in silence instead. If a friend or loved one does decide to open up to you and share what they are going through, sometimes it is hard to know how to appropriately respond.

With this mind we have compiled a list of things to avoid saying to them, as well as a helpful alternative:

1. Don’t say: ‘Ignore it’

This old chestnut can be very damaging. Being told to ignore something that is causing you stress and anxiety is not helpful. Ignoring the bullying unsurprisingly doesn’t actually work and saying something like this might stop them from sharing anything else in the future. This could have a serious effect on their mental health and lead to things such as depression, and more extreme outcomes.

Do say: ‘Let’s talk about it’

This is a way more helpful and compassionate response. Feeling like your voice is being heard is extremely important as it makes us feel less alone. It also lets us know that someone cares and is interested in what’s going on in our life, without looking to fix or dismiss the problem.


2. Don’t say: ‘It’s just a part of growing up’

Whilst experiencing bullying growing up is all too common, it does not mean you have to accept it as a rite of passage. Saying this also offers no advice on how to deal with the problem at hand.

Do say: ‘What’s been going on?’

This question gives the person the opportunity to talk honestly and openly if they wish to get what’s bothering them off of their chest.


3. Don’t say: ‘Stop being so sensitive’

This piece of advice is particularly harmful. It implies it is their reaction to the bullying that is the problem, and that if they were less ‘sensitive’ the issue would magically disappear. This is not the case. You also might embarrass them by referring to their reaction to the situation as ‘sensitive’ as it implies they are overreacting. This might stop them speaking up and seeking help in the future.

Do say: ‘It ok to feel upset/angry’ etc

You need to reassure them that whatever they are feeling is perfectly normal and natural. Try and make them understand that there is no right or wrong when it comes to feelings – all we really need to do is acknowledge them.


4. Don’t say: ‘Just stand up for yourself’

As a piece of advice, this doesn’t work for a few reasons. It can make the person feel powerless as they might not feel able to stand up for themselves or know how to go about standing up themselves. They might also be fearful of the consequences.

Do say: “I’m here for you, what do you want to do about it?”

This lets the person know you care and that you want to help them through this tough situation and most importantly, it is not their fault.


5. Don’t say: ‘Fight back’

Bullying isn’t always something you can meet with force as it can very easily spiral out of control. Often reacting in an aggressive manner can make the situation worse and can put them at risk of physical harm. If they feel it is a safe and appropriate action to take, maybe encourage them to try talking to the person who is doing the bullying.

Remind them 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 distress.

For example, instead of saying “you’re upsetting me”, they could say “what you said/did has upset me”. It might be appropriate to suggest that a teacher or responsible adult hosts a mediation between them. A mediation can feel scary for those involved but is often incredibly powerful; it is essentially a face-to-face conversation between the person who is being bullied and the person doing the bullying in a controlled, equal environment.

Do say: ‘How can we deal with this together?’

Understandably it’s easy to lose sight of the bigger picture when you are being attacked and therefore they might feel like they are facing the problem alone, with no one they can depend on for support.

Your friendship could make all the difference to them right now. Spend time with them, make sure they know they are not alone and try to do things that will boost their self-esteem and confidence. It’s important that they still look after their health and maintain a good diet, exercise and things like meditation and yoga. It is also important that you remember to look after yourself as well and don’t take too much on.

what to say to someone who is being bullied

6. Don’t say: ‘Just avoid them’

By saying this, you are minimising and undermining the problem. It is also not realistic to think that these situations can be easily avoided. It is better to acknowledge what is happening and try to think of ways to combat or resolve the bullying.

Do say: ‘You don’t deserve to be treated like this’

Remind them that they deserve to be treated with respect. Often people who are bullied can feel like a ‘victim’ but it’s important that they don’t disempower themselves and let the bullying dictate who they are. They need to find ways to regain control, confidence and self-esteem – we have a great guide on how you can rebuild your self-esteem here.

Remind them as often as you can that they are worthy, in control and that things will get better. Head to our blog to read stories of how people have overcome similar situations and gone on to do great things, it will help reassure them that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.


7. Don’t say: ‘Telling someone will just make it worse, so don’t bother’

Almost 1 in 2 young people who experience bullying never tell anybody for this very reason. A mixture of embarrassment, fear and a lack of faith in the current support systems stops people reaching out. Please don’t encourage someone to suffer in silence.

Do say: ‘Talk to someone you trust.’

It can feel exposing and uncomfortable talking about our experiences of being bullied, that’s why talking to someone we trust can make a difference.  

It is important they share with someone what they are going through – they 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 well-being, ability to communicate with others, performance in school/work, self-esteem and confidence.

It is therefore incredibly important that they tell somebody they trust about what they 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 a traumatic time, that they have a support system and people who they can rely on when they are feeling low, or unable to cope.

Join the community to talk to digital mentors or other people who are going through bullying – you do not need to go through it alone anymore… 

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.

Are you being bullied?

“Just ignore it”, is what most people are told when they’re being bullied, or maybe “they’re only jealous” – but what use is that when you’re hurting and it’s making you feel bad about yourself? “Tell a teacher” is sometimes good advice but what happens when your teachers don’t do anything? What if you’ve already told a teacher and it just got worse?

If you’re being bullied then you’re not the only one. In fact, almost half of us, have at some point been bullied. As a leading global youth charity, we’re here to help you overcome bullying once and for all.

Don’t worry, we’ve got your back…

Top 10 tips for dealing with bullying

1. Understand the bullying

Bullying is a learnt behaviour. There are several reasons why people bully others; more often than not, bullying can be a coping mechanism for people who are going through a stressful or traumatic situation and it may also be learnt from abuse or prejudice-based attitudes at home. Often people who bully others have at some point been bullied themselves or are currently being bullied.

Other reasons for bullying can include issues such as jealousy and insecurity – we know this because we work directly with people who bully so we can help them understand and overcome their negative behaviours. If you are being bullied, please know that you are NOT the problem.

If you are bullying somebody else, please speak up about it – get help on our Community here.

2. If you feel safe enough: speak to the person who is bullying you

Have you ever said something to a friend and upset them by accident? Chances are, it has probably happened loads of times. It’s a similar thing with bullying as the definition, by default is subjective – meaning that everybody has a different threshold of what they consider to be bullying. Sometimes, the person who is bullying you may genuinely have no idea that it is affecting you.

Equally, they are probably going through a difficult time themselves and will relate to how you’re feeling. This is why we have found that speaking to the person who is bullying you can be really effective. If this is something you’d consider, read this first.

3. Never go through it in silence

When you’re going through a stressful or difficult situation, it can clog your mind and fog your vision. This leads to people becoming distracted, stressed and unproductive. Bullying is something that affects so many people’s lives, but many people will never report it through embarrassment, fear or a lack of faith in support systems.

It is incredibly important that you go through the appropriate reporting channels by firstly telling a teacher/parent/guardian/learning mentor or another responsible adult. You can also contact us for advice and support. Even if you don’t want to report it, speak to somebody and don’t feel like you have to go through it alone because you don’t.

tip-3

4. Is it a crime?

Bullying is a behaviour but some forms of bullying may also be a criminal offence. If somebody physically or sexually attacks you, steals from you or uses prejudice language or hate speech towards you (such as homophobia and racism) or shares your private information or intimate images online – these are all key signs that you should probably report it to the Police.

5. Don’t see yourself as the problem

The reason people experience bullying is 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. The person who is bullying you is the one with the issue, not you.

6. Deal with stress

When you are going through a stressful situation, it can be difficult to deal with it objectively if you keep it all to yourself. The stress navigates towards the front of your mind and builds up into a completely avoidable chain of negative emotions. It is therefore incredibly important to tell somebody that you trust; it doesn’t even have to be an adult, it could be a friend or somebody at Ditch the Label. You deserve the help and support to get through this.

We have a really simple exercise available on our website called Stress Reprogramming which you can do either alone or with somebody else in around 30 minutes. The exercise will help you see stress differently and come up with a way forward.

7. Even though you may want to, don’t isolate yourself

Depriving yourself of any sort of support certainly isn’t going to resolve the issue or help you handle the bullying. We know it may feel like the best thing to do at the time, but it will only make things worse by silencing you and reducing your self-esteem. Often people who are bullied will understandably see themselves as victims, but it’s important that you look beyond that and don’t let the bullying dictate who you are. Talk about it to somebody at Ditch the Label.

tip-5

8. Look after your health

We’re not going to go into the whole endorphin thing because you’ve probably heard it before – but seriously, eating a good, clean diet and exercising can really improve your physical and mental health and reduce stress. Reductions in stress increase your clarity, helping you break down difficult situations, making them much easier to deal with. Other things you can try include meditation, yoga, cooking, long walks, running and swimming.

We ALL have mental health, but why is it that everybody focuses more heavily on physical than mental? The fact of the matter is: we all have ups and downs and statistically, 1 in 4 of us will experience some sort of mental health complication such as depression or anxiety. It is completely okay to speak up about these issues and it is important that you seek emotional and mental health support from your GP, a therapist or counsellor. We have more advice on issues you may be facing available here.

9. Seek role models

When you’re going through your teen years, sometimes it can all seem like a bit of a black hole. It’s made even worse if you’re struggling with your identity or being bullied.

This is why it is important to seek out positive role models to show you that plenty of people have been where you are right now and have managed to overcome it. Read more stories and inspiring blogs here.

10. Lean on us

We are a leading global youth charity and we are here for you when you need us the most. If you need any help or guidance, join the community to chat anonymously with a digital mentor, or discuss what’s on your mind with others who’ve been there before!

tip-7

Are you dealing with cyberbullying?

If you are being cyberbullied, read our top 9 tips on overcoming cyberbullying for advice on what to do and how to deal with it.

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

We’ve all had friendships that have ended up a little pear-shaped and it’s unfortunate that most of the time, we all have to get burnt before we can spot a bad friend from a good one. We’ve pooled together our own experiences and come up with 15 of the most common signs that somebody isn’t your friend for the right reasons. If any of these apply to your friendships, we would encourage you to think twice about them and try to determine whether they are really a friend…

The 15 friendship signs

1. They only call when they want something

All friendships should be equal – which means that you should receive as much as you put in, it’s all based on reciprocation and mutuality. If you’re putting in more than you’re getting out, you should think twice about what they are asking from you.

2. The conversation is never equal

Do you find that you just spend your whole time focused on them when you’re hanging out? Yeah, that’s not cool – we all have problems and things we’d like to talk to somebody about.

3. They put you down or make fun of you in front of others

A definite no-no. Usually, people do this because they feel bad about themselves and want to use somebody else as a distraction. Draw a line through any friendships like this immediately.

4. You feel bad about yourself when you’ve spent time with them

Sometimes it’s difficult to analyse behaviour, but your emotions never lie. Friends should make you feel good, empowered and uplifted. If you leave them feeling like crap then you should probably re-evaluate the benefit you’re getting from the friendship. Some people, unfortunately, just like to bring others down.

5. They are aggressively competitive

It’s good to be a little competitive now and again, but like most things – you can have too much of a good thing. A friendship based on competitive behaviour is NEVER healthy or a true friendship.

6. They aren’t happy for you when good things happen

This is one of the most common tell-tale signs and it’s also based on competitive behaviour. A true friend will want to see you succeed and be happy.

7. They bring drama into your life

It’s usually the people who spend their time moaning about drama who are the ones causing it. You don’t need that negativity around you.

8. They bitch about you behind your back

An absolute no-no. Friendships need to be based on mutual respect and trust. Don’t put up with that crap.

9. Your relationship feels like it’s built on conditionality

This is likewise for all relationships in your life. You should feel like they are unconditional and not based on you being or acting in a certain way.

10. Your friends bail on you

Sometimes it happens and that’s fine, but if it’s consistent then it obviously shows that your friend is unreliable and much less invested in the friendship than you are. Maybe it’s your turn to bail on them, permanently.

11. They use your secrets against you and share them

This is malicious and absolutely nothing a true friend would ever do.

Are you looking to break up with a toxic friend? Here are our steps to breaking up with a toxic friend.

12. They are a bad influence and make you do things that get you into trouble

Nip this in the bud before you end up getting yourself into trouble. Friends don’t make friends do bad things… or text when drunk, but we’ll turn a blind eye to that one… for now.

13. They talk about their other friends behind their back

If they do this, the chances are, they do it to you too. It’s fine to have a moan occasionally, but anything malicious would probably indicate that they aren’t as genuine as they’d like you to believe.

14. They bail when you need them the most

So there are friends, who are, well… friends and there are friends who are still your friends at 3am on a Wednesday morning in the midst of your breakdown. The latter are your friends for life and it’s important to know that you can rely on a few select individuals to be by your side through thick and thin.

15. They exclude you from things with mutual friends

If it’s on purpose and happening often, despite you bringing it up then we suggest you create some distance. It is important to remember that sometimes it can happen accidentally so try and talk to them about it before jumping to conclusions.


It’s not me, it’s you: breaking up

Firstly, speak to somebody about it, make sure your response is rational. If it is, then deal with it, accept that it isn’t your fault and mentally move on.

Once you’ve done this, you have 1 of 2 options:

Let the friendship naturally fade out

Stop making arrangements, stop replying and distance yourself from them. Eventually, you’ll become increasingly distant until you’re officially no longer friends on Facebook.

Or…

Confront them

There are 2 schools of thought surrounding this: confrontation can be good if you’d like to hopefully try to resolve things, but on the opposite end, confrontation can be incredibly empowering if you’ve felt particularly suppressed or upset by somebody. Arguments can be healthy, provided that they don’t put anybody at risk and won’t make situations worse. We’d recommend a mediator to help keep an argument balanced.


Still Unsure? Talk to us…


More articles on friendship:

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.