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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 188

Date:- 19 February 2005

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How many hours do teenagers really spend on the Internet?

AN ONLINE snapshot survey by Letts Educational's revision website, lettsrevise.com, revealed that a massive 77% of teenagers spend between 5 to10 hours a week online, with a third of children overall staying online for more than 10 hours. 

"It's clear that Internet usage amongst teenagers has risen sharply over the last few years. Whilst teenagers undoubtedly use the Internet for leisure activities, the web also plays an important part in extending their learning. The Government is committed to getting all schools online and a large number of teenagers now use the internet to support their education both at school and at home,"
said Peter Stafford from Letts Educational. 

"From our experience alone, we can see large numbers of teenagers using the Internet to help them revise for their SATs and GCSEs. Last year alone, just over 40,000 GCSE students signed up to our revision website, www.lettsrevise.com, and since the site's refresh and the addition of the new Key Stage 3 area in November, there has been an incredible amount of interest."

Lettsrevise.com is designed to put a bit of fun into revision. The quick-fire timed multiple-choice quiz has a bank of thousands of questions written by Letts Educational's Success Guide authors. 

This year, the site has an additional section for Key Stage 3 students, which allows 11 to 14 year olds to choose questions from one subject or from all 3 of those included in the SATs. The site also offers the same function for GCSE students, enabling them to pick 1 subject to focus on or try a mix of any combination of up to 7 core GCSE subjects. Revisers can also now receive their test results so they can track their progress and they can even send the same test to a friend to see how they get on! Detailed answer feedback tells them what they got wrong, as well as highlighting the right answer.

EASE TRAFFIC CONGESTION WITH BROADBAND

A VIDEO conferencing initiative is demonstrating how local businesses can reduce travel time and related costs by web conferencing and that they can also improve internal and external communications, increase efficiency and decrease time to market using the latest ICT technology.

The pilot, run by Mersey Broadband in conjunction with ConferencePlus is offering web conferencing trials. A combination of demonstration seminars and free trial periods of web and audio conferencing introduces the essential components and best uses of teleworking.

Mersey Broadband's Teleworking Project Manager, Ian Montgomery said:- "We are offering a range of benefits such as free audio and web conferencing covering around 20 meetings and a 50% discount on standard audio rates for SMEs who wish to set up an account and continue to use ConferencePlus audio and web services after the trial period."

The project is also offering a web conference event showcasing teleworking and specialist advice on making it a success, including seminars focusing on specific applications such as training in health and safety & HR and demonstrations of PC-based applications and effective virtual presentations. 

Ian continued:- "Companies who get most from this pilot are those with geographically dispersed offices or staff, those whose infrastructure relies heavily on efficient communication or those looking to enable teleworking as a culture in their organisation"

Taking part in this pilot are Southport based, BW business solutions. Proprietor, Brian Wray, commented:- "As a small business we at BW business solutions are always short of time during the business day. Using ConferencePlus products over the broadband trial, will enable us to conduct meetings with people from all over the country without having to leave the office, saving on travel costs, time and wear and tear on the individual from early starts and late finishes."

Mersey Broadband, a 2-year project, led by Liverpool Chamber of Commerce & Industry and funded by the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA), is promoting business use of Broadband technology to SMEs throughout the region.

Kevin Morley, NWDA Head of ICT Policy, said:- "This project demonstrates just one of the many ways in which broadband can benefit business, improving communications, reducing costs, and increasing efficiency. As well as providing a useful insight into best practice, this project offers the specialist advice required to enable businesses on Merseyside to take advantage of more flexible working solutions." 

If you think your business could benefit from this project, call us on 0845 145 1115 to find out more, or email:- teleworking@merseybroadband.com  Mersey Broadband is also holding regular, free demonstrations of this technology at its centre in Chapel Street, Liverpool.

PM must embrace new technologies to meet pledge on treating families

UK'S LEADING healthcare trade association welcomes General Election pledge but warns Government must encourage medical innovations and speedier adoptions in the NHS to deliver on health

The UK's leading healthcare trade association today welcomed the Prime Minister's pledge on health to see that families are treated better and faster but warned that medical innovations would have to be embraced for him to honour his pledge.

The Association of British Healthcare Industries (ABHI) said that despite the UK having a world-class medical technology industry, lots of medical breakthroughs do not reach the patient. This means patients' lives are risked through less effective treatments.

In addition, substantial cost-saving opportunities through more efficient treatments are being missed. The ABHI argues that over-emphasis on initial purchase price leads to the use of treatments, which are both more costly in the long-term and can have painful or even fatal consequences for patients.

The ABHI said that whilst there had been considerable investment into the NHS in recent years, the UK was still well below the EU average for spending on new technologies as a proportion of the annual health budget.

According to an OECD report last year the UK spends well below the European average on new medical technology. France, Spain and Portugal all spend more than the UK on medical technology while Germany invests 8.6% of its healthcare budget on new technology compared with just 4.8% in the UK. The EU average is 6.4%.

John Wilkinson, Director General of the ABHI, said:- "Health is the key issue on which the parties must convince the public in the forthcoming General Election.

Whilst the substantial investment that has been put into the NHS should make a difference to people's lives, that money has to be spent wisely for the public to actually benefit.

That means the Government must ensure that the health service is able to trial and buy cutting-edge technologies and address the current slow take-up.

One major way forward is laid out in the Healthcare Industries Task Force (HITF), which saw the public and private sectors, along with clinicians and patient groups, working together to develop initiatives to improve and speed up patient treatment, as well as to potentially save the NHS millions long-term."

Lighting up stubs out the passion

A SURVEY released today by the NHS Smoking Helpline has revealed that smoking can seriously damage your love life. 20% of 18-35 year olds questioned said they believed that non-smokers make better lovers, and 40% said they had argued with their partner about quitting. 

The good news is that people in Merseyside who want to stub out the weed have access to a wide range of support, thanks to The Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation. 70% of smokers want to stop and The Foundation operates almost 40 smoking cessation clinics and Fag Ends support groups in and around Merseyside, helping smokers to not only stop smoking, but also stay stopped. More than 50% of the people have still quit after 4 weeks and almost 33% of those have still quit after a year.

However, with 450 children in the UK taking up the habit every day, The Foundation also works hard to target young people on the dangers of smoking. The KATS Program (Kids Against Tobacco Smoke) is part of The Foundation's overall strategic approach to reduce the incidence of lung cancer and to improve lung cancer patient care. The Support Groups are seeing an increasing number of young people seeking support to stop smoking.

The Foundation's Chief Executive, Mike Unger said:- "By reducing the numbers of young people taking up smoking we can make a huge impact to prevent the rising cases of lung cancer.

A report by the Royal College of Physicians shows that by the age of 10, as many as 40% of boys and 28% of girls have had at least a few puffs of a cigarette. In order to encourage young people to accept non-smoking as the norm, anti-smoking messages must start when children are very young."

Added Mike:- "Smoking is addictive and many of the children and young people who start to smoke will go on to smoke all of their lives. Half of those who do will die, many prematurely, of tobacco related illnesses."

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