2022 Impact Report

Narrowing our focus
to deepen our impact

We believe that by working together, we can create an empathetic and respectful world in which our kids can grow up healthy, smart, and kind.

Boston Children's Digital Wellness Lab
Harvard Medical School Teaching Hospital
Boston Children's Hospital

A message from our Founder & Director, Michael Rich (AKA The Mediatrician)

We believe that technology and media corporations can do well while doing good in the world and we will continue to leverage our independent, rigorous research to push our colleagues to make hard yet beneficial decisions on behalf of young people.

Cori Stott, MBA, Ed.M.

A message from our Administrative Director, Cori Stott

Through our research, we’ve found that kids today don’t make a distinction between their on- and off-line worlds. And the COVID-19 pandemic has only served to solidify the role of devices and interactive media in their lives. So, if we agree there is no turning back (and that abstinence is not the answer), then what is our responsibility to our youth?

The Digital Wellness Lab at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School seeks to understand and promote positive and productive digital media experiences for young people, from birth through young adulthood.


94%of teens report owning a smartphone and 84% check it at least hourly(Bickham, et.al., 2022)
8.5hours per day that teens reported being on their screens(Rideout, et. al., 2022)
17%increase in screen media use with the pandemic(Rideout, et. al., 2022)
40%of teens say they enjoy online and in-person interactions equally(Bickham, et.al., 2022)
54%of teens say it would be “hard” to give up social media(Vogels, et.al., 2022)
2.1 millionadolescents experiencing PIMU in the United States(Bickham, et.al., 2022)


The Lab creates impact by developing an evidence base for digital wellness. We do this by conducting, translating, and distributing rigorous research on the positive and negative effects of technology and interactive media use on young people to inform our progress towards positive health and development for every child, teen, and young adult.
four young people laughing while viewing a phone outside school

Taking the pulse of adolescents in real time

We conduct Digital Wellness Pulse Surveys multiple times a year to help us better understand kids’ and parents’ perspectives on technology and interactive media. In our most recent survey, we asked adolescents about their perceptions of the effects of media use on their health and well-being.

Two kids on a couch playing video games

Studying the social gaming experiences of children and teens

The Lab is collaborating with researchers from the University of Michigan and University of Washington to study the gameplay experiences, conceptualizations, emotional drivers, and decision-making processes of children and teens (aged 8-14) who play popular social online multiplayer games such as Roblox, Minecraft, and Fortnite.

Phone screen showing social media app icons

Understanding how social media impacts young adolescents

This study, in collaboration with Wellesley College, will shed light on important components of young teens’ (aged 13-15) social media ecology as well as offer proof-of-concept of the multi-method approach needed to enable funding to include larger, more geographically dispersed adolescent samples.

Young person explaining to a clinician

Helping clinicians identify and treat PIMU

Problematic Interactive Media Use (PIMU) affects approximately 2.1 million children in the U.S. Through this project, sponsored by Point32 Health, the Lab is working to develop, test, and deploy a non-judgmental, culturally relevant PIMU screener and brief intervention for use with pediatric patients in primary care offices.

Young girl playing a video game enthusiastically

Investigating commonalities among kids experiencing PIMU

This project, a collaboration between the Lab and the Clinic for Interactive Media and Internet Disorders (CIMAID), entails a clinical chart review investigating commonalities among previous and incoming CIMAID patients in order to identify key risk factors for Problematic Interactive Media Use (PIMU).

Collaborations & Initiatives

From convening our first Student Advisory Council to our membership on the Choose Kindness Alliance, our team was busy in 2022 sharing evidence-based best practices for youth digital wellness with tech companies, clinicians, academics, and parents and caregivers.
Slide from Student Advisory Council meeting


Bringing together high school students from across the country

In October 2022, we convened our first Student Advisory Council. In our monthly meetings, the Council’s diverse group of high schoolers are learning about our work, sharing their experiences with digital media, and helping to develop research questions. Throughout the year, they will also work in small groups to develop end-of-year presentations to industry leaders, academics and researchers, and healthcare professionals, giving them an opportunity to have their voices heard.

Family Digital Wellness Guide screenshot


New and improved Family Digital Wellness Guide

Our Family Digital Wellness Guide is designed to provide parents and caregivers with information and guidance based on clinical evidence and scientific research to help them raise healthy, smart, and kind children in our digital age. In it, we discuss both the positives and negatives of digital media use and provide strategies for parents and caregivers of children from birth through young adulthood.

Are you struggling to treat kids with online addiction?


CME Course: Identifying and Addressing Problematic Interactive Media Use (PIMU)

In our annual online course, the Lab’s team, along with clinicians from across Boston Children’s Hospital, including CIMAID, provides guidance to help medical practitioners and educators identify, address, and reduce the negative consequences of Problematic Interactive Media Use (PIMU), while helping children, adolescents, and young adults adopt and sustain healthy technology and media practices and approaches.

We help children stay healthy when using screens


Helping develop a streaming platform that supports children’s digital wellness

The Lab is working with Immersiva as their clinical and digital health advisor to develop and launch an expert-backed streaming platform to support children’s digital wellness and help prevent mental and behavioral issues related to screen time.

extra life graphic


Working with gamers to raise money for children’s hospitals

Extra Life is a community of gamers who are raising millions of dollars for sick and injured kids at Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) hospitals, including Boston Children’s. As there is an obvious intersection between our work and gaming, the Lab is in conversations with the Boston Children’s arm of CMN to collaborate on Extra Life messaging.

The people of Dr. Bavelier's lab


Good things happen when great minds meet

On July 11, we convened the research teams of the Digital Wellness Lab and the Brain and Learning Lab led by Dr. Daphne Bavelier at the University of Geneva, Switzerland where we discussed recent research insights on the impacts of digital media on children’s intelligence and cognition.

Digital Cognition and Democracy Initiative


Helping develop a streaming platform that supports children’s digital wellness

As part of the Digital Cognition and Democracy Initiative coalition, the Lab participated in a series of plenary sessions focusing on practical solutions to techno-cognitive risks and brainstorming recommendations that tech companies and policymakers can implement in the near term.

A kid playing a VR game


Building a healthy metaverse for young people

In December 2022, the Lab convened a group of experts in youth mental health, AR/VR, and technology law and policy, along with youth safety policy experts from Meta, to launch a series of discussions about the considerations and difficult decisions it will take to build a healthy metaverse experience for young people, not only at Meta but across the technology and media industries.

Advisory Boards

Having a seat at the table at both for-profit and nonprofit organizations enables us to lend our research and clinical expertise to guide their approach to digital wellness for kids.
Abu Dhabi ECAThe Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority (ECA) Children’s Humanitarian Technology Group is an international group working to design a digital ecosystem that is healthier for children.
the choose kindness projectThe Choose Kindness Alliance is designed to foster collaboration and innovation between leading bullying prevention, inclusion, and mental wellness organizations.
MetaMeta’s Youth Advisory Group, composed of a diverse, global group of experts in youth mental health and digital wellness, provides feedback on the development of new products and policies for young people, with a focus on health, safety and privacy.
robloxAs part of their commitment to digital civility, Roblox has formed a Trust and Safety Advisory Board composed of world-renowned digital safety authorities who convene to discuss Roblox’ progress on their Digital Civility Initiative.
Snap Inc.Snap’s Safety Advisory Board is composed of 18 members based in 9 countries, and includes 3 members who are young adults and youth advocates. The group convenes regularly to share feedback on safety-related policies, product features, and other related initiatives.
truth initiativeThe Truth Initiative is a nonprofit public health organization committed to making tobacco use and nicotine addiction a thing of the past. Their Tobacco-Free Screens Coalition is working to reduce and eliminate tobacco and nicotine imagery in entertainment and interactive media.

Publications, Presentations & Press

The Lab creates impact by developing an evidence base for digital wellness. To do this, we conduct, translate, and distribute research on the positive and negative effects of technology and interactive media use on young people. But we don’t just share with other academics and researchers. Our team is out all over the world making what we learn through our research relatable and actionable — from conferences, schools, and governmental agencies to podcasts, blogs, and major newspapers.







2022 Financials

In our second year as the Digital Wellness Lab, we were able to attract 5x more supporter funding, with 5 new supporters joining us on our mission. This increase in funding is allowing us to continue to build our team, launch new collaborations and initiatives, and conduct more research projects — all of which helps to increase our ability to understand and promote positive and productive digital media experiences for young people.

2022 Support ($5,838,488)

Lab Support: 90% unrestricted

2022 Expenses ($1,300,000)

Lab Expenses: 45% Research, 40% Program Services, 15% Operations


New Hires

Our research team and capacity got a big boost in 2022, with the addition of two post-doctoral fellows, a clinical research specialist, a librarian/knowledge manager, and a graduate research intern, and our admin team welcomed a new administrative associate to support both the Lab and CIMAID. Here are the individuals we welcomed to our team in 2022.

Kaitlin Allair, MLIS

Kaitlin Allair, MLIS

Librarian/Knowledge Manager

View Kaitlin’s bio >

Bianca Alvarez

Bianca Alvarez

Administrative Associate

View Bianca’s bio >

Michael Carter, PhD

Michael Carter, PhD

Post-Doctoral Research Fellow

View Michael’s bio >

Cooney, Kathy

Kathy Cooney, LICSW

Social Worker, CIMAID

View Kathy’s bio >

Emily Izenman, BA

Emily Izenman, BA

Clinical Research Specialist

View Emily’s bio >

Sam Schwamm

Sam Schwamm, BA

Research Intern

View Sam’s bio >

Zoey Yue, PHD

Zhiying (Zoey) Yue, PhD

Post-Doctoral Research Fellow

View Zoey’s bio >

New Supporters

We believe technology and media companies can do well while doing good when they use scientific evidence to make decisions that will impact young people. And while digital wellness will always be a work in progress, if we keep tinkering, iterating, and perfecting together — using research evidence and young people’s voices as our guide — we believe we can build a healthier, more positive digital ecosystem. Here are the supporters we welcomed in 2022.
logitech G
Snap Inc.

Looking Ahead

2023 is Shaping Up to Be a Busy Year

In addition to our current research, we have several new studies in various stages of approval and will be releasing the results of our latest Pulse Survey later this month, with the next one kicking off in February.

Our Student Advisory Council is hard at work on their end-of-year presentations to industry leaders, academic researchers, and healthcare professionals, and we have begun planning our first in-person Digital Wellness Symposium.

And our team is hitting the road to share our findings and guidance with organizations around the country and the world.

To join us on our journey to create an empathetic and respectful world in which our children can grow up healthy, smart, and kind, please email us. Thank you!