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Good health plays a crucial role in our overall quality of life. Although we can try to reduce our chances of experiencing a health issue through lifestyle choices, sometimes the unexpected happens and medical bills start to pile up.

Faced with expensive medical bills, an increasing number of people turn to medical crowdfunding hoping that it will help them finance their treatment. Since its appearance in the late 90s, crowdfunding has done nothing but grow and is now a multi-billion dollar industry in which medical-related campaigns have a prominent role.

The downsides of medical crowdfunding

While healthcare crowdfunding is an innovative system and may be helpful to some, it’s not without its downsides. Here’s a closer look at this industry and at three key issues to consider.

1. Reinforcing broken systems

People resort to crowdfunding when the healthcare system fails them, so these initiatives validate healthcare systems that are built on inequality whether directly or indirectly. In this sense, crowdfunding is only “a plaster on the wound” and doesn’t address the root causes that lead to people to financial difficulties. A superficial solution with no impact on social change.

2. Privacy sacrifices

Crowdfunding platforms require the disclosure of personal details, which may range from names to the specifics of the recipient’s medical and financial situation. Moreover, there’s an implied expectation that photos and updates will be published frequently during treatment. While it’s understandable that donors may expect this type of accountability, it also adds on the vulnerability of the recipient and their family. And as the popularity of crowdfunding continues to grow, so does the pressure to stand out, which may turn the situation into a competition for attention.

3. Unequal success

Lastly, medical crowdfunding has unequal success rates and may in fact benefit relatively privileged people with extended social networks. Research suggests that donors may have biases regarding the recipient’s gender, race, age, and social status, since these biases are as deeply embedded in online dynamics as they are in real life. Other studies claim that campaign success ultimately depends on the campaigner’s tech-savviness and connections, and that wealthier individuals seem to generate more engagement. Therefore, crowdfunding does little to tackle the barriers that keep socio-economic classes apart and in fact highlights the disparities in access to medical care, deepening socio-economic inequality.

Making it work for everyone

Health-related crowdfunding has helped people get the treatment they needed, but its ability to implement social change is very limited. These initiatives may perpetuate unfair or inefficient healthcare systems and social divides, and raise privacy concerns. That is of course, unless action is taken. Crowdfunding can be more accessible to everyone, irrespective of class or background, and privacy protection can be built into these campaigns.

Platforms can make an effort to build greater awareness among both campaigners and donors, to help them make informed decisions, and they can pledge to promote campaigns and distribute funds more equitably. Donors can also help make a difference by choosing transparent, non-profit medical crowdfunding platforms (such as Watsi) over their popular for-profit counterparts.

vision for the future

Considering that the market is still in its infancy, we have reasons to be optimistic and to believe that medical crowdfunding still has much potential to play a valuable role in improving the lives of people when they need it the most.


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Image credit: Marco Verch –  Traditional stethoscope with a red heart on white background under Creative Commons 2.0 (no image modifications made)

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Both the internet and the modern post office have expanded the possibilities for learning, and it’s pretty safe to assume that the socioeconomic status of countless individuals could experience a drastic upturn in the coming years, thanks to the recent developments in the accessibility of quality learning tools.

Even though many challenges still exist for third world students, such as the scarcity of professional teachers, lack of adequate print resources for in-class training, and issues with gender discrimination among women, programs such as the Global Partnership for Education have diligently donated time and resources in order to provide better classroom settings and tools that will enhance each learner’s experience.

When the traditional classroom isn’t an option

However, in situations where the traditional classroom simply isn’t cost or time-efficient, virtual resources and educational programs help to fill in the gaps while offering students a wealth of new opportunities.

Let’s take a look at some of the top distance learning programs available these days and how top colleges and universities are working to provide free instruction to students from across the globe.

Distance Learning Through MOOCS and OCW

Both the MOOCS and OCW provide students with no-cost access to quality educational resources, and a number of prestigious universities, such as the John Hopkin’s School of Public Health, are involved in the creation and distribution of such valuable content. Essentially, colleges and universities create a diverse collection of course offerings, some of which can lead to certification in specific subjects. 

Other virtual platforms are offering free access to quality educational resources, and even such giants as Youtube are involved in these efforts. Aside from the courses themselves, free online textbook companies (such as Bookboon.com) are helping to solve the problem of international shipping charges and issues with supply and demand.

The challenges and opportunities

Although these revolutionary resources hold massive potential for developing countries, there exist other disadvantages. Many of these programs offer credit in the form of certifications instead of an actual college degree.

Also, technological availability and internet connection issues (particularly for remote areas) can certainly cause frustration and discouragement among students.

However, massive projects are in the works. Investment into alternative energy science can help to bring technology to places that were once considered much too remote. The recent induction of highly affordable laptops and tablets into the market should help to maximize donations, as more and more individuals will be able to access them. 

Helping the developing world catch up

Right now, more than ever, it’s pivotal for schools, colleges, and universities to invest in educational programs for these geographic areas. It’s so easy for educators to get involved and make a difference, for online use is a fantastic way to give back, and teachers should seek out these platforms as part of their ongoing professional development. Likewise, schools should be willing to invest in such outreach projects, encouraging this free exchange of content that could literally save the world.


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If you’re a parent, you probably want nothing more than to raise happy children. You want them each to have a childhood that feels comfortable and safe, as well as bringing them joy. You know that their experiences in childhood can have an effect on how they approach life in the future, and you want to do everything you can to contribute to their chances of living a satisfying life in the future. 

Add all the contradictory parenting advice out there to the mix, and you’re bound to feel a little unsure or overwhelmed about how to give your kids the best start towards having a content lifestyle. Fortunately, scientific research has been conducted over a multitude of dimensions regarding what leads to happiness in children. Let’s break some of them down into three aspects of happy kids based on science. It seems that a great deal of the research on the subject leads us to the characteristics of parents, outside relationships and self-regulation.

Characteristics of Parents

One of the key components for raising upbeat and emotionally healthy children is to be that way yourself. It’s been shown that kids whose parents are happy are also likely to be happy. It makes sense that adults who manage their stress well and are generally content will be able to have the necessary energy required for taking care of their children.

Parents as role models

Kids depend on their parents for more than simply providing the basics of survival. They look to the caregivers in their life as a model for how to approach life. If your kids see that you are nurtured across various areas of your life, and that you have the emotional energy to attend to their needs, they will feel more secure. This security does wonders for enabling them to approach life in a manner that is open to abundance. 

Celebrating together

Along these lines, it is important to embrace happiness as a family unit. Doing so sends the message that being cheerful is important. One way to do this is to celebrate often. Of course, there are the special days for which celebrations are expected. However, taking time to make a big deal over the everyday things such as a stellar report card or the last day of school carry just as great an impact, and perhaps more so, because celebrating these things demonstrates intention. You’re going out of your way to express joy when it’s not expected. Implementing family traditions is another way to instil a sense of happiness in your kids.

Creating positivity

Ensuring that your marriage (or other primary relationship) is strong goes a long way towards cementing a sense of positivity in your kids. When children see that those who are responsible for their care are content within their own relationship, it allows them the security to pursue their own endeavours without worrying about their solid foundation at home. 

Outside Relationships

Building healthy and positive relationships with others has a significant impact on the overall wellbeing of children. Interacting with others allows children to learn about interpersonal relations. In healthy and supportive relationships, kids learn that it’s safe to trust people and to open up to them. They also learn about ‘give and take’. Having an understanding of compromise early on can go a long way towards building safe, secure and healthy relationships in the future. 

Doing good is feeling good

In addition, doing good for others increases levels of satisfaction in children. Teaching your kids to be compassionate and encouraging them to give back is a tremendous way to raise levels of contentedness. People simply feel good when doing good for others. Teaching your kids that they share the planet with a variety of people allows them to feel a part of something even greater. There have been a number of negative outcomes when it comes to a lack of relationships. These include psychiatric problems, legal issues and academic difficulties. 

How to raise happy kids based on science

Self Regulation

Much of kids’ overall levels of fulfilment come from inside themselves. Those who learn about self regulation and management from an early age will undoubtedly continue to build upon those abilities throughout their lifespan. You can help to instil your children’s inner happiness meter by teaching them skills such as self-sufficiency, body confidence, emotional intelligence, positive thinking and self-discipline. Allowing your kids to be self-sufficient and to practise independence is one of the most important steps you can take towards promoting their happiness.

Learning from mistakes

Learning and making mistakes are crucial parts of life. Kids who aren’t given the opportunity to think for themselves, to try new things and to make mistakes will become dependent and fearful as they go through life. Encourage your children to try new activities, to figure out what they’d like to do for the day or even to come up with ideas for their own punishments. This type of critical thinking will make them emotionally stronger individuals. 

Dealing with negative emotions

Speaking of emotions, self-regulation of negative emotions and proper expression of them are also means by which children can learn to become more satisfied adults. If you teach them at an early age how to handle things such as anger, disappointment and frustration in healthy ways, they will be able to grow more satisfying relationships and feel more confident in their own abilities to handle life’s struggles.

Supporting body confidence

Body image is a big deal in our society. The media portrays an image that being thin is the only acceptable form of beauty, especially for girls. This can lead to emotional destruction throughout one’s life. However, building a more realistic view of body image can go a long way towards instilling confidence around the way your children feel about their appearance. Be mindful of your statements regarding your own body and how you feel about it. Demonstrating confidence in this manner can have a big impact on your kids.

These are just some examples of the science of happy kids. As you can see, there are a number of proactive steps you can take across three primary life aspects that can help to improve the chances of raising a well-adjusted and content childAre you a parent and do you have any solid advice to give? Just post your comments below. 


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