20 May 2021

Online Big Lunches can be a fun and inclusive way to connect with neighbours, friends and your community especially if some are isolating or anxious about meeting up face to face.  Here are our top tips for keeping online Big Lunches safe for everyone!

Know who's coming

Setting up registration for your onlibe Big Lunch is a great way to make sure you know who's coming.  Check out our video to see how to set up a registration link in your event - tick the box marked 'registration required'. Before you send out the invitation link, check the list of who's registered to make sure you're only sending it to people you want to come.

Use a waiting room

When setting up your Big Lunch on Zoom, look at the security section and make sure you tick the box marked 'waiting room'. This will put all participants into a waiting room when they join the call, allowing you to control who can come in.

Dealing with disruptive people

Hopefully your Big Lunch will run smoothly, with no hitches, but it's important to know how to deal with any incidents that might pop up.

  • If someone is abusive or disruptive, make sure you know how to mute their microphone or turn off their camera, by right clicking on their video and selecting this option.
  • If you need to, you can remove someone from the room by right clicking on their video and selecting remove.  If you do this, this person will not be able to rejoin the session - so a very useful option if you want to remove someone permanently, but be careful of using this accidentally!

Protecting younger people

If there are younger people on your call, you can take extra steps to prevent people from sending them private messages.  Under your general Zoom settings, go to 'In Meeting', and switch off the option for private chat.

Protecting personal information

Sometimes, Zoom can automatically give you a name that shows up on your video feed.  This is great if it's your actual name, but if it's your email address then that could share it with everyone!  If you see someone's name shows their personal details, you can ask them to remove themselves or do it yourself - just right click on their video and click 'rename'.

Remember, if you want to take a screenshot of your Big Lunch, be sure to ask everyone's permission to be included in the photo.  You can exclude people who don't want to be included in the photo by asking them to turn off their camera.  Then if you right click on the screen, select 'remove non-video participants' and it hides the blank boxes from the screen - without removing the people from the call.

* These tips are for Zoom which is the platform we use most often, other platforms will have their own safety features.

Got a question?  We're here to help!  Join our free 'how to' session on 31 May and put your questions to the experts! Register here.


Want some tips on how to make your Big Lunch fun? We have lots of ideas for games to play and things to do if you're hosting an online Big Lunch in our free pack - get your copy now!