UK Training course: Digital engagement for the Digital generation

‘New Media, New Problem?’ asked Alcohol Concern in their recent survey of alcohol, young people and the internet in the UK.  Their principle concern was the unrestricted marketing of alcohol on social networking sites which were being accessed by children as young as 8 despite the age restrictions on most sites limiting membership to those aged 13 and above.  Alcohol Concern’s worries about young people’s access to age-inappropriate marketing while clearly worrying also point to a truth of twenty first century Britain; our current cohort of teenagers are the first truly digital generation.  A recent social media survey found that children are as social media savvy as adults by age 13 and that, for the first time, and unlike their parents, teenagers surveyed would rather go without TV than mobile phones or the internet.

It seems that in promoting innovative approaches to forum theatre, encouraging the use of digital media is clearly one way of engaging young people in the UK.  With this in mind the UK partners of the Actvise Forum Theatre project recently held their second forum theatre training day on the applications of social media in Forum Theatre.  Alongside discussing common concerns UK schools have about using social media with young people, participants were able to experience first hand how social media can add value to Forum Theatre activity for young people.  Participants practised recording their own responses to Forum Theatre activities and learnt how to add speech bubbles to Forum Theatre plays uploaded on to YouTube.

Feedback from course participants has been very positive, with participant feedback suggesting it was a ‘brilliant’ and ‘very useful’ session.  We hope participants took away some new ideas to engage the digital generation in using Forum Theatre to help manage the situations they may find themselves in in those challenging teenage years.