St Paul's Catholic Primary School, V.A.

Journeying together in faith, hope and love.

Online Safety and Gaming Advice for Parents

At St Paul’s Catholic Primary School, VA, we understand the responsibility to educate our pupils in on-line safety issues; teaching them the appropriate behaviours and critical thinking skills to enable them to remain both safe and legal when using the internet and related technologies, in and beyond the context of the classroom.


Parents should refer to: for advice and up-to-date guidance. 


Online safety (E-safety) is a key part of our Computing curriculum. We recognise the wide range of web-based and mobile learning opportunities that are available to our children  and the constant fast-paced evolution of computing within our society as a whole. The key to promoting effective online safety is through open discussions with the children and through embedded e-safety learning. We signpost parents if any topics arise in school or in the media. eg. Fortnite and the use of Discord for chatting online. 


At different opportunities throughout the year we have a whole school focus on e-safety where we show age- appropriate films to warn of the dangers of online social media and gaming,class discussions and workshop activities and whole school and Key stage assemblies.


As you, our parents are at the forefront of your child's online safety outside the context of school  we deliver e-safety afternoon and evening presentations to inform you of the different ways you can help keep your child safe online. 


Please do speak to us if you have any concerns about anything your child is doing or experiencing on the internet!

What Parents Need to Know About Instagram and Snapchat.

What Parents Need to Know About Online Games

The following information was taken from the Spacetalk website. (


Fortnite, Minecraft, Roblox- we all know kids love online games, but to parents the whole thing can sometimes be a bit of a mystery. Unless you play the games yourself, understanding how they work and what’s involved can be a little overwhelming. We’re all aware of the risks that come with kids playing games online, from cyberbullying and stranger danger to viruses and privacy concerns. Thankfully, the more we understand something, the better equipped we are to notice if something is wrong and how to step in before it becomes a bigger problem.

In this post, we’ll run you through three of the most popular games kids are playing online, what to watch out for and what parents can do to keep kids safe while they play.

With over 350 million active users, Fortnite is one of the biggest games in the world. It’s a battle royale style game where 100 players drop onto a map and battle each other until there’s one winner still standing at the end.

To survive, players have to find weapons and gather resources to create defensive buildings to protect themselves from other players. This in itself is a strategy, with players building some truly amazing structures to outlast their opponents.

To add a sense of urgency to the game, there’s a slow-moving “storm” that forces players to move inwards closer to each other, adding a sense of urgency to knock down opponents quickly to be the last one left on the map.

Kids can customise their avatars appearance, weapons and items using real world money, which has earned the company 1.8 billion dollars in revenue last year alone. Phew!

Risks and online safety
Like any online game, there’s always a risk of coming across people who harass, threaten and cyberbully other players.

Fortnite has good range of parent controls. You can approve who you child can talk to over voice and text chat, to make sure they’re only talking to friends they know in real life. You can also turn these chats off completely.

Kids will need your Parent Controls PIN number to add friends, giving you the final say in who your child has on their friends list.

Kids can report abusive players using the in-game Feedback tool in the main menu, just make sure they know how to use this function by themselves.
You can find the Fortnite online safety and security guide here.

Minecraft is a game where kids ‘imagination and creativity knows no bounds. Players create their own world and shape it into whatever they want- they simply give it a name and start exploring!

Players can collect resources like wood and stone to make tools which they can use to get more resources. Using these tools, they can build whatever they like, from houses to fortresses. A quick online search will quickly show you some of the amazing things people have built, from palaces to entire metropolises.

Kids might come across monsters on their travels, from zombies and spiders to creepy glowing eyed creatures called endermen. There’s also a huge range of animals you can tame, including cats, donkeys, wolves and even parrots.

There are two game modes: creative lets players build and craft items without having to worry about fighting monsters, while adventure mode lets kids fight monsters and is a little more intense.

Risks and online safety
Minecraft in single player mode is generally safe for kids as there is no interaction with other players, however if your child is playing Minecraft online, there is always the risk they will come across unfriendly strangers.

There are parental controls that let you disable multiplayer features as well as the chat, plus options for kids to mute, block and report other players if they feel uncomfortable.

You can find the official Minecraft safety guide here.

Roblox is a bit different to Fortnite and Minecraft as it’s not a game in itself, rather it lets players create their own games on the Roblox Studio platform, that other users can play.

Kids can be as imaginative as they like as they when creating games, even learning a bit of computer coding while they’re at it.

While free to play, microtransactions apply when it comes to customising their character, with certain outfits and items using in-game currency called Robux, which can be purchased with real money.

Risks and online safety
Like Fortnite and Minecraft, Roblox has an online chat function where kids can interact with other players around the world.

Players will have different settings on their account based on their age, with Roblox filtering chats for inappropriate words and content for users under 12. Be sure to enter your child’s correct date of birth when creating their account.

Parent controls let you restrict or disable the chat and who kids can talk to, as well as restrict access to certain games (some player created games can be a bit violent for some kids).

Parental settings also let you set a monthly spending limit, ensuring your child doesn’t rack up a huge bill on your card. This can also be a good way to teach your child about budgeting.

You can find the Roblox safety guide here.

Parent tips
1) Play the game with your children
One of the best ways to learn about what your child is playing is to play with them. It can be a great way to bond, see how it all works and have some fun in the process.

2) Teach kids how to block and report
Make sure kids understand what to do if someone makes them feel angry, scared or upset. Explain that these behaviours are not ok and explain how to block and report offensive players.

3) Help kids find a balance
While games are a fun way to relax, it’s important to have a balance.
Set time limits for kids to play games, and balance it out with other activities like walking the dog or going for a bike ride.
Games can be a whole heap of fun not just for kids, but the whole family.
By understanding what safety settings are available, we can ensure kids have a happy, safe and fun online gaming experience.

Keeping Kids Safe While Gaming Online

Whether it’s on the computer, gaming console, tablet or phone, online games have become a huge part of kid’s free time fun.

This massive digital playground is home to hugely popular games like Fortnite, boasting an eye watering 350 million players worldwide. Games like Minecraft, Roblox and Rec Room are also popular with kids, letting them explore vast in-game worlds, express creativity through building and battle other players.

With over 80% of kids playing games online and more than half admitting to playing with strangers, it’s vital to teach kids online safety so they can enjoy games without the worry of unwanted contact or cyber bullying.

Online gaming risks and solutions

Cyber bullying: Any game that connects your child with other players has a cyber bullying risk. This could take the form of nasty messages over group chat, harassment, threatening or sexist comments, exclusion or ganging up and stealing in-game items. A startling 1 in 2 online gamers have experienced some form of cyber bullying while playing, making it vital to teach kids what behaviours are and aren’t ok online.

SolutionIf your child suddenly stops playing their game and seems quieter and more withdrawn than usual, it could be a sign they are being bullied online. Encourage them to tell you when someone’s upsetting then and make sure they know how to report and block users who are making them uncomfortable. Most online games will have a chat function and turning that off also reduces the risk of unwanted contact and cyber bullying.

Online stranger danger: As adults, we know people will lie about who they are online, but kids don’t always have this insight and could fall prey to someone else’s bad intentions. Kids don’t always think before they speak. These little slip ups are embarrassing at best (has anyone else had a mortifying situation in public when your child loudly asks, “why does that lady have a beard?”) but these slip ups can have serious implications online. Complete strangers can trick kids into giving information about where they live, what school they go to and whether they’re home alone. Scary stuff.

Solution: This is a good opportunity to have the online stranger danger discussion with your child. Monitor who your child is playing with and aim to limit this to people you and your child know in person.
Make sure kids play games in an area of the house where you can see them and hear what’s going on so you can step in if something doesn’t sound right.

Microtransactions: Many online games are free but make their money by offering in-game purchases like skins and items for your child’s character for a small fee. Roblox has a virtual currency (called Robux) purchased using real world money that players exchange for in-game items. While some of these items might only be a couple of pounds, kids have been known to rack up bills in the thousands on their parents’ cards, making these often “free” games a massive financial burden if not properly monitored.

Solution: Don’t save any card details on your phone or computer and set up authentication for purchases.
If kids earn their pocket money and want to spend it in-game, this could be a great opportunity to teach them the value of money and how to balance spending and saving.


Malware: Almost every online activity has a cybersecurity risk. Malware, or “malicious software” are programs that can damage and disable any computer system, whether it’s a phone, laptop, computer or tablet.
Malware can be hidden in ads, tucked away in email links or messages and in third party downloads for games, with kids not knowing what they’re installing is actually a virus.

Solution: Kids do make mistakes and can accidentally click on the wrong thing. Installing anti-virus software is essential in giving your family an added layer of protection when it comes to scammers, viruses and malware. Chatting with kids about what games they enjoy and how they work is a fantastic opportunity to start a discussion about appropriate behaviours online. Playing games with your child is not only a great way to understand what they’re playing and how it all works, but also gives you some additional bonding time.


To learn more about the different types of online games, statistics and gaming terms and slang, Internet Matters have a fantastic guide for parents with gaming advice guides for different age groups.

NSPCC links for Online Safety

E-Safety Video for Years 4/5/6


Please have a look at the video we have shown to the children in Years 4/5/6 as part of our E-Safety work.

Useful websites when using the internet: