Online Safety at Christmas time

Dear Parents/ Carers,

Online safety is an important part of keeping children safe at Blessed Edward Oldcorne Catholic College. All pupils are taught about how to stay safe online, but this will only be successful if we work together with parents and carers to help reinforce safe online behaviours at home.
As Christmas draws near, many children may be looking forward to receiving new electronic toys, devices and games, so we’d like to share some simple online safety tips to help parents and carers make safer choices and support their children online over the festive break.

Make informed choices:
It is vital that parents and carers fully understand the capabilities of the technology within their homes. It’s important to make informed decisions about new games, smart toys, and devices, before giving them to children as a gift.

  • Do your research; ask the shop about pre-installed apps or tools, and check whether the device or game has an online component which allows them to connect with others online.
  • Always check the PEGI age rating and descriptors on games before buying them for your child and carefully consider whether the content is appropriate for them. CEOP has some helpful advice about making decisions regarding what is
    ‘appropriate’ for your child:
  • Familiarise yourself with the privacy, safety, and security tools on new devices; ensure you can teach your child how to make their accounts private and how to block and report other people online.
    Use the parent guides and shopper’s checklists from UK Safer Internet Centre and Internet Matters to help you ask the right questions and make informed choices when buying new technology this Christmas: parents/

Talk to your children:

  • Take an active interest in your child’s online life and engage in the digital world with them.
  • Let your children teach you about their online world and how they use technology; playing new games and exploring websites together can often open opportunities to discuss safe behaviour and can also be lots of fun!
  • Make sure your children know that you are safe and approachable; remind them that they can tell you if something happens online that makes them feel scared, worried or uncomfortable, without being told off or punished.

Filters and Parental Controls:
Children can accidentally or deliberately be exposed to unwanted or unpleasant content online, but there are some simple things you can do at home to help minimise this risk.

  • Make sure you install anti-virus software, filters, and parental controls on your child’s device before giving it to them.
  • Ensure that you are role-modelling good behaviour by using strong passwords yourself; make them difficult to guess and don’t share them with your children. Enable two factor authentication to add an extra layer of security to your accounts.
  • Remember that blocks and filters are not 100% effective, and you can’t rely on them alone to protect your children, so remind them to tell you if they see something upsetting online.

Other useful websites:

  • – CEOP’s advice for parents
  • Resources and ‘hot topics’ for parents from Childnet
  • Top tips for staying safe online at Christmas – UK Safer Internet Centre

If you would like further support and advice regarding online safety, please contact Mrs Nuttall, computing teacher.
We’d like to wish you all a very happy and safe Christmas, both on and offline.