Probably everyone at some point has thought about the possibility of making money from gaming at some point in their life. Maybe it was when you were 10 and mastering your Game Boy, or maybe you are deep in Twitch streams every day after class now. If you game frequently though, you know there are always ways to get better. That’s why we have put together a little list of tips for making the fastest improvements to your gaming. 

Just before we start the list, make sure you keep an eye out for our tournaments with Lt. LickMe and UMG. We run them every month, so get Twitch at the ready because we will be streaming alongside some epic players raising awareness about cyberbullying in games. 

1) Team work makes the dream work 

It may be a very obvious thing to day, but if you’re game of choice is a team game, communication is the key to success. Always make sure you are updating others on your location, planning tactics or calling for the ball (#RocketLeagueForever) as well as letting the rest of your team know what the opposition are up to.

Just make sure you are staying on the right side of the rule book – Fortnite publishers Epic are anti-teaming in a solo game of Battle Royale and have said they will be cracking down on those who take on the 100 in illegal teams so make sure you are playing by the rules before creating a squad.

 

2) Play by the rules 

There has been a lot of talk recently about the level of cheating in online gaming. Whilst it might seem tempting as a quick way to rise through the ranks of your online opponents, cheating is a big risk. Apex Legends just banned 350,000 players for cheating in the game, and publishers Respawn can track hardware ID to ensure you can’t just start a new account with a new email. Plus, it’s not just them – other publishers are cracking down on the use of cheating apps and tactics. Basically, don’t do it – or you’ll get banned at some point. And you can’t improve on your gaming with no game to do it in. 

 

3) Take it from the pros

It’s true in any sport ever – you learn from people who are better than you at the game. So put the controller down and hit up Twitch, YouTube, and Reddit. If your pals are better, take some pointers from them after they have had a particularly good run. It all adds up! Also, if you can, get yourself down to a gaming expo or convention – these events are full of brands, publishers, developers and pro gamers who are literally waiting to share their advice, challenge you to tournaments and let you try new games. All of this experience is sure to add to your gameplay. 

 

4) Replay Replay Replay

If someone has owned you with a kill only Shroud could dream of, don’t take it personally. In fact, watch the action replays of how they managed it. That was you can see what you did wrong and what they did right so that you aren’t making the same mistakes twice, and steal their tactics for next time. You’ll soon have a streak to die for (not you though – you are too good to die now).

 

5) Cut the toxicity 

We’ve all heard a lot about toxic gaming lately. But it is true that cutting some of this behaviour, or removing yourself from a match that is full of it, will definitely help to improve your game play. Insulting, abusive language, cheating, blaming every bad move on other players – if you are filling up your game time with all of this then how are you ever going to get better? Plus, if you are around it all the time, the game quickly becomes way less fun than before. So cut out the toxic behaviour from your gaming, whether it is you or others who are doing it, and start focussing on other things. 

 

6) Explore 

It might sound obvious, but remember to have fun whilst you are playing. Explore new maps, worm out those elusive Easter Eggs you heard about on Twitter, play a round just with your buddies for the LOLs. Taking it all too seriously is a sure fire way to get worked up, and anger never helped anyone to win a game of Battle Royale. This is a great way to reset any toxic behaviour and get your gaming back to having fun. Remember – if it’s fun, the hours you spend getting better will go by in no time. 

 

For great content, daily inspiration, influencer takeovers, cute pics and loads more, follow us on Instagram @ditchthelabel

If you or someone you know is experiencing cyberbullying, join the Ditch the Label community here and we will help.

You might be more concerned about the rate you can build ramps or running from someone who has got their hands on a SCAR, but one thing you might not think about in Fortnite is what to do when someone does you dirty.

About 50% of you have experienced cyberbullying in a game, so we want to make sure you know all the ins and outs of what’s OK, what’s not and how to report someone in a game. So throw out a Boogie Bomb because Fortnite is going to be even more fun knowing the haters can’t hate.


Why Report Someone? 

According to Epic Games who make Fortnite, any breach of the code of conduct can be a reason to report another player, and possibly get them banned. These include:

Abusive language
Using threats, discriminatory language or hate speech counts as abusive language, as does offensive player user names. 

Harassment
This can include targeting specific players by making their game play unnecessarily difficult, or their time in the game uncomfortable. This might be constantly attacking only them, following them around the game, encouraging others to team up against them and more.

Breaking the game rules
Epic have started to crack down on players who team up in single player mode to get further in the game. Also exploiting bugs and glitches, impersonating others, and regularly going AFK all fall into this category. 

How Do I Report Someone in Fortnite?

Reporting in Fortnite Battle Royale: Select menu icon > Select ‘feedback’ > Select Player > Enter player’s display name in the ‘Player Name’ field > Click ‘Category’ > Select reasons why you are reporting > Write down as much detail as you can in the text field > Select ‘End’

Quick guide to reporting another player in Fortnite Battle Royale

Reporting in Fortnite Save The World: Select menu icon > Select ‘Report Player’ > Select the player’s name you want to report > Select the reason for the report from the options > Optional – you can add additional information here > Select ‘Send Report’

Quick guide to reporting another player in Fortnite Save the World

What Else Can You Do?

When the haters got you down, it can be easy to feel like what you once found fun… just isn’t anymore. That’s why we’ve put together a few tips to get you back in the game and ruling Tilted Towers once again. 

 

 


1. Try Not to Get Angry

We know that it isn’t always easy to walk away, but responding in anger can often make a bad situation worse. You could try challenging the behaviour, not the person – so instead of accusing the person of being a ‘bully’, explain why their actions or words are causing you distress. For example, instead of saying “you’re upsetting me”, you could say “what you said/did has upset me”. 

Unfortunately, some people troll to actively try to upset other players and they are aware that their behaviour is having a negative impact on you. In these cases, try to walk away from the situation. Why not quit and start a new game where they won’t be present? At least then you could have a few decent runs without any haters in your way. 

2. Don’t Seek Revenge

It’s what our Mums always said to us in primary school, but treat others as you would like to be treated. By seeking revenge on someone who has done you wrong, you will not only soon find yourself in a circle of online bullying, but you might end up in trouble with moderators yourself. Be the bigger person and follow the rules of reporting to resolve the situation.

3. Keep a Record

Keeping a record of every time you have faced harassment or abuse in a game is your proof for later. Whilst the reporting system in Fortnite doesn’t allow for screenshot or video uploads quite yet, keeping a record of it is always a good idea in case you need proof further down the line. 

4. Tell Someone IRL

It’s important to maintain the relationships you have away from gaming even if you feel like you don’t always want to be around people. That way, when you step away from the keyboard, you still have support. Telling someone such as a parent, sibling or a mate about what’s going on can help you to stop stressing about it. 

5. Take a Break with Your Mates

Taking a little bit of a break from the game might be the best thing for you right now if you are facing cyberbullying. Spend a bit of time with your mates, watch a film with the family, or do anything else that you usually love to do when you aren’t at the console or keyboard. 

Having a bit of time to clear your head will ensure that you don’t react in anger and will give the mods some time to sort out the issue for you if you have reported it. It will help you see that you have plenty of other good things in your life and that it is actually just a game. Try returning to the game when you have had a bit of a break with some buddies for support – it’ll soon be just fun as it was before.

Cyberbullying is rubbish, especially when it’s going on in your favourite game. If you feel like you need too talk to someone about bullying or anything else that is bothering you, both online and IRL, reach out to the Ditch the Label Community here.

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.

Categories
Digital Gaming LOL

Gaming Terminology

Have you ever been playing an online game and had no idea what everyone was talking about? If yes, this may be of use to you. If not… hopefully, this helps anyway. Here is some common gaming terminology to help you understand what everyone is saying.

Common terms

So to get you started on this, here are a few common phrases that will help you understand what everyone is trying to say…

Easter egg – A secret hidden within a game by developers.

Triple-A or AAA – When a game is described as “AAA” it means it has a high budget and created by a major studio

Achievement – when a player completes specific tasks the game will reward them with an achievement trophy

Noob – To be called a noob means that you have the gaming skill of a new player (it’s an insult)

Clan – A clan is a group of gamers together in a game. Just think of it as an online gang

Spawn – The starting point for a character

Nerf The deliberate weakening of a character, weapon or tool so it is balanced with other characters, weapons and tools

Hacker – A player that has broken into the game and changed or manipulated it

Griefer  somebody that deliberately trolls or harasses other players

Open Beta – A pre-release version of a game that is opened to users to play before it is released to test features and functionality

Open-world – When a game has a huge map to explore and storylines’ narratives are designed to be non-linear

Bug A broken part of a game

Killstreak when multiple kills are made during one life in the game

Strategy

Lb+Y – Used in FIFA to Lb+y or LbY is to play a through ball over the top of the defence.

Cheese – A way for players to win a game that developers did not foresee.

Alpha, Bravo or Charlie – Flags A, B or C.

typing, keyboard, hands, google docs

Abbreviations

These are quite popular in games as it makes ordinarily long sentences easier to type.

AFK – Away From Keyboard

NPC – Non-Playable Character

IRL – In Real Life

GG – Good Game

FPS – First Person Shooter

MOBA – Multiplayer online battle arena

MMO – Massively Multiplayer Online

BR – Battle Royale

OP – Over-Powered

WP – Well played

EXP – Experience Points

GLHF – Good luck, have fun


RI know, I know, this is basically like learning a new language. We’ll do one more. Sound good? Here are a few common words you can use to communicate with your gaming friends.

Hopefully, you’ve learned something from this and can now understand what everyone’s talking about or at least have a better understanding of some ‘cyber-slang’.

Like it? Feel free to tell us in our community. For more gaming related articles written by this Hella, Swella, Fella, just click here.

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

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

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

1. Don’t respond with aggression.

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

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

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

3. Don’t have your personal information available.

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

4. Don’t take it personally.

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

5. Don’t seek revenge.

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

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

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

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

7. Do tell someone.

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

8. Do keep a record.

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

9. Do take some time out.

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

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

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

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

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

dan bull interview

DTL Interviewed Dan Bull – but you may know him as “Douglby”…

With 1,351,285 subscribers on YouTube and 102K followers on Twitter, Dan Bull is literally #winning at the internet right now, but it hasn’t all been fame and glory for the geeky gamer come comedy rapper…

dan bull interview

DTL caught up with Dan to talk about bullying IRL, online and how he gets his Inspo…

DTL: Hi Dan thanks for chatting with DTL! First up, can you tell the DTL readers a bit about yourself?
Dan: My name’s Dan and I make rap videos and comedy sketches on YouTube – usually about geeky stuff such as video games.

DTL: What’s the funniest/weirdest comment you’ve ever received on one of your videos?
Dan: I honestly don’t know because I try not to read all the comments, there’s so much weird stuff in there and YouTube really ought to do a better job of keeping it respectable!

DTL: 7 in 10 people experience bullying online before the age of 18 – as someone who has an enormous online presence, is online abuse something that you have experienced? If so, how have you dealt with it?
Dan: I haven’t received it to the serious degree that some others have, but I’ve occasionally had people trying to wind me up or upset me to get a response. It sounds like a cliche but the best thing to do is just ignore them and keep doing whatever makes you happy yourself. People that leave bad comments online often have nothing better to do, YOU do!

DTL: What’s the best and worst thing about being a famous YouTuber/rapper?
Dan: Well, I don’t feel very famous because my fans are spread throughout the world, that means I can easily walk down the street without being recognised. I suppose the best thing is being able to do my hobby of making music and videos as a living. Every day is fun!

DTL: 64% of the people we surveyed had been trolled in an online game? Any advice for people who are dealing with trolling online?
Dan: The main reason people troll is not because they mean what they say, but because it’s the easiest way to get a reaction from other people. The most powerful thing you can do is completely deny them any reaction and act as if they’re not there. It takes away all their power over you. If the trolling is serious and doesn’t stop, there should be ways to report it to the people in charge of the game. If it’s more serious than that, you can also speak to the police who will be able to advise and assist you.

“The thing which feels most meaningful to me is hearing from people whose personal lives have been helped because of the music I’ve made. It feels better for one person to really value a song, than for a thousand people to just enjoy it a bit.”

DTL: What’s been the ultimate highlight of your YouTubing career so far?
Dan: A lot of cool and weird things have happened but the thing which feels most meaningful to me is hearing from people whose personal lives have been helped because of the music I’ve made. It feels better for one person to really value a song, than for a thousand people to just enjoy it a bit.

DTL: Where do you get inspiration for your tracks?
Dan: The easiest way to be inspired is to just think about the things that give you an emotional response. Whether it’s happy, sad, angry, afraid, excited, etc. Those are all powerful emotions that you can channel into creativity. I would actually recommend to people reading this to try out being creative, whether it’s writing, drawing, recording videos – anything you feel like. It doesn’t have to be good and you don’t have to show it to anyone else. It’s just a great way to get those thoughts and feelings in order.

DTL: Have you ever experienced bullying IRL – if so could you tell us a bit about it?
Dan: Yes, I have been bullied at different points in my life. Mostly at school and mostly verbal bullying, but was occasionally punched, kicked etc. Looking back at it now I can see that the problem was always with the person who bullied, and not with me. People bully others because they feel inferior themselves, and they want to get a feeling of superiority or belonging to a group, by picking on someone – so that THEY aren’t the one who’s different themselves. It is quite sad really, but it’s still no excuse to victimise another person.

“The differences that make us stand out, are the same differences which will help us make a mark and be happy in life.”

DTL: If you could go back in time, what’s one thing you’d tell yourself before your YouTube career really kicked off?
Dan: That it’s OK to be you, to be interested in the things you’re interested in, to dress how you like to dress, and that the people who won’t like those things about you, don’t matter anyway. If you allow yourself to be who you really are, you will attract people who like the real you.

[full-width-figure image=”https://www.ditchthelabel.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/dan3-1.jpg” alt=dan bull interview”]

DTL: Biggest pet peeve?
Dan: Bullying! Any situation where somebody tries to exploit vulnerabilities in others, whether it’s picking on someone in the playground, scamming people online, or abusing animals. I think that kindness and understanding is a great responsibility and a privilege, and it takes more guts to do than picking on someone.

DTL: Anything exciting coming up in the near future?
Dan: I never like to talk about future plans because things can change so often. I’d say only 20% of the things I plan actually happen!

DTL: Anything you’d like to add?
Dan: Yes: All the most interesting and fun people I know were bullied at school. The differences that make us stand out, are the same differences which will help us make a mark and be happy in life.

If comedy and gaming is your thing, check out Dan’s channel and follow him on Twitter for latest updates and lolworthy rap videos…

Shady online behaviours

Are you throwing some serious shade?

We put our heads together here at Ditch HQ to make this list of twelve shady behaviours that people do online which they deffo wouldn’t IRL.

We’re all guilty of at least a couple of the points on this list! But if you’re doing them all on the regular, then maybe consider …not doing them?!

1. Stalking people

Following someone around online is for some reason considered more ok than doing it in real life. It’s illegal to stalk someone in real life – but that doesn’t mean you can do it online instead! When you stalk someone online, you’re literally following them around their online hangouts. It’s like trailing your crush from coffee shop to coffee shop until they finally acknowledge your existence! (dodgy)

2. Judging people

Social media is a breeding ground for bitchiness and judgery, don’t pretend like you don’t judge people on their Insta photos or who’s in their profile pics! 😉

3. Comparing ourselves to others based on their social media activity

…“So, she has like 140k followers so she must be really successful and happy…”

4. Looking waaay back through someone’s old photos

And accidentally hitting ‘like’ on one from 2010… come on, we’ve all done it. *cringe*😱

5. Snooping at your crush’s exes online.

This is not a good thing to do, especially when you accidentally add them or like something on their page. Srsly guys, don’t risk it! Also, don’t judge a person on their ex-partners, they’re exes for a reason!

6. When you walk past someone you have as a friend on Facebook but don’t even acknowledge their existence…

… but you know all about their holiday last month and ‘liked’ their last profile pic.

7. Deliberately not ‘liking’ a friend’s good news because you fell out last week.

This is sooo passive aggressive. If you’re annoyed at a mate – talk it out!

8. One word: Schadenfreude.

A word which only exists in the German language and roughly translates as, ‘pleasure derived from the misfortune of others’ … ’nuff said.

9. Unfriending someone because you didn’t like their face in that last selfie they posted.

C’mon guys, you’re better than this.

10. Logging in to your mate’s profile and typing, ‘I love poop’ on their FB status… 😂

Ok, bad example – this is kinda funny if you’re 10, but also risky. You don’t know who’s got their super-grump of an aunt on their friend list who would NOT be amused by something a little more, risque!

11. Heavily editing every single photo you put online.

So, the occasional SnapChat filter is fine from time to time or the occasional moody Insta effect but honestly – you’re great as you are, don’t obsess over the way your skin looks! Embrace that double chin, love that pimple – own it!

12. Deliberately not opening a message so you don’t have to reply.

We’ve all done it, the old classic ‘I’ll deal with that later’ trick, which really doesn’t work these days since most of us are glued to our smartphones 24/7!

So, if you’re guilty of any of these, STOP! Exist in real time and use the glorious internet for what it was intended: cats and Netflix. Don’t forget to post your online pet peeves in our rant box

If you like this article, check out our awesome video Online Dating vs Reality

in game abuse

Ditch the Label and Habbo have teamed up to find out the extent and nature of online bullying and in game abuse within digital gaming environments. Here’s what we found out, in a nutshell:

In:Game Abuse

57% of people have been bullied in a game
64% have been trolled in an online game
57% have been subjected to hate speech in game
47% of people have received threats
40% have experienced unwanted sexual contact
38% have been hacked
34% have had personal information shared in a game

 Read More

Those who experience bullying in real life, are more likely to use video games as a way of escape and distraction from the hassle they get offline. Imagine getting home after being bullied at school, only to go online to receive yet more abuse in games from absolute strangers – no one should have to put up with that!

80% of those surveyed said they have never bullied somebody in an online game, this may be the case, however this could also be due to the fact that some may not even realise that they are displaying bullying behaviours. Let’s enjoy games the way they are supposed to be played by taking a united approach to tackle bullying online.

Find out more

Check out our gaming content below for help with trolling and cyberbullying and you can even take our quiz to see if you’re showing signs of trolling behaviours online:

Confused by all this gaming lingo!? Click here to find an ‘Easter egg’ of gaming terms that may have been baffling you and your mates!

Get Help

Need more help? You can talk anonymously with one of our digital mentors who can help you overcome online bullying and trolling, for once and for all! Maybe you’ve got something to say about trolling? Simply join the community and get typing!

What is trolling?

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

“Trolling” in an online game is most commonly used to described when players go out of their way to annoy everyone and make other players rage. The acts of trolling can range anywhere from committing friendly fire to just telling other players that they suck, repeatedly. Now, while this seems like harmless fun on the surface, it can have some really bad effects for those on the receiving end. Not only is the game ruined for everyone else but in some cases, the consequences can be way more severe than just a broken controller. 😡

So, what’s the problem?

Phrases like, “there’s no real harm” get thrown out a lot. This infuriates me because the point of trolling is to cause harm and effects of trolling are mostly all negative. One form of trolling is spamming game chats so that players reading it will be distracted and depending what kind of game you’re playing, the effects will vary. For example; in an FPS, the reader will likely die… (in game) this could ruin their hard work and KD ratio.

Another example would be if you’re playing online and the game chat is being spammed, half of the player’s screens are blocked. This prevents them from being able to score or defend. When people are trolling servers, it makes other players more likely to rage quit. This ruins games for everyone else because in most cases they will be replaced with a bot and who wants to play an online game filled with AI?!

Dear Trolls…

You might think “…but making them angry is the point?!” Well, my response is this… where’s the fun in that? What is the point in going out of your way to make someone that you can’t even see angry? In most cases it won’t affect their day, however in some, it can have a more serious effect. Trolling can have deeper impacts than you might think. For example, when taken too far, trolling can lead to paranoia and can affect sleep. I know this because of my own personal experiences online.

What games are doing to combat trolling

Aside from your usual timeouts or server bans, developers are taking steps to combat the trolls and prevent trolling. A prime example of this is Blizzard. Blizzard are the creators of the popular online shooter, Overwatch. What they have done is, when common trolling phrases are used such as “GG EZ” the text will automatically be changed into a randomly generated phrase by Blizzard. This can be anything from polite gestures to self-deprecating insults. Some examples include:


“Well played. I salute you all.”

“Gee whiz! That was fun. Good playing!”

“It’s past my bedtime. Please don’t tell my mommy.”

“I’m wrestling with some insecurity issues in my life but thank you all for playing with me.”

This was a wonderful idea from Blizzard and has had an overall positive effect to their online game chats. Hopefully, this will become commonplace amongst all Blizzard titles moving forward.

But wait… there’s more

In hardcore modes of Call Of Duty, players that team kill are kicked from the game. While this has been around for a while now, it is important to recognise the importance of the feature introduced all the way back in 2007. Simple things like this can be done to prevent trolling in online games.

It’s far from over

Despite developers best efforts, trolling is still a massive issue that continues to slow down the development of online gamers and gaming. Games are still being ruined by these unfunny people – we all have to do what we can to put an end to it. Not only must we block, mute and report them, but we have to do our best to make in game chats positive, safe spaces again for all gamers. As well as this, we have to let them know that they’re not affecting us, by not reacting to them at all. Don’t give people who troll the satisfaction of a response.🙄

Other than that, all we can really do is play on.

Have any experiences or thoughts on trolling? Disagree with me? Let us know in community. If you enjoyed this and want some more, click here for an article on some gaming terminology.

Max and Chloe\

Being the absolute nerds that we are, Ditch the Label thought it would be fun to compile a list about video games. Be it the first transgender video game character ever, or even a pop culture icon, all of these characters had a part to play in the progression of video games.

1 – Samus

When it comes to face reveals, Metroid did it right when revealing the identity of Samus. Players did not know the identity of the main character until after they had played through the whole game. What made this so great, was that players had hours to develop an attachment. The shock came when it was revealed that Samus was female. This made her one of the first female, badasses in such a male dominated area.

Samus

2 – Max and Chloe

I know this is a 2-in-1 entry but it’s my list, my rules and if you don’t like it go away… dad. Max and Chloe are two female characters from the BAFTA award-winning, Life is Strange. Throughout the story their relationship develops and depending on the player’s choices, their friendship develops into a relationship. The game tackles this topic very well, not constantly pointing it out or making it their only character trait and really that’s why I put them on this list.

Max and Chloe

3 – Women’s National Football Teams

If you thought I was cheating by putting 2 in the last one, you’re gonna love this. FIFA 16 saw the first ever inclusion of females as playable characters in the game. This comes with the ability to play as one of twelve national teams. This was a huge breakthrough for female athletes in video games and it has definitely been a long time coming.

Alex Morgan

4 – Michael Jackson

Yep… that guy. It should come as no surprise that the first ever black protagonist in a video game also happens to be arguably the most famous person in the world, ever. MJ featured in the 1990 beat ‘em up, Moonwalker; the objective of the game was to beat enemies by dancing them to death. Despite the horrible concept, the rise of Michael Jackson really helped open peoples eyes to racism, so like it or not, this old-school game contributed to the progression of society.

Moonwalker

5 – Birdo

So waaaay back in 1988, this character featured in Super Mario Bros 2 and was also the first transgender character in video game history. She was described in the games booklet as: “He thinks he is a girl and he spits eggs from his mouth. He’d rather be called Birdetta” This was later confirmed by Nintendo when in the North American version of Super Mario Bros 2 was released, Birdo was voiced by 3 different voice actors throughout the game, starting with a male and ending with a transgender female.

Birdo

6 – You

In Elder Scrolls V Skyrim, your character has the ability to marry any NPC in the game regardless of gender, race, background or age (not that one). Presuming you have consent, this game allows you to be as progressive as you wish. So, well done you.

Skyrim

So there you have it, six of the most progressive video game charaters in history. Any big ones that we left out? Let us know in community and for another gaming article written by this golden love machine (open to edit), click here.