We are Arc Theatre – working in the London Borough of Barking & Dagenham and surrounding areas (and beyond) for over 30 years, bringing exciting educational theatre experiences to young people and adults in schools, local communities and businesses.
We are looking to you to help us with our aim to bring internet and technology safety workshops to 1,200 children in Barking & Dagenham primary schools this autumn.
What’s our idea?
We have a very powerful performance programme called Broadcast Junior ready to tour to Barking & Dagenham primary schools. Designed and presented by our Education Director Natalie Smith, along with a team of young, professional actors, this programme offers interactive drama and multi-media sessions to children aged 9 to 11 in schools, designed to improve the health and wellbeing of vulnerable young people and prevent digital misuse and exposure to online abuse and exploitation.
Broadcast Junior has been very successfully touring primaries in the London Borough of Havering this spring (along with Broadcast - the secondary school version), funded by local council departments. We need to raise our target of £6,000 in order to tour the programme to primary schools in Barking & Dagenham – reaching our target of 1,200 children.
Why do children need this?
We have compelling evidence that cannot be ignored. Broadcast was first created in 2013 as a result of conversations we were having with Barking & Dagenham teachers and students highlighting the need for raising awareness of the dangers and realities surrounding online safety and technology misuse. Broadcast Junior was later developed as discussions revealed that the age of exposure to the issues was lowering across the Borough, with many reported incidents occurring prior secondary school.
To back this up, 2013 research by ATVOD (widely publicised by the NSPCC) highlighted the increasingly worrying scale of underage exposure to unhealthy online activity and relationships:
- 44,000 primary schoolchildren accessed an adult website in one month alone – one in 35 of 6 to 11-year-olds in the UK going online;
- One in five 8 to 11-year-olds had a social media profile;
- One in four children had experienced ‘something upsetting’ on a social networking site;
- One in three had been a victim of cyberbullying.
More recently, according to the CHILDWISE Monitor Report 2017:
- Since 2013 there has been a 55% increase in the number of children browsing the internet;
- Children use the internet an average of three hours a day with one in eight saying they spend more than six hours online;
- 23% of children say they have missed sleep or have felt tired because they are spending too much time on their devices;
- 58% of 6-year-olds are now streaming videos from YouTube etc;
- 41% of parents of a child aged 8-18 don’t use parental controls on devices their children use.
The Times Educational Supplement (June 2017) has reported a 255% rise in sexual offences in schools in the past four years. It has been suggested that online pornography and sexualised videos, which are easier for pupils to access on mobile devices, may be partly to blame. Figures suggest that teachers as well as pupils have been victims, with about one in ten of the crimes committed against adults.
Who will benefit from this?
Primary schoolchildren in Years 5 and 6 from schools across Barking & Dagenham will benefit directly from Broadcast Junior. Reaching our target fund will mean that we can offer 1,200 local children a place to participate in the project - based on a cost of just £5 per child. Each young person will take part in a one-hour interactive drama-based workshop at their school. However, by engaging young audiences in self-care digital awareness, and open, honest communication about the issues, we know that they will be motivated to share what they have learnt with their parents and siblings and other students, in addition to the teaching staff present. Thus there will be countless indirect beneficiaries achieved by word of mouth.
How will the younger generation benefit?
Broadcast Junior will support our younger generation in beginning to take personal responsibility for their lifestyle choices, by:
- Encouraging respect and healthy, positive relationships;
- Highlighting differences between what is portrayed on social media/in the media and real-life relationships;
- Informing young audiences of the dangers surrounding sexting;
- Exploring the damaging consequences of bullying and cyberbullying;
- Equipping young people with communication tools and reasoned arguments to enable them to make change in their choices and behaviours;
- Signposting who and where to turn to for help;
- Supporting the Borough’s protection and safeguarding strategy.
How do we know this works?
Broadcast Junior feedback from the spring tour in Havering was extremely encouraging, with 100% of teaching staff who completed our survey ‘strongly agreeing’ or ‘agreeing’ that 'Broadcast had a positive impact on the audience'. Additionally 68% of young people who completed the survey said that after participating in the programme they knew 'a lot' about online safety, compared to 33% before the programme.
"Extremely well presented to the children and at a level they can understand" Havering Teacher's feedback
"I believe the Broadcast should be done more often as it is very informative and helpful for people our age, especially with the constant technology advancement." Young Person's feedback
So, how can I help?
We need your pledges! Every single £1 will take us one step closer to keeping our local young people safe!
If you are from a school, maybe you could consider holding a fundraiser, like a non-uniform day, collecting £1 from parents of participating children! We'd love to talk to you about fundraising ideas to help reach our target - so please do get in touch with us at Arc on 020 8595 8509 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please also get involved by helping us spread the word on Twitter @arctheatre www.twitter.com/Arctheatre, Facebook www.facebook.com/ArcTheatreBarkingDagenham and telling your friends and family about our Crowdfunding page! To find out more about Arc and our work, visit www.arctheatre.com
Thank you from Arc Theatre and the children of Barking & Dagenham!