Meeting KCSIE’s 4 C’s of online safety

How can the OSA Certificate of
Online Safety help you address
the four KCSIE areas of online
safety risk: content, contact,
conduct and commerce?

Please note, this article provides a summary of how our courses for pupils (KS3, KS4 and KS5) address the 4 C’s of online safety risk as defined by KCSIE 2021. Our CPD-accredited course for school staff is even more closely aligned to the requirements of KCSIE, covering all elements which relate to online safety along with the latest guidance and regulations from Ofsted and the DfE. Please visit here for more details on our course for school staff. If you want to know more about our provision for pupils, please read on…


‘Content: being exposed to illegal, inappropriate or harmful content, for example: pornography, fake news, racism, misogyny, self-harm, suicide, anti-Semitism, radicalisation and extremism’ (KCSIE 2021).

All levels of the Certificate have a module titled ‘Reviewing Digital Information’ (adapted to suit the different age groups). These cover fake news and misinformation in detail, providing examples and giving pupils the tools to make sound judgements on the validity of information they are receiving. The module also investigates examples of online racist content, radicalisation by right-wing groups, and online anti-Semitic content. Racism, radicalisation and extremism are also covered in the ‘Grooming explained’ modules (all age groups; light touch at KS3 but more detail at KS4-5).

Misogyny is also covered in the ‘Reviewing Digital Information’ modules at KS4 and KS5; this covers the impacts of misogynistic online content and goes on to investigate the incel movement. The KS4 and KS5 modules on reviewing digital information finish with an analysis on self-harm and suicide content, but the focus here is very much on seeking support if such distressing content is encountered or if the child is having thoughts of self-harm.

Pornography is a topic that has now been moved into the new modules on ‘Online relationships’ in the KS3 course and ‘Nudes, pornography and sexual harassment’ at KS4 and KS5. This topic is covered with a lighter touch in KS3 than in the courses for older pupils; Scenario 5 in the ‘online relationships’ module (slides 26-27) affords pupils the opportunity to consider a scenario in which pupils have shared pornography and in the review, it reflects on concerns for young people accessing such material as well as the legal situation around under 18’s sharing pornography. At KS4 and KS5, issues around pornography are covered in more detail in the new module ‘nudes, pornography and sexual harassment’ (slides 52-56).


Contact: being subjected to harmful online interaction with other users; for example: peer to peer pressure, commercial advertising and adults posing as children or young adults with the intention to groom or exploit them for sexual, criminal, financial or other purposes’ (KCSIE 2021).

Online Safety

All levels of the Certificate have a module in grooming which addresses many issues of Contact, including sexual and criminal grooming. This has been updated for this year to reflect in more detail on the topic of County Lines with courses for older students. The new module on relationships goes into detail to investigate peer-to-peer pressures, drawing on Ofsted’s findings relating to contact between children and the pressure to send nudes along with instances of unwanted sexual content being received. The new module on cyber security investigates additional ways in which children can be contacted by others for criminal or financial gain, e.g. through phishing emails and other digital scams.


Conduct: personal online behaviour that increases the likelihood of, or causes, harm; for example, making, sending and receiving explicit images (e.g consensual and non-consensual sharing of nudes and semi-nudes and/or pornography, sharing other explicit images and online bullying’ (KCSIE 2021).

The making, sending and receiving of explicit images is covered in detail on the new modules on relationships included in all levels of the OSA Certificate. The KS3 and KS4 Certificates both include modules specifically addressing online bullying, investigating the different forms it can take and the possible impacts on both the bully and the victim. The courses include age-appropriate considerations for appropriate use of social media, encouraging students to reflect on how posts can be perceived as being offensive and how to ensure they are developing a positive digital footprint.


Commerce – risks such as online gambling, inappropriate advertising, phishing and or financial scams’ (KCSIE 2021).

All levels of OSA Certificates now include age-appropriate modules on cyber-security. These raise awareness of areas including phishing and financial scams and educate pupils on how they can reduce their vulnerability.

At KS3, the concept of online gambling is raised in the reference to the dangers of loot boxes in the ‘reviewing digital information’ module. This is expanded with older students to also consider skin gambling.

Further details: OSA Certificate of Online Safety, KS3-KS5