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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 210

Date:- 17  July 2005

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"Children are now equally at risk when playing indoors as outdoors" says Internet safety expert.

* 59% of Northern children surveyed will use the Internet unsupervised during the school holidays 
* 43% of children in the North intend to use the Internet more in the holidays than during term time 
* 56% of Northern children will use chatrooms or Instant Messenger to chat online during the holidays
* 37% of children in the North have made new friends online, 54% of these children would agree to meet up with them over the summer - 4% would do so without their parents' knowledge 

A survey of British children and their parents carried out for leading electrical retailer, Comet, has revealed that internet usage amongst children dramatically increases over the summer holidays, and with it the risk of exposure to unsuitable material and inappropriate adults. 

John Carr, Internet Advisor and expert on fighting child abuse online, comments:- "I welcome the timely findings of this study. The long summer holidays are exactly the time of year when parents need to be extra vigilant about their child's online activities. Parents are worried about their children's safety when they play outside or are away from home when, in actual fact, these survey results show children can be equally at risk when playing indoors as they can outdoors." 

In response to the survey findings, Comet is now offering a one year subscription to CyberPatrol, the market-leading parental control software, free with every purchase of a computer to help safeguard against the many threats children face online.

Heavy usage:- The Comet survey reveals access to the Internet is now virtually universal, only 2% of parents surveyed in the North said their child will not use the Internet during the holidays.

43% of the Northern children surveyed, already use the internet on average between 1 to 9 hours per week and 15% use the internet on average between 9 to 20 hours a week during term time. However, almost half of the children surveyed in the North, 43%, said they will spend more time on the net in the holidays than during term time, of those children, 50% said they would use the internet' a lot more' over the summer.

Logging on:- In terms of what Northern children like to do on their computers, 72% like to browse the net for fun, 55% use their PC to send and receive emails whilst 56% use chatrooms and Instant Messenger.

Lack of supervision:- 59% of children surveyed in the North, said that they will use the internet unsupervised during the summer holidays. These findings are worrying because a government study of 1,511 children and young people aged 9 to 19 published earlier this year showed that almost half of children, 46%, have divulged personal information online thus potentially putting themselves at risk. 

The government study confirmed that 69% of 9 to 17 year olds resent parents restricting or monitoring their Internet use and that 63% of 12 to 19 year olds have hidden their online activities from their parents. 

Online friends:- The Comet survey revealed that 37% of children in the North have made new friends online. Of those children, 84% said they will chat to their new friends online over the summer and 54% confirmed they would agree to meet these new friends in person if asked. Worryingly, 4% of these children said they would meet their new online friends without their parents’ knowledge.

Peter Robbins, CEO from the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) adds:- "Many young people do not apply reasoned thinking skills to online content. Research has shown that while awareness of risks is higher among parents, there still remains a lot of confusion about what to do about the risks. Parents need more practical advice and guidance in getting the most out of the Internet and this initiative by Comet is a positive step to enabling parents and carers to protect their children online." 

Bill Moir, Comet's Head of Computing, comments:- "We've supported internet safety for many years now but are aware that there is still a mountain to climb when it comes to educating parents and children about how to stay safe when using the net. As a responsible retailer, we feel it is imperative to help give parents the tools to help keep their families safe online which is why we're now offering free Internet safety software with every PC purchase. In addition, Comet will be distributing free leaflets in every store containing guidance on internet safety throughout the summer holidays, this leaflet is also available online." 

Kids - Follow the Comet Digicode and stay safe on the net!

The 'Digicode' is a simple reminder for children to help keep them safe...

Don't give out personal details
If someone asks your name, always get the OK from your parents/carer
Guard your passwords, keep them secret
It's important to tell your parents/carer anything that worries you
Check with a trusted grown-up before entering chatrooms
Online friends are fab but take a grown-up along if you're meeting up with them
Delete emails from anyone you don't recognize, especially attachments
Enjoy the Internet but be safe!

To download advice on internet safety, log onto Also here at Southport Reporter, you can also get some free advice and also help you by ringing us on 01704 513 569. We will be running a set to stories over the summer holidays to show perants what to look for, who to contact for help and advice and safety tips.

Over 1 million owner managers could be breaking the law

OVER one million drivers are potentially breaking the law by using private cars for business purposes without appropriate insurance. There are an estimated 4 million owner-run small businesses operating in the UK, according to latest figures.

A survey of 430 small business operators by discovered that 30% of owner/managers admitting to either not having (21%) or not knowing (9%) whether they had the appropriate insurance cover when driving on business. The survey found 82% of owner managers admitting they drove at least 50 business-related miles per week, with 26% driving over 500 miles a week for work purposes. 40% said they drove on business 5 times a week.

Andrew Dunkerley, Marketing Director of, comments:- “With larger taxable benefits now associated with company cars, SME owners and many of their employees are increasingly moving out of company car schemes, choosing to use their own private vehicles for business travel.  Despite this increased popularity of personal car use, our survey findings expose a lack of awareness of the need for specific motor insurance policy cover when driving on business.  In simple terms, if they are not properly insured they are breaking the law. It is a really serious matter.”

Insurance groups advise motorists to consider the issues before using their personal car for business matters to avoid unnecessary grey areas in the event of an accident. For example, if an accident does occur while driving to a business meeting, and business cover is not included in the motor insurance policy (such that any claim can be turned down by the Insurance Company) is the individual or business responsible? Employers can be liable for negligence of their employees during working time, so it is essential that owner managers ensure their staff have the correct business cover on their motor insurance policy. 

Andrew Dunkerley, continued:- “It is essential that owner managers or employees of SMEs review their motor insurance policies to check whether they are properly covered if they are using their own cars for work matters.  Just look at you policy document and check to see it covers business usage as well as personal usage.”

Primark buy 120 Littlewoods high street stores

RETAIL union Usdaw is seeking urgent talks with senior management at budget clothing giants, Primark, after the shock announcement they are to buy 120 Littlewoods stores across the UK. The sale, announced this week, finally settles months of media speculation about the future of Littlewoods' high street stores, where Usdaw represents staff in all 120 outlets and the company head office in Liverpool. 

Union officials have requested a meeting this week with senior Primark management to discuss their plans for these prime high street sites and the staff employed in those stores.

Primark saw their profits soar by 23% last year in a budget clothes market, estimated to be worth £10 billion by 2009 and Usdaw officials are keen to see the long-term business strategy for the sites they have just bought from Littlewoods.

"We welcome this sale as it finally clears up the damaging uncertainty for our members about the future of these stores,"
says Usdaw National Officer John Gorle. "The vast majority of our members are long serving and loyal Littlewoods employees, and we will be urging Primark to do everything they can to retain that pool of highly skilled workers. We have an existing recognition agreement with Primark and will be using that relationship to make sure the Littlewoods stores employees are protected in what will be undoubtedly a worrying time for them. Our officials will be using our well established team of reps in the 120 stores to make sure our members are kept fully informed of all decisions at every step of the negotiations with Primark. Primark is a market leader in the booming budget clothing market and when we meet them we will be making the absolutely compelling case for retaining existing Littlewoods staff who will make sure the newly acquired sites perform to their maximum potential."

Continued passenger growth brings 32% increase

THE number of passengers using Liverpool John Lennon Airport continues to rise. In June there was a 32% increase compared to the same period last year with an additional 100,000 passengers using the Airport. Total throughput for the first 6 months of this year is 26% higher than in 2004 as the Airport's annual passenger throughput closes in on the 4 million passenger a year milestone, which the Airport expects to be celebrating in the next few months for the first time in its history.

As in previous recent months, the new Ryanair, Flybe and other low cost services are now having a significant impact on the Airport's business. An additional 22 new services have commenced from the Airport over the past 12 months alone and record passenger figures are forecast in the coming weeks as the Airport builds up to what is traditionally its busiest period of the year, with the commencement of the school holidays.

Robin Tudor, Corporate Affairs Manager for Liverpool John Lennon Airport commented:- "Liverpool has gained a reputation as one of the UK's fastest growing airports and the figures released today show that this rapid passenger growth is set to continue. Many of the new services are proving extremely popular as are some of the more well established destinations and it is now just a matter of time before we break through the 4 million passenger a year mark."
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