So you think you might be bisexual? Or maybe you are just here for fun. Either way, questioning your sexuality is a completely normal thing to do and a lot of us do it. In fact, our research shows that over 50% of us don’t identify as fully heterosexual. And our research shows that most of us don’t identify as being 100% hetrosexual. How cool is that?!

A quiz can only do a bit of the work, and the truth is your sexuality is something that will evolve and it’s normal to explore and question your sexuality. Right now, you don’t need to rush through any firm decisions. When you know, you will know.

This quiz is just for fun, and remember no internet quiz is going to be able to tell you who you are. Your sexuality is unique to you, and is a spectrum that everyone sits on.

Am I Bisexual Quiz


Thanks for taking the quiz!

If you feel like you want to talk to someone about your result, or if you feel like the quiz got it wrong, reach out to the Ditch the Label Community here.

There are trained Mentors that can offer you advice and support about this and loads of other stuff. You can also connect with other people going through similar things.

How do you know if you’re bisexual?

You’ve taken the quiz and want to learn more about bisexuality?

Bisexuality is a sexual orientation where somebody is attracted to more than one gender. Some identify as bisexual, while others use pansexual, queer, fluid, or no label at all to describe it.

This identity is so powerful. You’re ready to be open and honest about something you value. It’s ok to start off slow – you may not be ready to tell the whole world! We’ve written 13 different tips for coming out as bisexual to help you decide who, when, and how you might tell someone.

We have lots of other guides and advice below. Check out these below for some more info on bisexuality:

Woman on phone in field

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 shit, and can make it feel impossible to live your life. We have put together this Ultimate Guide – so you can understand everything you need to know about cyberbullying and where you can get help if you need it. 

What Is Cyberbullying?

In our research, we found that 7 in 10 young people experience cyberbullying in some form before they hit the age of 18. This is obviously a huge number of you. So first, let’s take a look at what cyberbullying actually is. 

We define cyberbullying as the following: 

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

Anybody can suffer the effects of cyberbullying, regardless of age, gender, income or occupation. For example, the kind of harassment experienced by many celebrities and public figures on social media every day counts as cyberbullying, as well as nasty messages that work their way into your Whatsapp or the mean photos that no one will take down from Instagram. It all counts.  

If you have lived through or are living through cyberbullying, you know how crap it can make your life. That’s why the most important thing is to know how to deal with it effectively and what the law says about it. 


What Does The Law Say?

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.

Get the Facts

Want to know more? Have a read through our past research papers to get an idea of the stats around bullying, cyberbullying and other related issues from the last 5 years…


Social Media etc.

What Does it Look Like?

Cyberbullying on social media come in all shapes and sizes. Some examples include sending or posting threatening or abusive messages both publicly and in direct messages, hate speech and discrimination and offensive photo or video content. 

Reporting It

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 chat box 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.

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.

INSTAGRAM

Reporting Content or a User

  • Click on the options arrow either on a post or the users profile and click report.

Online gaming 

What does it look like?

Our research found that 50% of you have experienced cyberbullying at least once when gaming online with other people. But, it is not always clear how to report it, or if there is even anything you can do about it. 

Bullying in an online game can include harassing someone or repeatedly targeting them, sending threatening or abusive messages in chat, or even having an offensive player name.

Reporting in an online game 

Every game and every publisher will have its own reporting method and this will vary. Usually, you can find the reporting method with a quick Google search, on the website of the game or publisher and in online forums. You can find out guide to bullying in Fortnite here


Report It To Us

Did you know you can report cyberbullying to us and we’ll get it sorted?


Get Help

Cyberbullying can be really tough to deal with. If you feel at any time you need support or advice on cyberbullying, or anything else that might be bothering you, reach out to the Ditch the Label Community here.

Why do People Bully?

According to our latest research, 1 in 2 people have experienced bullying in some form in the last 12-months. And trust us when we say, we know how difficult it can be to go through it, especially if you don’t fully understand the psychology of bullying. In this article, we will be exploring the reasons why people bully, using the latest research and psychology to give you a greater understanding of the motives of those who are either bullying you right now or who have done so in the past.

You may have assumed that you get bullied for whatever makes you different or unique, for example: your race, religion, culture, sexual or gender identity, line of work, fashion sense or weight. By the end of this article, you will know that this is not the case at all.

Let’s talk about it – join the community today to start a conversation about bullying and speak to our amazing digital mentors who can help you without judgement.

The Psychology of Being Bullied

We will explore the reasons why later on in this article, but most frequently, those who bully others are looking to gain a feeling of power, purpose and control over you. The easiest way of doing this is to focus on something that is unique about you – either preying on or creating a new insecurity with an intent to hurt you either physically or emotionally. What happens is, we, as the people experiencing bullying, start to internalise it and we become self-critical. We want to understand the reasons why we are being targeted and we start to blame ourselves.

As a result, we try to change or mask that unique characteristic in order to avoid the bullying. We dye our hair, bleach our skin, date people we aren’t interested in and cover up our bodies like they are something to be ashamed of. It starts to affect our behaviour and the ways in which we see ourselves, which in turn, can go on to impact both our mental and physical health.

But the way we see bullying is all wrong. It isn’t because we are different in some way.

[full-width-figure image=”https://www.ditchthelabel.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/bullying-v5.jpg” alt=”why do people bully?”]

The Real Reasons Why People Bully Others

In a recent Ditch the Label study, we spoke to 8,850 people about bullying. We asked respondents to define bullying and then later asked if, based on their own definition, they had ever bullied anybody. 14% of our overall sample, so that’s 1,239 people, said yes. What we then did was something that had never been done on this scale before; we asked them intimate questions about their lives, exploring things like stress and trauma, home lives, relationships and how they feel about themselves.

In fact, we asked all 8,850 respondents the same questions and then compared the answers from those who had never bullied, those who had bullied at least once and those who bully others daily. This then gave us very strong and factual data to identify the real reasons why people bully others. It also scientifically proves that the reason people get bullied is never, contrary to popular belief, because of the unique characteristics of the person experiencing the bullying. So, why do people bully?

Stress and Trauma:

Our data shows that those who bully are far more likely than average to have experienced a stressful or traumatic situation in the past 5 years. Examples include their parents/guardians splitting up, the death of a relative or the gaining of a little brother or sister. It makes sense because we all respond to stress in very different ways. Some of us use positive behaviours, such as meditation, exercise and talking therapy – all designed to relieve the stress. Others use negative behaviours such as bullying, violence and alcohol abuse, which temporarily mask the issues but usually make them worse in the long-term. The research shows that some people simply do not know how to positively respond to stress and so default to bullying others as a coping mechanism.

Aggressive Behaviours:

66% of the people who had admitted to bullying somebody else were male. Take a minute to think about how guys are raised in our culture and compare that to the ways in which girls are raised. The moment a guy starts to show any sign of emotion, he’s told to man up and to stop being a girl. For girls, it’s encouraged that they speak up about issues that affect them. For guys, it’s discouraged and so they start to respond with aggressive behaviours, such as bullying, as a way of coping with issues that affect them. This is why guys are more likely than girls to physically attack somebody or to commit crimes. It isn’t something they are born with, it’s a learned behaviour that is actively taught by society using dysfunctional gender norms and roles.

Low Self-Esteem:

In order to mask how they actually feel about themselves, some people who bully focus attention on someone else. They try to avoid any negative attention directed at them by deflecting. But know they might look in the mirror at home and hate the way they look. There is so much pressure to live up to beauty and fitness standards that we are taught to compare ourselves to others, instead of embracing our own beauty.

They’ve Been Bullied:

Our research shows that those who have experienced bullying are twice as likely to go on and bully others. Maybe they were bullied as kids in the past, or maybe they are being bullied now. Often it’s used as a defence mechanism and people tend to believe that by bullying others, they will become immune to being bullied themselves. In fact, it just becomes a vicious cycle of negative behaviours.

Difficult Home Life:

1 in 3 of those who bully people daily told us that they feel like their parents/guardians don’t have enough time to spend with them. They are more likely to come from larger families and are more likely to live with people other than their biological parents. There are often feelings of rejection from the very people who should love them unconditionally. They are also much more likely to come from violent households with lots of arguments and hostility.

Low Access to Education:

Without access to education, hate-based conversation directed at others may be the norm. They may not understand what hate speech is and why speaking about people in a derogatory way is not appropriate.

Relationships:

Finally, those who bully are more likely to feel like their friendships and family relationships aren’t very secure. In order to keep friendships, they might be pressured by their peers to behave in a certain way. They are more likely to feel like those who are closest to them make them do things that they don’t feel comfortable doing and aren’t very supportive or loving.

So there you have it, some of the most common reasons why people bully others. If you are being bullied, it’s time to put the knowledge to the test. Carry on reading with our article on overcoming bullying. If you are doing the bullying, here are 7 things that you can do to overcome it.

Our community is a safe space to discuss your issues and get support from trained digital mentors who will help you without judgement.

What Are The Reasons and How Should You React?

Coming out is an incredibly scary idea for many, but it is even scarier when you have to tell your parents. The fear of impending doom that you might be rejected by your parents is crippling and leads to many people not coming out for years. Sadly, when some people come out, their parents do not react well. There are many reasons for this, and this guide will help you to understand why they may have responded this way.

REASONS FOR A BAD REACTION

THEY MAY HAVE OPINIONS WHICH AREN’T NECESSARILY WHAT THEY THINK

Depending on our upbringing, we learn certain points of views and opinions from our parents, wider family and community, religion, and friends. As this could be all we know when growing up, we may not be exposed to, or develop an opinion that is different to this. Also, these opinions may not represent what we actually think, but what we have learned from our role models.

Before I came out, my father said, “I don’t agree with gay people”. Therefore, I delayed coming out to him for years because of crippling fears that stemmed from this one comment. However, it is now clear to me that this opinion was due to his strict upbringing, and the reality is that he is very accepting. So, if your parents react badly, consider that their reaction may be based on opinions which aren’t what they actually think; it may just be how they were raised.

THEY MAY FEEL LIKE THEY HAVE LOST THEIR CHILD

As being heterosexual is often assumed, a parent may consider this to be a core aspect of their child’s identity. So, when they find out that their child isn’t straight as they had assumed, this can lead to a crisis; an initial ‘rejection’ from them and may be why the parent(s) could say something like “You are not my child anymore”.

To the person that comes out, this is absolutely the last thing they want to hear. Coming out is such a vulnerable moment, and all you want is to feel secure and supported when you’re doing something that scary.

THEY WERE NOT EXPECTING IT

Some parents may already have an idea that their child is not heterosexual; for example, they may have found messages on your phone to a boyfriend / girlfriend before you came out to them. Therefore, this gives them time to process the information which can make for a smoother coming out experience. However, some parents may have no idea that their child is not straight, and therefore, this does not give them the time they may need to process the information.

As a result, this could lead to the parents reacting badly due to shock. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they do not agree with you not being heterosexual, but that they were simply not expecting it. This could, in turn, lead to them saying things they do not mean in the moment.

TOP TIPS FOR A BAD REACTION

BE PATIENT

It is of course entirely normal to want a positive reaction to your coming out immediately – you absolutely deserve to be accepted for who you are, but sadly this does not always happen. There are many reasons why you might not get the reaction you wanted, as described above.

It is important to give them time to process the information and come to terms with it. It is best to leave your parents to it when this happens – it’s likely that they need some time to themselves.

HAVE AN OPEN DISCUSSION

Keep this as calm and mature as possible. Your parents may have questions about your sexuality, and they could be asking them because they are worried about you and they have little or no knowledge about different sexualities. It is important to answer all questions honestly (as long as they are respectful and relevant and you feel comfortable answering). It is also important to ask why they had a bad reaction to your sexuality and to state the reasons why. This could help them to clear their mind and rationalise their thoughts.

TALK ABOUT YOUR FEELINGS TO SOMEONE YOU TRUST

As your parents may be taking time to deal with their emotions over you coming out, they may be emotionally unavailable and caught up in their reaction while you naturally may want to talk about your feelings. It is really important for you to access support, but it may be better to do this with someone else other than your parents. This can help to give them the space they need to deal with their emotions which could result in them reacting positively sooner.

It is worth noting that parents often feel guilt and regret for a very long time for reacting the way they did and may want to discuss this with you at a later date.

You can speak to someone at organisations such as LGBT+ Switchboard or to us here at Ditch the Label on our Community.

DON’T TAKE IT PERSONALLY

In an ideal world, parents (and indeed, everyone) would react positively and want to celebrate you sharing this with them.

If that doesn’t happen then remember that any negative reaction from parents to their child coming out has a lot more to do with them than you. In other words, their reaction is not your fault or responsibility, and you should not feel ashamed. You are being exactly who you were always meant to be.

The article was written by a Ditch the Label support mentor.

This year, over 9,000 students aged 12-20 completed the 2018 edition of ‘The Annual Bullying Survey’. We surveyed over 14,000 young people and measured their experiences of bullying, whilst also uncovering what it’s really like to grow up in a digital world. The groundbreaking report unveils new statistics about the climate of bullying within the United Kingdom and provides an intimate portrayal of the impact social media and online identity is having on young people. If you are yet to read the report, click below to download it:

Annual Bullying Survey 2018

We have again decided to make our recommendations for parents/guardians, educators, policy makers and stakeholders completely digital. This allows us to link to, and include the latest resources and insights to bring us even closer to combatting bullying once and for all.

Appearance, Body Weight, Size or Shape Based Bullying

Appearance and weight-related bullying has impacted over half of young people and this can be damaging to their self-esteem, often with long-term impacts upon confidence and self-perception. As this is often a symptom of low self-esteem from the perpetrator, we recommend positive body confidence training for all students.

Body positive messages should be promoted widely throughout schools and colleges. Workshops with guest speakers to promote positive body image, campaigns featuring different, healthy body shapes and sizes and PSHE lessons on health issues such as anorexia and extreme dieting are some examples of positive measures you can take.

Interests and Hobbies Based Bullying

Interests & hobby derived bullying was the second greatest reason given for bullying; affecting over a third of students. It is important to provide the opportunity for a wide range of extracurricular activities and enrichment programmes that represent the interests of all of your students. Embracing events such as Black History Month, culture weeks, special days, LGB&T pride, talent shows, and school or media projects can be a great way to bring different demographics together and celebrate diversity.

Gender Stereotype Based Bullying

Bullying for not conforming to gender stereotypes affects a significant number of bullied students and continues to limit young people’s future ambitions and careers which in turn impacts upon equality and prejudice within wider society. Educating and engaging with young people about preconceived gender role ideas and stereotypes can help in ensuring they understand the limitations this puts on both genders; encourage debate which challenges preconceived gender roles. Males are more likely to bully than females because of the harmful gender norms attached to masculinity, so both males and females should be encouraged to take part in a range of activities, courses and positions of authority within schools and colleges.

Highlight societal role models who have actively gone against gender norms, especially within the career pathways they have chosen and ensure images displayed around school or college promote gender equality in a positive and authentic way.

Do not segregate genders within lessons or extracurricular activities; especially within sports, science, performing arts, PSHE, computing and business. Actively and widely promote the importance of individuality and allow students to self-identify. Gender-neutral facilities are, in addition, a positive way of removing gender barriers.

Bullying of Minority Groups

A large proportion of bullying is often prejudice based and due to attitudes towards a disability, race, culture, gender identity or sexual orientation. It is important to ensure that all minority groups are fully and positively represented, visible and that appropriate support services are made available and endorsed throughout educational establishments.

Dealing with those who bully

It is vital not to overlook the fact that many students who bully others do so as a coping mechanism for their own trauma and stressful situations that are not being addressed. It may be that the student has experienced a significant bereavement or there could be abuse in their home life. Try to compassionately understand a student who is bullying in order to find the source of the problem as we know that they are often experiencing adverse mental health issues. Responding with negativity and punishment may not be a strategy that meets the complex needs of all students; instead, take the opportunity to begin conversations that will help them find more positive ways to cope. It is progressive to avoid the villainisation of those who bully and we strongly advise studying the insights contained within our research reports (in particular The Annual Bullying Survey 2016) in order to proactively help all young people.

Further reading:
– Annual Bullying Survey 2018
– Why Do People Bully?

Cyberbullying

Of those who reported bullying a significant number experienced bullying online. It is essential that schools and colleges take cyberbullying seriously and treat it on the same level as other bullying issues and recognise that the amplified impact of being subjected to bullying in both offline and online environments can be profound. Teachers should proactively monitor the potential signs of cyberbullying as they can be less obvious than verbal or physical bullying in the classroom.

Education is key in arming all students with the knowledge of how to stay safe online and how to report offensive content; PSHE lessons and workshops are effective spaces for this but we would strongly recommend teaching Media Information Literacy / Digital Citizenship so that students have the resources and resilience to cope if they are affected and feel able to reach out for support if they need it.

Please do get in touch or check the website for our resources which are updated to reflect the changing nature of social media and online trends. For further reading, visit the Cyberbullying Hub

Mediation and Restorative Justice Techniques

Although zero tolerance policies may be appropriate at times, we strongly suggest that schools and colleges utilise mediation and restorative justice techniques wherever possible. Mediation can be highly effective in rebuilding friendships where bullying has occurred as a result of a fall-out between friends or peer groups. It encourages understanding and creates empathy for the person being bullied and can prevent those involved from engaging in bullying behaviour again.

Other restorative justice techniques such as conflict resolution can be effective in enabling the person bullying to reflect on their behaviour and challenge their views and actions. It can further be a useful space for them to open up about any issues they may be facing.

Reporting to Teachers and Family

Teachers and families were equally the first and most turned-to source of support for students. With over half left feeling dissatisfied with the response from teachers this is an area that needs addressing. It is essential that faculty are regularly trained in bullying protocol and are approachable, proactive and fully aware of your anti-bullying procedures and how best to support students.

Furthermore, that all approaches are school-wide and include lunch staff and caretakers who may often see behaviours that can be missed in class settings. With a far higher satisfaction rate when reporting bullying to family, it is vital to keep an open dialogue of consultations between teachers and parents/guardians so parents feel able to express or raise any concerns and work together with schools and colleges to solve any issues. This collaborative approach should begin to reduce the numbers of students skipping school and being negatively affected by issues such as depression due to bullying.

Digital Support

Young people are increasingly turning to the internet for advice and support. At Ditch the Label, we provide the largest online support service for those who are either being bullied, have witnessed bullying or are bullying others. Support is confidential, innovative and empowering.
Please feel free to signpost your students to our website.

Help can be found here:
– ditchthelabel.org/get-help/
– ditchthelabel.org/community/

For Parents / Guardians

In addition to the recommendations below, we have new guides and support materials written specifically for parents and guardians which are freely available here.

First and foremost, we advise parents to build open and honest relationships with their children so that they already know they can talk to you about any issues that may be troubling them and create a home place culture that is inclusive and allows for freedom of expression. It is important they feel comfortable approaching parents for help as it can be daunting for young people to speak about their experience as they may be embarrassed, or even afraid of the potential repercussions of doing so.

Familiarise yourself with common warning signs that they may project if they are being bullied, these can often include a low mood, loss in appetite, a desire for isolation and sudden changes in behaviour; many of which that have been identified in this report. If a child is being bullied, families must familiarise themselves with the school’s anti-bullying procedures, contact the school and follow up with what action is being taken and further, ensure your child is fully involved in all actions and decisions when working with school so they feel heard, supported and are more able to learn tools and techniques in order to cope and thrive. We also strongly recommend that parents familiarise themselves with social media platforms such as social networking sites and apps that are popular with young people in order to advise them on how to report content or bullying.

Young people often tell us they do not think their parents will understand, or take cyberbullying seriously so it is crucial to be aware of the severe consequences of bullying. For more information please visit the dedicated Parents and Guardians area which can be accessed by clicking on ‘For Parents’ at the bottom of our website at DitchtheLabel.org. You will find full information on how to spot bullying, how best to help and detailed advice on reporting bullying.

Suggested reading for parents/carers:
– Signs your Teen is being Bullied
– When Teachers Don’t Act
– Top Ten Tips for Parents: How to talk to your son
– Sue Atkins on Talking to your Teen about Body Image

[full-width-figure image=”https://www.ditchthelabel.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/recommendations-for-teens.jpg” alt=”annual bullying survey”]

For Teens

It is important for anybody who is being, or has been bullied to firstly understand that it is not their fault. The person doing the bullying is likely going through a difficult time or is projecting their low self-esteem onto others. It is always important to be vocal about bullying by reporting it or by talking about it with a friend, family member or one of our mentors at Ditch the Label.

Certain types of bullying are considered to be hate crimes and can be reported to the Police, based on severity. We always advocate more holistic approaches to tackling bullying and we have advice and support materials available on our website for those who may want to consider speaking to the person bullying them, or to better understand the psychology of those who bully.

Sometimes, bullying can have extreme impacts on those who experience it; especially if it is over a prolonged period of time. In cases of self-harm or suicidal thoughts, it is important to speak to an adult or trained professional as soon as possible. We recommend the Samaritans (116 123) and Childline (0800 11 11).

Ditch the Label provide a confidential online advice and support service:
– ditchthelabel.org/get-help/
– ditchthelabel.org/community/

Further help and support is available to anyone who has been, or is, experiencing bullying, including those who witness bullying or are bullying others, via our website at DitchtheLabel.org – talk to us today.

A Parents Guide to Online Gaming

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

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

Keeping your child safe when gaming:

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

How do games make their money? Microtransactions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Poptropica

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

Wizard101

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

Fifa 18

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

FIFA

Rocket League

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

Pokemon

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

pokeball

Splatoon 2 (Nintendo Switch)

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

Single-player only games

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

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

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

What is Racism?

Racism can be defined as prejudice, discrimination or hostility. In other words, having a great hate or dislike directed towards a person, or group of people because of race, ethnicity or religion. This is based on the belief that the perpetrator’s race/ beliefs are more superior that the race/beliefs of the recipient.

Is stereotyping a form of racism?

Stereotyping is often based on assumptions. Making “stab in the dark” guesses about what an individual may be like has very little evidence or proof about a certain group that an individual may belong to. In today’s society it can be difficult not to stereotype. The brain works in a way where we are automatically ‘trained’ to associate an idea of someone with a perception we have stored in our mind from the past, or from images that we are exposed to in the media.
In most cases, racist comments stem from negative stereotypes.

Example:

A bearded guy is wearing a black trench jacket, huckleberry hat and skinny jeans. Some people may automatically assume he is Jewish; however, he could just as easily be a Christian who grew a beard because his partner found it attractive and he’s following the latest style trends from Men’s GQ.

Why are people racist?

We can’t define the exact reason why somebody decides to act in a racist manner. Racism like a lot of other prejudice-based hate is normally a learnt behaviour. None of us are born with the ability to read an email or sing a song, nor are we born with the ability to discriminate against someone because of where they were born or the colour of their skin. No one is inherently racist.

Racist people normally feel threatened or intimidated by a culture or race that is not familiar to them or they have limited understanding of. Unfortunately in society today, people tend to act negatively towards the unknown rather than taking the time to understand or embrace that difference.

What is racial discrimination?

Racial discrimination can be defined as two different categories: Direct and Indirect.

Indirect racial discrimination takes place when a person or organisation introduces a rule that discriminates against people from a certain racial minority. Normally the factors of this idea/rule are unclear and not justifiable.

Example:

A Hair Salon states in a job ad that they’re unable to employ people who wear religious head attire because they want their customers to be able to see their stylist’s hair. This is in-direct discrimination; this rule has no bearing on the capability of the candidate’s ability to style hair properly.

Direct racial discrimination takes place when a person purposely goes out of their way to exclude someone specifically because of their race. These actions are normally very direct, thoughtless and are intended to get an instant reaction.

Example:

An Afro-Caribbean Society restricts admission based purely on applicants’ skin colour. This is a form of direct discrimination. They haven’t taken into consideration the amount of people who may indeed be from BME that are also of Caucasian descent.

[full-width-figure image=”https://www.ditchthelabel.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/racism.jpg”]

What can you do to overcome racism?

  • Embrace and accept who you are. It may be unfortunate that some small-minded people may try to judge and discriminate against you because of your ethnic origins. Always feel comfortable and confident with who you are.
  • Do not let racist attitudes exclude you from society: Racists want people to be segregated so by you withdrawing yourself from that situation you are letting them win.
  • Racism is a learned behaviour. If you are being subjected to racism in school, college in the workplace or online, report it. People, such as teachers can speak to perpetrators to help change their behaviour and attitudes. If you feel the appropriate action is still not being taken, report it to the police.
  • By reporting racism you are not only helping yourself – but you are also helping someone else from experiencing this prejudice.
  • Be open to accepting people of all races; encourage your friends and family to do the same.

6 Things you didn’t know about racism:

  • People of the same ethnicity can practice racism. For example, if a white female made a negative comment to another white female because of the fact she was raised in a Romany Gypsy community, this is racism.
  • Saying “racism is better now than it was 30 years ago” is the equivalent of saying “cancer is better now than it was 30 years ago”. Yes, we’re better at understanding and tackling it, but cancer is still cancer.
  • A racist incident can be defined as “any incident which is perceived to be racist by the victim or any other person”
  • If you witness a racist incident that causes you offence, you have the legal right to report that incident to the police, even if you don’t know the victim or the perpetrator.
  • A racially or religiously aggravated offence can carry a maximum sentence of 14 years in the UK Criminal Justice System.
  • Skin colour really is only skin deep. Most traits are inherited independently from one another. The genes influencing skin colour have nothing to do with the genes influencing hair form, eye shape, blood type, musical talent, athletic ability or intelligence. Knowing someone’s skin colour doesn’t necessarily tell you anything else about him or her.

If you are being discriminated against or bullied because of your race, speak up! You are not alone, and together we can beat racism. Get help from Ditch the Label and start a conversation in community.

Exam season is right around the corner, which probably means that the notorious exam stress should be setting in right about… now? You just sat your mocks and didn’t do quite as well as you’d hoped? Or you got better than expected but still want to top it?

Well, here are some Do’s and Don’ts to help you stay cool, calm and educated…

Things to Do:

Plan.

Planning is key to good revision. When left to our own devices we sometimes struggle to find the motivation to get off Netflix and actually do some work –  (speaking from experience here!) So, just like you have at school or college, draw out a timetable of allocated time slots to spend on each subject and stick to it!

Take regular breaks… and naps! 😴

You deserve it…. Our brains don’t work well when we’re tired, and revising can be exhausting. Don’t trudge through it, make sure you take a break every hour for 10 minutes, have a snack or something but don’t get distracted, be disciplined! Power napping is proven to increase productivity, give it a try! Yeah that’s right, we just told you to nap more. Go on, do it.

Eat breakfast.

We don’t perform well when we’re hungry, so no matter how nervous you are, eat a balanced breakfast. Eggs are a good choice and anything with Omega 3 to get your brain juices flowing. Avoid sugary foods like chocolate, this will give you a sudden burst of energy but cause you to crash during the exam!

Eat Lunch. 😍

If your exam is in the afternoon, make sure you eat a decent balanced lunch before that too! Hunger does not mix well with exams, there’s nothing worse than a grumbling stomach in the middle of a silent exam hall!!

Get creative.

Make your own revision materials. Instead of just trying to memorise boring notes, try making flash cards or mind maps… you could even write a song. How come we can sing the entire T-Swift album word-for-word but can’t remember the presidents of the United States for a history exam? Get singing… trust us it works, your song will be so ridiculous you’ll never forget it 😉.

Organise your workspace.

Where you work is important, if you’re in a stressful environment, it is inevitable that the stress will rub off on you. Find somewhere light and calm where you can spread out and get organised.

Remember that everyone learns differently.

We all have a friend who has finished the assignment as soon as it’s assigned and wants everyone to know about it, but not everyone works like that. Some people wait until the last minute and cram like craycray and that’s okay too. We all learn and work in different ways, so find your way and own it.

Don’t:

Put yourself under too much pressure 😱😱😱

…Freak out, stay up all night before the exam last minute revising, turn up late and full of sugar and energy drinks and spend the entire three-hour maths paper needing a pee, wishing you’d taken the advice of “Mr Smith” a long time ago… sound familiar? If you have left it to the last minute, don’t start panicking now. Have a look over the key points, eat a good meal and go to bed early. We perform better when we’re well rested.

Over revise.

Make sure you have a good balance between work and play. You should still be enjoying time with your mates at the weekend, as well as getting in some study time. You don’t have to put your entire life on hold if you plan properly!

Be too hard on yourself.

Be the best you can be, that’s all you can do. If it doesn’t work out, remember that it’s not the end of the world. There are opportunities to resit exams and alternative options, ask your teachers!

Drink coffee or tea before an exam.

Trust us on this – we’ve been there, done that. Sitting for an hour in an exam hall bursting to pee isn’t our idea of a fun day out. Caffeine is a diuretic, which means it comes out almost as quickly as it goes in. Have a bit of water and stay hydrated but don’t overdo it.

So there you have it. 9 ways to get through your exams without losing your mind. If you feel like you’re under pressure and struggling to deal with stress, read our related articles and join the community to talk to our amazing Digital Mentors who can help you through difficult times. Good luck, you got this! 😉

More:

At some point, you will have probably been told that your uni years are the best years of your life. This may be true for a whole lot of people, but it’s an ideal that comes with a whole lot of pressure. When the university life isn’t living up to expectations, its common to think “what am I doing wrong?”,”Am I not making the most of my time here?”…

Truth is, sometimes uni really doesn’t feel like the best years of your life, and that’s okay! University is a different experience for everyone, and these 10 YouTubers are proof of exactly that

Here’s what they have to say about uni being the “best years of your life”:

Jack Edwards

“Please never apologise for finding university tough; whether that’s for one day, one week, or even a whole term. You are more than entitled to feel this way, and persevering, working hard, and fighting on is just another part of the education you’re here to attain!”


Grace

“University is different for everyone and it’s okay if it’s not your cup of tea! It’s okay not to be the most sociable person on campus and to choose to keep to yourself or not go out partying.



Dylan

 

“Everyone has their ups, downs and concerns. Everybody questions if university was the right choice, even my self. Me and my friends while conversing several months back agreed that so far “university hasn’t been the best time of our lives” which is what we were instantaneously lead to believe.

For me its the creative side of things, no longer the clubbing aspect which is arguably the norm… This year I am focused on the positives, me doing me! Since this change, I am sure university is about to become one of the best experience in my life to date (p.s. I have always enjoyed university) “


Lucy Wood

“Putting yourself into a whole new world, complete with all new faces, new habits and a new routine is never going to be easy – so chuck homesickness and work stress in the mix too and it totally makes sense that some people find university isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

I really struggled to find ‘my people’ at uni, and drifted through my time there without ever really feeling settled or totally happy. In the end, I didn’t really find them until after uni through my work and hobbies like blogging and YouTube.

Unfortunately, you might find that uni might not be the time of your life that everyone yells about and that’s totally normal. Remember that no one is having as good a time as they seem to be on Instagram. Sometimes it’s okay to just keep your head down, hit your grades, collect your degree and move through a chapter of your life because you need to. That’s as long as you’re not unhappy, of course.

Remember that there’s always something better just waiting for you around the corner, so think of this chapter as a learning curve and get excited for the next one to start, whether you decide to stick it out or head down a different path. Everything always works out in the end.”


Phoebe Slee

“University.. “some of the best years of your life”- I for one can say that uni was far from that for me. I felt lonely and down most weeks and it wasn’t until I opened up about how I felt that I realised some of the people I was surrounded by felt the exact same way. It relieved a lot of built up pressure in my mind and only made me happier. I’ve come to realise that it’s ok to not enjoy university the same way everyone insists you will, everyone has their own unique experience, embrace the journey and learn from it.. but don’t suffer in silence. It’s truly amazing how simply talking can comfort the mind.”


Curtis Roscoe

“There is not one set University experience, these 3 years of your life can be great however they don’t dictate your life.


 


 

Lydia Greatrix

“It’s okay to feel overwhelmed when you’re at university – you’re thrown into a new surrounding, often a new city, with many different people from lots of different backgrounds. The expectations of ‘uni is the best time in your life’ can be too much for some to handle. If you ever feel low whilst you’re at university, speak to someone about it – your coursemates, tutor, or Student Services at your uni.

It’s also easy to give into peer pressure if everyone around you is into alcohol and partying. But guess what, if you would rather stay in and watch Netflix, that’s totally okay too! Always stay true to yourself – don’t change just to make others happy. Real friends will support you – and they may even offer to join you in watching a movie or two!”

 


Dungarees Donuts

“University; one of the best times of your life. But also the worst. For us suffering with mental health, it can be one of the most challenging times. Making new friends, most of us living in a new place, constantly experiencing things out of our comfort zones.It’s important to remember, you’re not alone. University will be the making of you, I promise.”



Amy

“University is portrayed in the media to be the best years of your life where you meet your best friends, have endless drunken nights out and have so many exciting stories to tell, but this isn’t always the case. It is up to each individual as to what experience is gotten from university. Although I loved my university experience, it wasn’t necessarily what was portrayed in the media. I wasn’t a member of a sport society, I didn’t go out every Saturday without fail and I didn’t come home with a memorising story every day. Sometimes, my mental health wasn’t the best and these were the moments that I found really hard. Perhaps surprisingly, I wasn’t the only one feeling this way during my experience. Remember, It’s normal and it is okay.”


Are you at uni and want to help others who may be struggling? Sign up for our ambassador programme here: 


Do you find it hard to make friends? Maybe you just moved to a new place and haven’t met anyone yet. Maybe you have friends, but want to make some new ones or the ones you do have are kind of crap?

Meeting new people is difficult at the best of times but that pressure doubles when you throw social awkwardness, anxiety or introvertedness into the mix. Here are some practical tips to get you started:

Sports

It’s certainly not for everyone, but believe it or not, you actually don’t need to be sporty to enjoy sport… who knew?!? Team sports are great for building up solid relationships. You may not realise it straight away but teamwork is a great way to make friends. Joining a social sports team is a way to get chatting with people because you already have a subject to talk about. Social sport usually means that there isn’t really a competitive element. Instead, people get together to play a sport for fitness or to socialise.

Dogs

Dogs are great friend makers and what’s more, dog owners really like to talk about their dogs. If you already have a dog, you’re halfway there already. If you don’t have a dog, then borrow your friend or neighbour’s dog. Most people like to talk about dogs and they’re also really good for awkward people because playing with a dog gives you something to focus on when you’re talking to someone for the first time. What’s more, you’ll be making human friends AND dog friends, and who doesn’t want that?!

Get a Part-Time job

This one might not work for everyone but if you’ve just moved to a new town or the people at school or college aren’t really your crowd, get a part-time job. Somewhere like a cafe, a cinema, leisure centre or shop is a good place to start. Chances are, there will be other people a similar age who work there too. Even if the job itself is a bit rubbish, its a really good way to get talking to people. Then, when it feels right, try suggesting a work outing to your co-workers sometime…

Volunteering

Another good way to meet people is through volunteering.  If you have some spare time on your hands, volunteering is a really great way to fill it. You get to feel good about helping; it’s good for your CV; it’s even better for making friends and you’ll probably get a t-shirt – the benefits really are endless…

Learn an Instrument

You don’t even have to get good to start playing with other people. In fact, playing with others is the best way to get to grips with learning an instrument. Just teach yourself the basics using YouTube tutorials and fake it til’ you make it. Then, when you’re ready, start a band and hey presto – bandmates. (Plus, being able to play an instrument instantly increases your cool-factor – you can thank us later 😉).

The trick is to be confident in yourself. You don’t have to pretend to be someone you’re not. Just make yourself approachable, don’t be afraid to make the first move and always be open-minded.

Good luck, you got this!

Got any tips to add? Head over to the community where people could really benefit from your help, and you never know – you might discover something for yourself too!