Attention users of iPads: iPadOS13 is released


On September, Apple released iOS13 for its range of iPhones and iPads. A special version (iPadOS) has been created for iPads that is different from that used by iPhones and is designed to make your iPad more powerful and capable.

Among the many improvements are faster and more responsive performance, easier multitasking, new home screen, easier text editing, new importable fonts, more organised file handling, and a range of other improvements.

I strongly recommend parents update their child’s iPad to iOS13.

eSafety Commissioner’s latest research: Parenting in the digital age


The latest research from the eSafety Commissioner focuses on parents’ experiences raising children in an online world. It provides insights into how parents assess and react to their children’s negative online experiences.

Key findings include:

  • 94% of parents agree their child’s online safety is important
  • when it comes to their kids’ online safety, parents are most concerned about exposure to inappropriate content; unwanted contact from strangers; being bullied online
  • only 46% of parents feel confident dealing with online risks their kids might face
  • only one third of parents actively seek out info on how to manage online safety
  • 95% of parents agreed they need additional online safety information.

Read the full report here

View the online safety guide for parents

All Essential Apps are essential


Unfortunately, it is necessary to remind parents that all students using iPads are expected to have ALL of the apps listed in our BeLearning Lounge, regardless if they are free or not. While we try to reduce the total cost of the apps, occasionally it is necessary to purchase some apps. It is worthwhile noting that these apps are used over many years.

The apps list in the BeLearning Lounge can be found by clicking the eLearning item in the Resources menu of our BeaconNet Portal or at .

Beaconhills College has achieved eSmart School Status


The eSmart Schools program is funded by the government and developed by the Alannah and Madeline Foundation. “An eSmart school is a school where the smart, safe and responsible use of information and communications technology is a cultural norm. Students, teachers and the wider school community are equipped to embrace the best these technologies can offer, while being savvy about the pitfalls.”

After two short years, and a lot of work by members of the Cyber-COM committee, Beaconhills College has earned accreditation as an eSmart School. We have run poster competitions, posted displays in the libraries (with help from some great librarians), selfie competitions in front of the displays, recorded messages from leaders of one section to students of a younger section, cyber-safety trivia quiz in tutor groups, used eSmart Commissioner activities in classes, and held information sessions for staff and parents.

We will not rest though, and will continue to improve awareness among our community and educate our students, parents and teachers in how to use technology in a safe and protected manner.

eSmart Resources for Parents and Teachers


We held some eSmart Sessions for parents and staff on October 8 and 9, in which our presenter addressed a range of issues that affect young people and their families in today’s digital age. He provided these documents to be distributed:

Cyber Issues: This list outlines significant issues children and young people face when online.

Parent Resources: Links and information of online resources.

Top Ten Tips: for parenting in the digital age.

You can also access our Online Safety and Digital Citizenship page of our BeLearning Lounge for a range of resources and information about digital reputations in the digital age.

Michael Torsello
College eLearning Coordinator


Apple Parent Night exclusively for Beaconhills College parents – Nov 19


Even after the event described below, the staff at Apple Fountain Gate still offer the special prices and service to members of the Beaconhills College community. Just mention that your child attends/will attend Beaconhills to take advantage of this offer.

Parents can purchase Apple iPads and MacBooks, covers, bags and other accessories on the Beaconhills Apple BYOD portal, and get custom engraving. Alternatively parents can buy the items on the Parent Night.

On Monday, November 19, 2018, the Apple Store in Fountain Gate will remain open exclusively for parents of current and future Beaconhills College students. From normal closing time, 5pm to 7pm, the Apple staff will be available to assist parents with purchases of Apple devices and accessories.

A feature of this night is that the store staff can recommend a device based on the College requirements at Beaconhills College pricing. There will be multiple relevant ‘Today at Apple’ sessions running on night for parents. Assistance will be available for both parents and children to guide you through setting up the iPad, creating or using an Apple ID account, installing apps and demonstrating key skills.

Apple pride themselves on their two week return policy, so any hard decisions on colours can be addressed should they arise. As well as this, there is the personal touch of providing custom engraving.

Apple also offer ‘GiveBack’ trade-ins of their old devices to save a little bit more on their new iPads.

To allow the Apple Store to be prepared for the number of guests, we ask parents to indicate their intention to attend by booking a free ticket at the College Shop’s Box Office.

eSmart Workshops for Parents – October 8 and 9, 2018



Beaconhills College will be hosting free two workshops for parents on the topic “Parenting in the Digital World” run by eSmart, the Alannah and Madeline Foundation.

“Supporting parents to play an active role in their child’s digital world. This session includes detailed information on risks and opportunities afforded by technology for young people, with practical tips on how to stay safe.

The workshop presents a selection of advice based on formal research and our extensive work with schools, children and their parents.”


  • You will appreciate the risks and opportunities afforded by technology for young people
  • You will explore the latest research in screen/ online behaviours
  • You will learn how to emphasise the importance of open communication and connectedness in keeping young people safe, off and online

The two workshops, which are identical, will be held from 7pm to 8pm at each campus:

Oct 8: Pakenham Year 9 Centre (note change of venue)
Oct 9: Berwick Performing Arts Hall.

Parents of Beaconhills College are encouraged to attend whichever session suits best, depending on time and location. There is no charge for these workshops.

Parents are asked to book free tickets through the College Shop, to assist us with numbers.

Do you know which apps are installed on your child’s iPad, and should you?


Parents are correct to be interested in the apps that are installed on their child’s iPad. If left unsupervised, children can install a variety of apps that range from educational to social media to games, but are they suitable for your child?

How can you keep an eye on this?

  • Can I restrict what my child can do on the iPad?
    There are features on the iPad that allow parents to place restrictions on what the child can do, including installing apps. Parents can also apply Family-Sharing so that app purchases, and other functions, have to be approved.
    See Parental Controls on iPads in our BeLearning Lounge for more details.
    However, we ask that restrictions are not placed on Internet access or mail, as these are required in class and sufficiently controlled at school.


  • Does the app have a rating that is suitable for the child’s age?
    All apps have a rating assigned to them and these can be viewed in the App Store; the apps installed for school are now all rated 4+.
    Parents should be aware of the rating when a child asks to install a new app. Many social media and game apps are rated 13+, some game apps are 18+.


  • Can my child hide apps from me?
    There are apps called Vault Apps that look and operate like a normal app, such as a calculator, but when used with the correct passcode, while open to show various hidden content. See here for more details and examples.
    Alternatively your child could install a jailbreak app, that bypasses all restrictions and limitations placed on the iPad.

The best approach is to sit down with your child and be interested in what they do with their iPad.

Michael Torsello
College eLearning Coordinator

Apps and their Ratings


It has come to our attention that some of the apps listed as Essential Apps in our BeLearning Lounge and therefore expected to be installed on every student’s iPad, have a higher rating than is appropriate for our students.

These apps are Pic Collage, YouTube and QR Reader.

Pic Collage, which is free, is rated 12+ and therefore is not recommended for students from Year 3 to 6. There is a Pic Collage Edu version that is rated 4+  and costs $2.99.

The YouTube app is rated 17+ but the YouTube Kids app is rated 4+. This app is free.

QR Reader is rated 9+, but a similar app QR Reader by Scan is rated 4+. This app is free.

We ask that parents remove the inappropriate app and install the one with a suitable rating.

Links to all the recommended apps can be found in our BeLearning Lounge.

While we try our best to ensure that we recommend apps that are suitable for our students, these apps can have their ratings changed without notice. We will endeavour to check the ratings at the end of every year.

PS While the SnapChat and Instagram apps are rated 12+, it is worth noting that the SnapChat site is rated 16+, while the Instagram site is rated 15+. It is distressing to see how many of our young students have access to these social media apps.