In 1973, the BBC launched a new TV programme – Why Don’t You? (Or: Why Don’t You Just Switch Off Your Television Set and Go and Do Something Less Boring Instead?) It ran until 1995 and featured ideas for children as to what they could do (such as learn something, play a game, or have a day out); make something (usually crafts using paper and glue), or other fun activities (such as learning a magic trick to impress friends etc).

It was almost ground-breaking at the time – telling you to actually switch of the TV and amuse yourself in other ways – so now, with children of today having more technology than ever to keep them entertained, maybe it would be a good idea to bring it back?

From PCs to tablets; from films to online games and videos, as well as social media, all of us (and not just children!) have access to hours of entertainment, all from the click of a mouse or the swipe of a tablet screen.

There are concerns, however, that peoples’ reliance on technology is turning them in to so-called digital addicts – so dependent on technology, that it leads to behavioural symptoms similar to any addictive disorder.

There have been many studies in to the effects of constant use of gadgets and devices:

  • 62% of children aged 3-5 are able to turn a computer off and on, and 47% are able to navigate a smartphone or tablet, according to research from AVG. What is concerning, however, is that only 23% of these children can swim unaided, 58% are able to ride a bike, and 38% can write both their first and last names;
  • according to The Telegraph newspaper, a quarter of Britons spend longer online each day than they do asleep while almost three-quarters (73%) would struggle to get through the whole day without their phones or computers;
  • texting is becoming the most popular method of communicating, with 84% of people communicating this way;
  • 28% of UK children aged 2 to 15 are classed as obese which can not only be blamed to a poor diet, rich in sugars and fatty foods, but a lack of physical exercise. More and more children sit down and engage with technology after school, rather than playing outside with their friends;
  • an independent study revealed that only 16% of children use technology associated with reading i.e. Kindles and other e-readers.

There are also concerns over the development of social skills, as addressed by this blog.

So, what can you do if you feel that you’re a digital addict, or that your child is one?

You can pledge to give up all technology, either as an individual or together as a family, for one hour every day for a week, and see how it makes you a feel and reconnect as a family. There is an excellent website, TechTimeout.com, where you can make your pledge, as well as pick up useful tips and ideas on what to do instead. Just some of the ideas listed by the site include making a pizza from scratch, playing with a pet, having a family picnic or volunteering.

Steve Dilworth from Foresters, the international financial services and membership organisation fronting the Tech Timeout campaign, comments:

“In this digital age, it is not surprising that we find ourselves interacting with technology as much as, or possibly more than, we interact with the people around us.  With technological devices continually evolving to become as sophisticated, time-saving and entertaining as possible, it is all too easy to be lured into the trap of becoming reliant on technology to keep us occupied.  Whilst there is no doubt that technology has brought a great many improvements to our lives, we have to be careful not to develop a digital addiction.”

There is no doubt that technology has its place in our modern world, but the potentially huge emotional and physical benefits of getting off your chair and doing something completely different instead cannot be underestimated.

Steve Dilworth is MD of the Member Network UK at Foresters, the international financial services (FS) and membership organisation. He has extensive experience within the charity and FS sector, with a First Class Honours Degree in Economics and a Degree in FS. He is Chair of Soho Ltd, a subsidiary of Soho Housing Association, and Chairs Bromley Neighbourhood Police Panel. In 2012 he was elected as a Community Champion for the London Borough of Bromley.

Impact Learning

Customer service is an essential aspect of any business. After all, the customers are one of the most crucial components of any business. Keeping them happy is of the utmost importance to ensure that they keep coming back for more and that they provide good reviews of their experiences with businesses. For some customers, one of the most important aspects that they look for in a business is how good the customer service is. Customers like a customer service team that is friendly, helpful and respectful and helps them get their problems solved in a direct manner.

Business owners might benefit from providing their employees with customer service training to ensure that they are serving their customers to the best of their abilities. In some cases, the successfulness of a business can hinge on customers’ customer service experience, so ensuring that a business’s customer service team is up to par is essential for many business owners. There are a variety of customer service training programs on the market, such as Impact Learning, that are designed to train customer service representatives with how to provide customers with the world-class customer service that they expect. Many businesses report that they experience an increase in their customers’ resolution rates after they’ve had their staff trained via a customer service training program. Such programs can motivate representatives to want to help customers and can help unite representatives in a team spirit. When employees are more motivated, businesses tend to be more successful and have better environments.

Finding the Perfect Personalized Baby Gift

If you are looking for personalized baby gifts, you need to keep in mind that there is a balance that needs to be struck. First off, you should look at gifts that are for the child. Next, you have to consider that the gift might really be more for the parents anyway. At the same time, you have to think about what the child will think of the gift after he or she grows up, so it should have some lasting power.

For instance, you might get the baby a book with his name on the inside of the cover. It could be a beautiful book with great illustrations, but the child is not actually going to be able to enjoy it for a few years. This is a gift that is more for the parents, who will think that it is exciting and precious, so make sure that you get something that they will like as well. When the child grows up, he could appreciate the book more, and he may really love it in adulthood because it will be a nostalgic item that brings back memories of his childhood – even though he will not remember actually getting it.

As long as you keep all of this in mind while you are trying to decide what you should get, you will be able to find the perfect item. You can see how choosing the right one is so important because it could impact a number of different people.

Weirdest Holidays and Observances in April

April has more offbeat holidays than April Fool’s Day. April holidays that are meant to help everything from poor foot health to emotional overeating. The past Miss America contestants must have loved the month of April as it is also the month designated to promote awareness of genocide and human rights awareness, otherwise known as world peace.

The month of April is full of holidays and observances that are mean everything from the rebirth of Christ to ensuring that all podiatry needs are taken care of.

Weird Days in April that Are Actually Holidays

Believe it or not, many different groups of people can create a nationally or locally recognized holiday. A few official holidays that are best described as delightfully offbeat are listed below:

  • April 2nd is National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day
  • The first Wednesday in April is National Walking Day
  • April 5th is National Deep Dish Pizza Day
  • April 6th is National Student Athlete Day
  • April 10th is National Farm Animal Day
  • April 11th is National Pet Day
  • April 27th is National Pet Parent’s Day

Note: There is some ongoing debate as to whether Hair Stylist Appreciation day is on April 30th or April 25th. However, it still exists.

National Foot Awareness Month

It is important to keep feet and ankles healthy, especially as it is easy to ignore foot problems until something goes wrong. Podiatrists are usually the most enthusiastic about National Foot Awareness Month. Foot problems are numerous, and it is helpful to have the entire month of April to help people be more aware of the value of food and ankle health. Foot problems addressed range from fungus that is difficult to hammer toe. Podiatrists spread patient awareness about different treatments for foot and ankle problems as well as ongoing treatments that patients can do at home.

National Facial Protection Month

Not interested in being left out of the fun, the American Dental Association successfully lobbied for April to also be National Facial Protection Month. The main focus on facial protection is to encourage athletes to keep all of teeth intact when playing sports by wearing appropriate mouth guards or other forms of facial protection. Orthodontists and oral surgeons also actively promote National Facial Protection Month by encouraging patient education about the importance of wearing appropriate mouth guards when participating in sports.

National Adopt a Greyhound Month

April is also National Adopt a Greyhound Month. Adopting a dog that is built to run fast can do more give athletes a new furry friend. A greyhound is arguably a much better investment than a gym membership as dogs tend to demand exercise. Greyhounds deserve to be recognized as skinny canines with cute noses that can make great family pets. Owners that regularly run marathons can count on a new running partner that will never demand an unnecessary break, even if their new running buddy has four legs.

Celebrate April

There are some prevalent religious holidays in April, but the month of foot health, deep dish pizzas, and greyhounds can be celebrated until the end. Don’t stop with a simple April Fool’s prank. Show your hairstylist, your dentist, and your podiatrist some appreciation.

Please feel free to contact Ella Gray at ella.l.gray@gmail.com with any questions that you may have.

Learning to speak a second language is certainly not the easiest thing to do, but it can be done with effective application of some proven tips. The first step a student must take is to enroll in ESL English as a second language course with an accredited institution. After having done so, it is up to the student to do the work to complete the course while gaining a solid understanding of the objectives. As students work towards achieving the satisfaction and education that comes with the completion of a course, they may find these tips to be helpful in effectively mastering this complex language.

Maintain a Positive Outlook

For starters, students should have a desire to learn and an interest in what it takes to be able to speak, write, read, and communicate in English. This motivation can often assist in providing students with the reasoning to keep going even if certain parts of the course are more difficult than others. When a student has a positive attitude and is dedicated to completing the task at hand, he may often find a larger amount of success than a student who has a poor attitude or no desire to learn. Read the rest of this entry

Innovative Course Access for Degree Advancement

Looking for an individualized and personalized educational experience to earn an advanced degree? An online masters program may be just the format to deliver a connection to develop increased skills unlike any you thought possible.
Innovative online courses, such as those available in the online masters in education from Monash offer multiple modes of access like audio, video and chat present material for better understanding. Your knowledge depth will increase and be reinforced through several modes that support internalization. You won’t just memorize material to get by in the program courses- you will gain insight and be able to apply your new education to your job situation.

The networking capabilities of using your laptop, tablet or mobile device means you can access your classes from anywhere at any time. This allows you to learn on your schedule and earn an advanced qualification that may previously have been elusive because of other commitments or distance. Lifelong learning keeps your career fresh and your curious intellect well-informed of the latest research and how to apply the findings in your career setting.

As an added bonus in an online learning community you will interact with people all across Australia and perhaps other countries! You will be totally engaged and interactive in the learning environment as you expand your understanding of what education means in places other than your familiar surroundings and learn proven techniques from your peers.

Our career world becomes more global every day; therefore, it only makes sense for the educational field to evolve with the changing business and economic outlooks. Collaboration in the online venue is a new goal and one that makes certain universities stand out over others. Modern technology provides unique opportunities for students to work on projects together and join forces in tackling tough challenges of the curriculum. Quality is not sacrificed in the online setting but rather enhanced and broadened because of it.

People seek advanced qualifications for a variety of reasons, such as job promotions, career change, enriched education and personal fulfillment. Whatever your reason, investing in an online education can make it possible.

Incremental Savings add-up Over Time

Just as we don’t spend an entire year’s budget in a single shot, we shouldn’t expect to land a whole year’s worth of savings in just one spending encounter.  Instead, look at small savings as incremental entries into a grander pool of prudent money management.  Within every personal budget, savvy consumers find room to trim costs, leading to significant savings over time.  Looking at your financial picture is easiest when small chunks are digested individually, illuminating anomalies and patterns.  Naturally, your year’s spending can be divided into time-based bits, broken into months, weeks, or individual days.  For budgeting purposes, monthly entries make sense, because many personal billing cycles are built around the twelve-month calendar.  As a cross reference, expenses can also be broken down into budget categories representing your primary areas of spending.  Costs like entertainment, food, housing, clothes, school expenses, and other spending categories are easily tracked when divided into their own unique classes.  Superimposing your annual budget, broken into months, on top of your category budget, divided into spending classes, illuminates your monthly spending patterns.  Once established, operating costs can be analyzed with an eye toward savings, allowing opportunities to evaluate each spending category independently.  Looking closely at bills and statements sheds light on areas where costs can be trimmed, resulting in disciplined, incremental monthly savings.

Recurring Expenses Drive Budgets

Cash flow problems arise from a variety of conditions, ranging from unemployment to seasonal spending spikes. The first step toward successful individual financial management is to assess the fixed costs within your budget.  Mortgage payments, for example, do not change from month to month, so they are easier to anticipate than some other expenses.  These “fixed” costs provide the foundation for family budgets, because they are not going away any time soon, so they might as well be accounted for right off the top each month.  Similarly, car payments are tied to strict repayment schedules, so there are generally no surprises recognizing when car loan payments come due.  The purpose of compiling monthly fixed costs is to determine whether your monthly cash flow is in balance, and identify areas of discretionary spending within your budget.  If you are consistently struggling to keep up with rent Read the rest of this entry

Tips to Stay Mentally Sharp

Many of the negative effects of aging can be lessened simply by staying physically and mentally active. Yet after retirement sets in it becomes all too enticing to just kick back and relax. The paying job may be a thing of the past, but the need to work the brain remains a crucial component to a better standard of life in one’s golden years. The good news is that training the brain doesn’t have to be a tedious process or even feel like work. The most important thing to do is to remain interested and engaged in life—and yes, to solve problems. Instead of dreading putting the old noggin to work, why not enjoy the prospect instead?

Play

Memory games are a great way to help keep mental faculties sharp. Card lovers can play the classic recall enhancers, Concentration or Uno. Truthfully any card games can help get that brain working, and those played with others will keep verbal and social capabilities from getting rusty. Crossword puzzles, word finders and trivia games are also excellent choices. Board games that require solid memorization and counting would be beneficial, too. The technologically savvy can also install numerous free games on their smartphone and tablet. Who knows what endless entertainment you could have by using one of the many mobile phones available.  For instance, Little Things Forever requires searching for specified items, and Can You Escape offers numerous clues that require solid memory recall in order to go on to each new level. Solitaire and the Mahjohngg tile game are also good bets. Playing a musical instrument is yet another terrific way to keep the mind and body sharp. Whether playing by ear or one who reads sheet music, music is a great opportunity to keep the math skills honed. Music is also a fine way to become connected with others. Remember that dialoge is just as important to mental faculties doing mental work in solo ventures.

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Getting older is just a fact of life. With every decade you gain, however, it seems something else falls by the wayside. That isn’t to say there aren’t perks of aging, your added experiences and increased maturity makes you a more well-rounded and happy person.

Unfortunately, our bodies rarely can keep up with our minds and things we had when we were young are no longer accessible to us after a certain point. As you look toward your future, embrace aging gracefully while preparing yourself for the challenges ahead. Knowing what to expect can make the transition into old age easier and allow you to plan ahead for the years to come.

Health Problems

As we get older our bodies begin to naturally start shutting down. The heart rate gets gradually slower, bones begin to shrink and get weaker, and the skin begins to lose the elasticity of its youth.

The way we take care of ourselves when we are younger, can greatly affect the severity of the aging process and the health issues that come with it. Here are a few of the most common health problems associated with age and what you can do to prevent them, or at the very least, slow them down.

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Finding the Right Price on Books

Reading is the quintessential relaxation tool for people who love to become enthralled with amazing stories. Books accomplish a depth of plot and character development that simply isn’t possible through other mediums like film or television. The ability to learn about a character and understand his or her motivations can make reading an absolutely wonderful pastime. While this is true, buying all of these books can create a big financial dent over a long period of time. After all, books aren’t always extremely cheap. This is why it’s smart to take some time to learn about the different options you have at your disposal when trying to find affordable book options.

For example, many people decide that they want to buy books in bulk as a way to save money on the overall cost. This can be a great way for people to get an awesome deal on the books they love. Companies like Book-Pal specialize in helping people find the right dealer for their needs in an efficient and affordable way. Since the books are purchased in bulk, they qualify for bulk pricing. This can bring the cost of your books down substantially, making this a great way to enjoy your reading while saving money.

In the end, there are many different ways for people to save money while taking part in their hobbies. For people who enjoy a good book every now and again, buying books in bulk can be a great way to save some extra cash.

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