Dr. Kanani Titchen Fights Human Trafficking

As a pediatrics resident with Jefferson/Nemours/Afred I. de Pont Hospital for Children, Dr. Kanani Titchen, recognizes that most pediatricians are not aware of the signs of childhood sexual exploitation or know what to do if they are able to spot the signs. This includes branding, including tattooing and branding by pimps.

Dr. Titchen has developed a four-chapter series, which includes human trafficking experts who discuss signs and available resources, out of a national survey she conducted on medical students, residents and physicians. She is raising awareness on an issue that doesn’t receive much attention in the medical industry. To learn more about Titchen, please visit http://bit.ly/1ph9TEx.

Making My Private Life Public

Last month I wrote an article on why my husband and I never post photos of our child online.  Included in this post I explained why we also do not disclose any of locations we have been with our daughter and why we try to limit the amount of personal information we share regarding her.  Not long after writing this particular piece I stumbled across an article featured in Time Magazine that held a similar concept to the one in my blog.

The brief article, entitled My Experiment Opting Out of Big Data Made Me Look Like a Criminal, describes how personal information is collected throughout the government, academic and industry markets.  The mantra of “if you don’t like it, just opt out” is thrown at individuals who are uncomfortable with how public their lives are becoming yet this is not as simple or easy as its advocates proclaim.  Janet Vertesi, the article’s author, demonstrated how complicated this catchphrase really is with a nine-month long experiment to see if she could keep her pregnancy a secret from the Internet (which would have fed that information through databases that companies use for targeted advertising). The author concluded the article by stating that her ‘experiment’ was personally inconvenient to herself and her husband while making interactions with family and friends extremely awkward and rude. She even wrote that she and her husband were seen as inconsiderate, abrupt and antisocial.

All of this to say, I was encouraged by what I read.  I can relate with the above statement as many people view my husband and I as “inconsiderate, abrupt, rude” and somewhat “antisocial” for being picky about what we share via the Internet regarding our daughter.  It is very unfortunate that our desire to live private lives have caused the individuals and community around us to label us in such a manner while straining relationships.  And although the Time’s article features a slightly different topic then the one that I shared a few weeks ago, the theme is the same.  The ability to opt out of publicly sharing every aspect of one’s life is viewed negatively and met with fierce criticism.  Gone are the days of personal, face-to-face interactions among individuals.  In its place is surface-level relationships with individuals merely interested in learning the details of their peers lives without ever holding a conversation. Convenience, comfort and complacency have made our society unwilling to invest richly or deeply into individual human life.  And have alienated those who desire this and more.

Why We Post Nothing About Our Child Online

Before my daughter was born, my husband and I made the contentious decision to never post a photo or video of her online nor share any specific information that could be used to personally identify her.  We do occasionally share brief stories or memorable moments with her on our Facebook pages (which have been set to ‘private’) for our family and friends who are not able to see her on a regular basis.  But we always try to be as discreet – and, oftentimes, vague – as possible in order to provide our daughter with some sense of confidentiality and anonymity.

Many people have asked my husband and I why we do not post photos of our child online or why we try to limit the amount of (personal) information we share regarding her.  Often times, people have a difficult time understanding our rationale.  We have even been met with some resistance, even after explaining our reasoning.  Although most of our friends and family members have been respectful of our requests for them not to post photos/videos of our daughter online to any of their social media (or other Internet) sites, it has saddened us to see how some individuals have blatantly gone against our wishes and posted material anyways.

Our reasoning is that we do not want our daughter’s life to become public knowledge where anyone in the world – particularly strangers – can have access to her through photos or videos, viewing the various locations she has visited or resided, or reading intimate details of her life (i.e. the activities she enjoys, who her friends are, what foods she does or does not prefer, etc.).  We are uncomfortable with the reality that the rise of the Internet has allowed such easy access to any particular individual’s  life in which a lack of propriety often times prevails.

Slate Magazine published an article in September 2013 that does a wonderful job explaining (in a nutshell) why parents such as my husband and I are choosing to keep our children’s lives private.  The article, entitled We Post Nothing About Our Daughter Online: Nothing.  It’s the only way to defend her against facial recognition, Facebook profiling, and corporate data mining, discusses how modern day social media – among other Internet sites – are preventing future generations “any hope of future anonymity”.  By sharing our children’s lives through digital content, we are providing the world with personally identifying information that can be accessed at any point in time, anywhere in the world.  It is up to our children – when they have grown up and matured – to make the decision of what personal information they would like to share and with whom.  The over-arching theme of the article is a call to parents to protect their children in a world saturated in and obsessed with over-sharing on global platforms.

The article is a short, fabulous read and I encourage you to read it – regardless of whether or not you agree with what it says,

New Study Helps Estimate Online Sex Advertisment Usage

Arizona State University’s (ASU) School of Social Work, Office of Sex Trafficking Intervention Research, in collaboration with the Phoenix Police Department, recently concluded a study and developed a model to estimate the number of customers contacting online sex advertisements.  Funded by THORN: Digital Defenders of Children (whom I did an article on on March 12, 2014), this particular study is the first in a series on prostitution demand.

The purpose of this study, according to the authors, is to contribute to the field of demand research.  Specifically, it intended to inform law enforcement, advocacy groups and policy makers on the scope of this illegal and heinous activity.  Using an ecological sampling technique called capture/recapture, the ASU study created a probability estimate for the total size of the online sex ad customer population based on the exposed male population in 15 U.S. cities.

For more information on this study as well as its findings, please click here.

GRAT PlanninG- Facebook Founders Use Estate Planning Technique for $200 Million Tax-Free Transfer

Sometimes the planning of the rich and famous helps us better understand what mere mortals can accomplish through proper planning. Such is the case with the recent planning of Facebook co-founders Mark Zuckerberg and Dustin Moskovitz, and CEO Sheryl Sandberg. The footnotes to Facebook’s recent public stock offering reflect that these executives apparently used a tried-and-true estate planning technique known as a Grantor Retained Annuity Trust (GRAT) to transfer upwards of $200 million free of gift and estate tax.

Click here to read the rest of this blog.

A Love Letter: The Most Important Love Letters You’ll Ever Write?

Many Americans have the misperception that estate planning is simply preparing for one’s death and is only necessary for the affluent. To the contrary, estate planning is as much about passing values to loved ones as it is about passing material possessions.

To read the rest of this blog, click here.