Don’t get us wrong, the internet can be a beautiful place – but sometimes, some people aren’t always who they say they are. It could be someone you’ve met in an MMORPG, through Instagram comments or a ‘friend of a friend’ on Twitter, you just never know.

Calling Catfish – How to Spot a Fake…

We got our heads together to share our top tips for debunking a catfish. Various things motivate people who catfish. Mostly, it’s because they are desperately trying to hide who they actually are or they might have self-esteem and confidence issues.

So if it’s all sounding a little bit fishy, and you’re wondering ‘Am I being Catfished?”… you probably are! Here are some things we advise you look out to keep yourself safe:

  • Do a reverse image Google search. This is a quick and easy background check. Right-click their photos, copy the URL, and paste in the box at images.google.com. Google will then search for other sources of that image online. If nothing is found, try a few photos and see what crops up. Don’t forget that Instagram images aren’t indexed so Google won’t be able to search them. If you’re talking on an app like Tinder or Grindr, there’s an app you can download that does the same job called Veracity.
  • Google it. There’s a lot to be said for Googling names other than your own. See if you can find any credible information about them. If there’s nothing, that should raise alarm bells.
  • Language. We all make silly spelling mistakes (especially when autocorrect is involved), but if they’re making strange grammar and odd spelling mistakes continuously, (that would drive your primary school English teacher cray-zay) proceed with caution.
  • Money. Lending a fiver to your best mate for lunch is one thing, but if your new online ‘buddy’ is already asking you for money to get their car fixed so they can come and visit you, whilst promising to pay you back ‘later’. Let’s be honest, they won’t (you’re not a bank).
  • Check their check-ins. Everyone should have some sort of indication on their Facebook or Instagram profile that they have a life outside their computer. We’ve all checked in somewhere on Facebook with friends or family, be it that time you went to Barcelona, or just your local Pizza Express. If they’re lagging in the check in’s then be warned they probably spent all their time on the internet fishing around.
  • …and their posts. Everyone gets a post from someone every now and then, even if it’s from your great aunty sharing a funny meme. If no one has posted on their wall to wish them a happy birthday, tagged them in a photo on Instagram or shared anything with them, then this has got to be a cause for concern.
  • …and their photos. There’s nothing wrong with having photos of yourself on your profile (it is your profile after all), but if they don’t have any photos with their friends or family and it’s mostly photos of themselves at weird angles with bad lighting, then something’s up; are they even tagged in other friends’ photos? If not, something fishy’s going on…
  • … and their mates. Do you have any mutual friends? If so, can they vouch for them? If they only have a handful of random contacts with no mutual friends, it’s usually a telltale sign of a fish in our midst…
  • Get real. If it seems too good to be true – it probably is (sorry to be bursting the bubble). Watch out, if it’s all getting a bit too serious, too soon and they’re making obscure promises, get the hint. They aren’t going to fly you to the Caribbean and David Beckham most definitely doesn’t send random people friend requests. Sorry, move on.
  • Got the story straight? Make sure everything they’re telling you adds up (trust your gut instinct). Conflicting information is a sign their whole identity is built on lies, so it’s hard to always keep the story straight. Remember, fish only have three-second memories, it’s easy to let something slip by when you’ve constructed an entire web of lies…
  • Skype ‘em. If they don’t want to Skype, Facetime or even Snapchat, this is a big red flag. Catfishes are often very camera shy. It’s an easy excuse to spot because they are hiding their true identity, so beware.
  • Watch out for elaborate stories e.g., lies. Catfishes tell outrageous lies which are often a dead give-a-way. A Catfish may well claim to be a model, be in a job that makes them travel to extravagant locations or work in the music industry. This will create little niggling doubts in your mind, listen to them!

Ultimately, if you’re doubting it – you’re most likely right. But before you go join the FBI as a detective, none of the above methods are fool-proof. They can, however, give you a good indication as to how credible somebody is.

If you are going to meet up with someone online, we would strongly recommend that you do it in a public place like the shopping Mall. Always arrange to meet in the daytime and always tale somebody with you or at least have a mate nearby on standby. Most importantly, never go without telling an adult first.

What’s more, we’d also advise against sexting someone you’ve never met before. Trust us… we hear a lot of horror stories from people who have been talking to someone they thought they knew….

But wait… There’s more…


What to do if you’ve called Catfish?

So, you’ve called it. Nothing adds up and their photos are looking increasingly fishy…

  • Try talking to them: You could try and reason with them to encourage them to axe the pretence and to come out as themselves.
  • Axe it: We’d recommend blocking them from all of your social media and phone.
  • Report it: It’s actually a criminal offence to Catfish. It’s impersonation and fraudulent and people can get into a lot of trouble for it, especially if they have bad intentions. Report their profiles to social networks, even if it’s just to look out for somebody else. If it’s really serious, report it to the Police.
  • Tell an adult: If you’re scared of getting into trouble, it could be somebody who you don’t know – like a Ditch the Label mentor or somebody over at Childline. It’s important to document it. Join the Community to talk to someone.
  • Mutual mates?: If you know other people on the Catfish’s friends list. Tell them. They have a right to know too.

Sometimes it happens, but we learn from our mistakes and move on. If you need any further advice or have questions and need support, please do get in touch on the Ditch the Label Community – we’ve got your back.

Join the Community.

Ever been scrolling through IG and quickly found yourself 56 weeks deep in someone else’s Instagram, feeling like they have it all? Yeah, us too. It’s pretty normal to compare yourself to social media from time to time, and we all do it most of the time without even realising it. The thing is, if you let it happen too often, it can have a pretty negative impact on your mental health. That’s why we’ve put this list together of things you can do to stop it. 

Aren’t sure if you compare yourself all that much? Take our quiz to find out here! 

Know Yourself 

It might sound stupid, but knowing what you have a tendency to compare yourself to is the first step to trying to stop it. Is it other people getting more likes than you? Is it body image, or lifestyle? Knowing what makes you feel bad when you get on social media can be hard, so try to make a note on your phone every time you scroll through something that bums you out, and then take a look at it, and clear out your social media of these things. It might be a bit of a big cull, but if it makes you feel better it will be worth it.

Take a break every now and again 

Taking a little holiday from the ‘gram is not necessarily a bad thing. You might have seen social media personalities saying it’s for a multitude of reasons, but the fact is you don’t even need one. If you have pals or followers who might worry about you if you don’t post, put out a little PSA and say that you are putting the phone away for a few days or even a week. The best way to stick to it is to make a long list of stuff you’ve always wanted to get done, and work your way through it over the course of your break. Planning your holiday? Done. Selling stuff on Depop? Make that cash. Reading those books you bought years ago and never got round to? Be a professor for a while.

Or have set times to spend on social media 

It might seem obvious to say but comparing yourself to social media happens a lot more if you are on social media a lot. So give yourself a window or two a day to be online and check out what’s going on in the world, and after you’ve spent your set time on there, put your phone down and do something else. Again, we know it sounds obvious, but it’s something that really helps.

Be aware of what you are using it for

What are you using social media for? Is it to catch up with friends? Is it to document how adorable your dog is? Is it to follow brands and organisations that you love? Whatever it is, make your social media space functional. That way, you won’t be constantly comparing yourself to people you’ve never met for no reason other than the fact that you are bored and happen to follow them. 

And bring it back to being about your own journey 

Whatever you are posting, if you are posting it to make others think your life is going amazingly well when maybe it isn’t, that’s a sure fire way to compare yourself to others. Instead of posting photos of events that you didn’t enjoy, or things you don’t own, or adventures you haven’t had, make your feed about your real life. Put the bad stuff in, and make it real. The more of us who make social media an honest space, the less compare and despair we will all feel. 

Aren’t sure if you compare yourself all that much? Take our quiz to find out here! 

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. 

Do you need some inspiration for your New Year’s Resolution?

We’re bored of the old new year’s resolutions that tell us to lose weight and look perfect, so instead, we created a list of alternative (and realistic) New Year’s resolutions to make your 2020 as awesome as can be…

1. Make a bucket list

Start ticking off all the things you want to achieve this year and then make a separate list of all the awesome things you want to do before you’re 30.

2. Learn a creative skill

Woodwork, knitting, embroidery, cooking, painting, sketching, dancing, creative writing, brass rubbing, game developing, website building…. there really is a creative outlet to suit everybody, it’s just a case of finding it!

3. Say yes more

You don’t have to say Yes to everything, that could get you into some awkward situations, but just say yes more – you’ll be surprised at the cool things you’ll end up doing! Trust us on this one…

4. Make a new friend

This is a new (more realistic) take on an old classic. Some people find it hard to make new friends, so just focus one at a time for now! You got this…

5. Exist more in real-time (aka limit your social media usage)

60% of people admitted that they can’t go more than a day without social media. Think of all the everyday things you’re missing because you’re too busy scrolling through your news feed, don’t forget to look up from time to time – you’ll thank us later.

6. Read 50 books

Bit of a challenge this one admittedly, but it’s not unrealistic. Reading has endless benefits, it’s good for relaxation, vocabulary, imagination and its proven to make you smarter (true story).

7. Start a blog

Doesn’t really matter if no one reads it, think of it as a digital diary, only it’s published online for everyone to see. In all seriousness though, blogging is good for improving your writing skills, it looks great on your CV and is a really great way to get involved in different online communities.

8. Complete a 30-day challenge

The options are endless: Veganury, Movember, Stoptober (or make up your own…)

9. Meditate every day

Don’t worry if you’ve never meditated before, we can help you get started. It’s easier than you might think and trust us, you’ll feel so much better for it!

10. Face a fear

Hold a spider, do a bungee jump, swim in the sea – if you slowly build yourself up to facing it you’ll feel really proud of yourself once you’ve conquered it!

*Disclaimer* Some fear is good… if your fear is something like ‘being chased by a pack of hungry lions’… maybe it’s best to not face that one?!

11. Learn a new word every day

Not only will you genuinely expand your vocabulary by 365 words, but you can also ‘befog’ your friends in a group chat, see what we did there.

12. Write a gratitude list every week

What are you grateful for? It’s easy to get bogged down in the negative sometimes so it’s always good to appreciate the good things in your life! You’ll feel noticeably happier for doing it, that’s a guarantee.

13. Keep a bullet journal

It’s fun, creative and a great, alternative way to track your year without having to write endless paragraphs in a diary or blog. If writing isn’t your thing, give this a try!

14. Learn a badass magic trick

Not just your everyday card trick, but why not spend some time learning something that will actually leave your mates baffled. It’s a great icebreaker and you never know, you might be the next Houdini!

15. Volunteer

Lastly, this is a great one for a whole bunch of reasons: you get to support an organisation who could do with the extra help; you meet new and interesting people; its a great addition to a CV; its good for improving your self-confidence; you get to help people and make a difference; you get work experience; you’re making a good use of your spare time; you’ll feel good about yourself; you’ll learn new skills; you’ll probably get a cool t-shirt… (the benefits are endless).

Psssst, here’s the secret …

The secret to sticking to new year resolutions is this: Well… there isn’t one (sorry!) Just being yourself is enough.

You don’t have to reinvent yourself this New Year, just understand that everybody is a work in progress. Do what you love and love what you do!

What’s yours?

We want to hear what you’re planning for 2020, head over to the community to see what others have lined up this New Year…

What’s your New Year’s Resolution?

ditch the label, community, off-topic, forum

Social Media is meant to make us feel included. Having lots of Facebook friends, Instagram followers and Snapchat story views is there purely to make us feel popular and like we fit in, right? 

Follower counts, likes, comments. It’s all come to basically quantify our self-worth. You can look at another profile and see that someone’s photo has received more likes than yours, or when we wake up in the morning and we see we have 5 less followers than the day before and we can feel completely rejected.  


Do you ever scroll through your feed and feel insecure? Like your career isn’t where it should be, that your physical appearance doesn’t fit in with what’s popular, that you haven’t got the newest designer product? You’re not alone – because social media is a highlight reel.

A lot of people online will only show you the very best of their day, week, month or year – and none of the negatives. They are always on holiday, they have an endless stream of money to go for brunch and buy clothes, they have the perfect relationship and the perfect home. I mean for those of you that follow me, you guys know that I myself do have a lot of lunches and buy a lot of clothes – but believe me, I’m not rich I’m just young and irresponsible (lol). 

What does all of that apparently add up to? Nothing specific but, according to our self-esteem, it adds up to more than what we have.  We feel like we’re inadequate, completely left out and like our life is missing something; all based on the fabricated reality put forward by someone we may not even know. 

So, what’s the solution? Do we simply let Instagram hide likes and think that’s the end of it? Do we fall into that Social Media trap and do whatever we can to compete with the very people that make us insecure? Do we just give up and delete the app altogether?

No.

Here’s what we do:

1) Unfollow ANYONE that doesn’t lift you up

Anyone that we compare ourselves too or that make us feel insecure (and yes that includes me), we remove from the equation completely.

2) Become aware of your social media consumption 

We are responsible for our own behaviours and we alone can change them. Notice when someone is making you feel insecure or inadequate and take yourself away from that profile. Practice gratitude for what you have, rather than envy for what you don’t have.

3) Live your normal life 

If you start to feel lonely or not included whilst on social media, go and spend time with people in the real world! You weren’t invited to that part? Drop someone a text and just out for coffee. Go out for lunch with a family member. Give your dog a hug (and if you don’t have a dog, hug someone else’s – of course, ask the owner’s permission).

Social Media isn’t all bad for us, we’re bad for it. We have not been educated on how to use it to our advantage, rather how to make us feel worse. It’s up to us to turn it into something positive.

Feeling lonely or isolated? You can talk to one of our trained Digital Mentors in confidence here.

Happy International Men’s Day! This is a pretty important day for everyone everywhere to talk openly about the issues that face young men today. It can get a pretty bad rep, but at Ditch the Label, we love guys and we love International Men’s Day! So we thought we would celebrate it by bringing you six of the best most inspirational wonderful men you can follow on Instagram! 

1) Max Hovey @max_hovey

Max is a pretty incredible guy, and we aren’t just saying that because he is an awesome ambassador for Ditch the Label. He has been working to raise awareness for mental health and anxiety in guys for ages now, as well as for LGBT+ rights. We love Max, and as soon as you hit Follow, you will too.  

Instagram


2) Bobby Norris @bobbycnorris

After dealing with trolling on his social media, Bobby took a stand against online hate, and now he campaigns tirelessly to end the trend of online trolling. He does this whilst still having a full filming schedule and is an all round incredible guy. Follow for so much love. 

Instagram


3) Loyle Carner @loylecarner 

Real name Ben Coyle-Larner, this awesome artist and songwriter has had the ride of his life in the past few years. Not long after being nominated for the Mercury Music Prize in 2017, he dropped his album Not Waving, But Drowning. Not only is he a mind-blowing musician, but he also campaigns for mental health awareness in guys. You can read more about him from our Good Fellas series here.

Instagram


4) Stevie Blaine @bopo.boy

Stevie is one of our all time fave body positive instagrammers, not only because he has done a whole bunch of stuff for us. He has been blowing up the body positive space for ages now, and regularly posts awesome content that will give you all the heart feels. 

Instagram


5) Jake Graf @Jake_graf5

Jake is an awesome transgender rights campaigner, and has been fighting tirelessly for the protection of trans rights, the reducation of transphobic hate crimes and abuse and basically just been absolutely killing it. 

Instagram


6) Gaten Matarazzo @gatenm123

Gaten will need no intro to sci-fi fans all over the world as he is a household name from his time spent as the loveable teenager Dustin in Stranger Things. But Gaten does a load of work for charity too (including us, no biggie), and raises awareness for a whole bunch of good causes. We would make a joke about the Upside Down, but we can’t think of any. 

Instagram


In search of daily motivation, inspirational quotes or just some joy in your Instagram feed? Give us a follow @ditchthelabel

what is online hatespeech

If you’ve got something to say…

Every single person who uses the internet is vulnerable to cyberbullying, trolling and online abuse. Whether you are an Instagram extraordinaire, a fan of Twitter or a Snapchat pro – it could happen to anyone at any time and celebrities are far from immune. In fact, it seems as though the more followers you have, the more likely you are to be trolled.

Where social media, on the one hand, gives us the opportunity to voice our opinions on anything from politics to pan-frying a sea bass, it also gives people with a nasty agenda a chance to voice hateful thoughts and ideologies. It goes without saying that in providing a wonderful platform for people to publicly spread cat videos and hilarious memes, (👍🏽) also comes the opportunity to spread hate speech (👎🏽). This can be incredibly dangerous, hurtful and distressing for those on the receiving end and anyone else who’s viewing it.

So, What is Hate Speech?

Hate speech is when somebody says, writes or shares something which attacks a person or group of people on the basis of their race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, or gender. Much like hate crime, it specifically targets people who are of a certain group.

For example, if you’re being directly messaged by someone who is saying nasty things about your appearance or hobbies but not specifically about your race/religion/sexuality or ability – that’s not considered hate speech, it comes under the umbrella of bullying or online abuse.

Unfortunately, in today’s political climate, hate speech is not uncommon. all too often we’re seeing people spouting some rather questionable views very publicly online or purposely targetting individuals who don’t conform to specific expectations or views.

Nobody deserves to be targeted in this way – the internet is a space for everyone and nobody or group of people should feel marginalised, intimidated or isolated. If you’re being targetted with hate speech, always remember that it is never a problem with you, the problem always lies with the perpetrator.

What does the Law say?

Well, it’s a bit of a grey area, different countries and regions have different stances on the illegality of hate speech. In the UK for example, it’s an offence to incite hatred based on a person’s race, religion, sexuality or disability. It is not, however, an offence to stir up hate about a person’s gender or identity (something which really needs to be addressed because unfortunately, hate speech towards women and misogynistic language used online is prolific and increasingly violent.)

Where does it happen?

Hate speech takes place both on and offline – it’s easy to get away with saying something hateful to a person’s face because unless that person reports it – who’s gonna know, right? (that doesn’t make it OK, btw). Hate speech online, however, is far more public so naturally, you’d think it could be policed better than it currently is.

New technologies emerge all the time that attempt to quell the tide of horrible words that come flooding in online. Many networks have a reporting system and some are even monitored, but it’s simply not enough to keep up the ever-changing nature of language and online behaviour.

Example: You might be familiar with Pepe The Frog. A seemingly benign meme which was co-opted by hate groups and other individuals in 2016. Pepe the Frog soon came to be seen as a symbol of racism and anti-semitism across various online spaces.

There has also been a murmur of suspicion to suggest some hate groups use specific emojis to symbolise their ideologies online making it notoriously diffuclt to police. In any case, communications which target specific individuals or groups in people in hateful ways, come under the umbrella of hate crime – Hate crime is illegal.

What about Celebrities?

There have, of course, been several high profile cases of online hate speech – Michelle Obama springs to mind. The former American First Lady received endless online abuse throughout her husband’s presidency; some of it personal, some of it targeting her race, her religion and her nationality. It was ruthless but one thing’s for sure, the people trolling her would probably never have said it to her face.

Celebrities and those with large social followings are often in the firing line for hate speech and some have spoken out about it. Others say that it comes with the territory of being very active on social media.

Whatever your view, no one deserves to be on the receiving end of hate speech, online abuse or trolling of any kind – if you see it, report it. If you’re experiencing online abuse, read this for more information on what to do.

Don’t be a Bystander…

Is it ok to troll a ‘troll’?

The answer is no. If you see someone sharing hate speech online, don’t engage – by opening up a discussion with them you give them a platform to incite more hatred. By trolling them back you’re reciprocating their behaviour. The best way to deal with someone who is being nasty online is to disengage and report. Again, if that person is sharing hate speech, report it. Here’s some more info on reporting online abuse or hate speech. If you see something, report it.

Click on the images below to find out specific information on reporting online abuse and hate speech on social networks:

Want to talk it through first?

If you’re being targeted, talk to a Ditch the Label digital mentor for more specific advice and help on what to do next.

Join the community today, we’re here for you.

Stress is a feeling that we have all experienced to some extent or another, and it can sometimes be tempting to try and ignore it, or hope that it goes away.

Our lives are full of stress, even if we don’t realise it. Every day we experience micro doses of stress which can build up and make us feel overwhelmed and unhappy. These can be anything from missing a bus, to sleeping through your alarm. They are small, but they can seriously stress you out when you get a lot of them. Each micro dose of stress releases a hormone called Cortisol.

Can you spot all of the small microdoses of stress which Jay experiences in a normal morning?

Case Study – Jay

Jay’s alarm goes off, shocking him out of a peaceful dream. He snoozes it three times, and each time he is jolted awake again by the alarm. He checks his phone and scrolls through Instagram, noticing that one of his friends has posted some worrying statistics about climate change. Jay reposts the statistics, but gets no immediate likes.

His dad shouts up the stairs telling him he’s going to be late for school.

Jay searches around for his uniform in his messy bedroom, flinging through the piles of clothes on his floor, but he can’t find his tie anywhere. He knows if he turns up without it he will be in trouble with Ms Earl again.

There is traffic on the way to school, and Jay’s dad is shouting at the other drivers, telling them to hurry up and get out of the way.

When he finally arrives, Ms Earl immediately spots that Jay doesn’t have a tie, and gives him a detention for being late and for not having a tie.

In his science lesson, Mr Okoro asks Jay to read a paragraph out loud from the textbook, but Jay doesn’t know how to pronounce some of the words. He trips over the words, and his classmates laugh. Jay swears at them, and Mr Okoro immediately tells him off and gives him another detention. He keeps Jay behind after the lesson to explain that his behaviour was unacceptable, making Jay late for lunch.

By the time Jay gets to the canteen, there is a massive queue, and he has to wait in line behind a group of Year 7s, who are pushing each other and laughing. One bumps into Jay and laughs. Eventually, Jay gets to the front of the queue, only to find that they’ve sold out of pizza.

How many did you find?

Dealing with stress can feel overwhelming and usually requires an active response. For more information on how to deal with stress and micro stressors in your daily life, read this.

The internet is pretty sweet right? We can all agree on that. But for people who are dealing with online hate, it can be a really rubbish place to spend time. The comments section on most articles, photos and celebrity IG’s is pretty much a minefield of tough to read insults or outright lies, and when that is directed at you, it can feel overwhelming and pretty damn lonely. The most important thing to remember if you are going through online abuse is that you are not alone. We’ve got your back and that’s why we have joined up with Simple and Little Mix to bring you a toolkit of how to deal with online hate.

1) Breathe 

Getting angry after receiving some nasty comments is pretty unsurprising, especially when a lot of them are written just to upset you. Using breathing techniques will help get your emotions under control and give you a minute to think about what you want to do next. Try following the GIF below – breathe in as the circle expands and breathe out as it gets smaller, and repeat. It might not have you feeling completely chill, but it should help to take the edge off and clear your mind a little. 


2) Think 

Being a keyboard warrior can be a good thing when it comes to saving the planet, or fighting injustice, but not so much when it comes to dealing with online hate. It’s natural to want to jump on your phone and start tapping away a reply that is both hilarious and devastating, but you might find yourself quickly stuck in a feud that even a drama channel would probably stay out of. So, instead of insulting them back, think about what you really want to happen as a result of this – the chances are, a long drawn out argument in your DM’s is probably not the one. 

3) Report it 

Everyone should have a pretty basic understanding of when and where to report stuff online and on different platforms. You can find a super quick guide to where you can do it on the big 3 (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) in our Ultimate Guide to Cyberbullying here. If it’s in a game you can find more information here. You can also report it to us here if you have already tried reporting to social media sites with no luck and we will get it taken down for you. Basically, we’ve done all the work for you so you can just get it sorted! You can thank us later. 

4) Take a Break

If it’s on social media, take a break from it. We know it’s often easier said than done, when friends are organising their boss weekend plans in IG DM’s, but it will be pretty crucial to you feeling better. It can feel really overwhelming when you are dealing with online hate, but taking a break from where it is happening will help you realise that your world is much bigger than your inbox. 

Try leaving your phone at home when you hang out with your pals or put it somewhere safe and out of sight when you are chilling with the family, an turn off your social media notifications. Trust us, a little bit of distance from it will make the world of difference. If you have a big following who expect to see some new snaps uploaded every day, try using a scheduling service so you can still take your much-needed break without your audience getting rowdy for their avo toast pic.

4) Take Care of You 

Dealing with online hate can be really stressful. Try some stress management techniques to make sure you are looking after yourself through it all. This epic list of 101 Ways to Chill Out and Reduce Stress will give you some super speedy suggestions for getting on top of it, and you can also read our Ultimate Guide to Stress to understand a bit more about it. 

A bit of self-care goes a long way when you are dealing with online hate. Make sure you take a bit of time for yourself to do something you love or that you find relaxing that doesn’t involve being glued to your phone. Why not try taking a long walk, practicing a new makeup look or hairstyle, invite a friend out for a kick about or watch your fave movie complete with a gigantic bowl of popcorn. Doing what you love will help you focus on yourself rather than the situation and remind you that you are so much more than the hate you’re getting. 

6) Talk to Someone 

Getting online abuse can make you really angry but it can also make you feel pretty lonely. The important thing to remember is that you are not alone in this, and we’re certainly here if you wanna get it off your chest. Click here to join our community and get advice from real people like you and our trained mentors. 

Otherwise, talking to a trusted friend, parent, teacher, or colleague will help you have an outlet for what is going on and ensures you will have someone to support you through it.

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

Being kind. Whilst it’s something we should try and do more of, it can be pretty difficult at times. Sometimes it can be really scary to show kindness to strangers or people in our lives, and other times it’s something we just forget to do.

Nevertheless, we think the world could always do with a little bit more of it. That’s why we’ve teamed up with Simple who have also partnered with the amazing Little Mix – to launch a mission to bring more kindness to the world, and to challenge you guys to spread a little bit of joy in your lives. 

This awesome list of challenges below are all things you can do to help us kickstart mission #ChooseKindness, and make being kind to others less scary and more a part of your daily life. Whether you choose to do one or two or challenge yourself to tackle the whole list, spread a little joy in your life with this list, and let us know on Instagram what you’ve been up to. Soon, you’ll be spreading love and good vibes everywhere without even thinking about it. 

1) Send out some positive internet vibes 

Leave a good review on Trip Advisor, send them some love on Twitter, review a product to help another shopper, buy something where the funds go to a good cause, make a cute Insta story about your friends. Whatever it is and however you do it, send out some positive vibes. 

2) Head to this IG post and leave a compliment for the person above you

Head over to our IG @ditchthelabel and leave a compliment for someone above you in the comments section on our post about #ChooseKindness – we are one big circle of love on the Ditch the Label IG right now.

3) Give a stranger a compliment 

Whether it’s on social media or on the bus, giving someone else a compliment is bound to make their day. Try a place where you might be waiting around some strangers – compliment someone’s bag at the bus stop, or comment on their hair in the queue at the coffee shop. Giving little compliments like this will not only build confidence in talking to other people, but it will make you better at receiving compliments as well as giving them. 

4) Check in with someone you haven’t spoken to in a while 

Even if it’s been what feels like too long, the chances are they would love that you thought about them and are curious about their life now. Drop them a message – it could be the beginning of a new chapter in your friendship. 

5) Talk to someone who is on their own at school or work, and invite them to sit with you 

Being on your own can be really lonely, and asking someone to sit with you could really make someone’s day – especially if they are having a tough time fitting in somewhere. Ask them about themselves and get to know them – you might actually find yourself a brand new friend.

6) Pay it forward

In a café, buy the person behind you in the queue a hot drink. For the cost of only a couple of pounds, this can get you some serious karma points with the universe. This kind of pay it forward deed might even inspire the person you bought coffee for to go ahead and spread a little love in their own way. 

7) Leave an uplifting note on someone’s car, bag or desk

This one might be a little scary, especially the fear of getting caught mid-good deed. But never fear – in a world of passive aggressive post-it notes going viral on the internet, being kind is much better. 

8) Do a litter pick just because, planet. 

We all know about the huge problem of plastic in our oceans. That’s why getting out and doing a litter pick is one the best deeds you can do. Picking up rubbish anywhere can help save wildlife, conserve habitats, stop it from blowing into waterways and make your town look nicer. For the sake of an hour of time, you have done so much good for the planet.

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9) Set up a book exchange outside your house

Got a bunch of books laying around the house that you don’t want or need? Set up a book exchange outside your house by putting them all in a box and suggest everyone swaps a book they don’t want for one they do. That way, anyone in your town can swing by and pick up a new read. This could be great if you have textbooks that need getting rid of after exams – it could really help out a cash strapped student near you. 

10) Help out an older neighbour  

Older people can often spend a fair bit of time on their own, and can sometimes spend days without speaking to anyone. If you have an elderly neighbour (who you know), offer to give them a helping hand do some chores for free. Chances are you’ll get a few biscuits for your hard work and they get the bonus of your company and some jobs doing that they probably can’t do anymore. Think grass mowing, dog walking, food shopping, or even just a cuppa and a chat.

11) Fundraise for a charity 

Whatever your cause of choice is, it’s always a great way to spread some good karma throughout the universe. You can raise awareness and a small donation through all kinds of things, like a sponsored silence, a bake sale, entering an organised event like a run, or holding another event like a gig night or a fashion show.  

12) Cook dinner for someone as a surprise 

Whether it’s a member of your family, your boyfriend/girlfriend or your bestie, everyone loves a bit of surprise food. Even if your idea of gourmet cooking is a sandwich or a microwave pizza, it’s the thought that counts. 

13) Tell someone you love them

No matter who they are to you, everyone that you love deserves to know it from time to time. Is there a better way to choose kindness than to spread the love? 

14) Write a letter to a loved one  

Everyone loves getting post. Taking the time to sit down and write something kind in a letter to a loved one or friend will show them how much you care, especially as it is more effort than firing off a quick message. It’s a great way to show them how much you love them. 

15) Be an ally 

Whether it’s to support someone you see being bullied or standing up against homophobic racist or sexist online chat, being an ally to someone or a group in need of support is a great way to spread the love. You can find out a bit more info on being an LGBT+ ally in our article here.

16) Donate a bunch of stuff to charity

We’ve made the last one an easy one – gather together all your old junk and clothes you haven’t worn for years and take it to a local charity shop. You get a spring clean AND good karma – WINNING! 

Here at Ditch the Label, we believe kindness should be a part of everything. Once you’ve completed your own #ChooseKindness challenge, don’t forget to tell us about it on our Instagram @ditchthelabel

You can also find out more about the #ChooseKindness campaign here