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EMPOWERING DIGITAL WELLNESS FOR KIDS | FEBRUARY 2022

Welcome!

The Digital Wellness Lab at Boston Children’s Hospital was created to answer two fundamental questions and develop research-based recommendations for those who create and use digital technology:

Our newsletter will focus on the second question by providing caregivers —parents, educators, and clinicians — with actionable guidance you can use to help our children thrive in today’s increasingly immersive digital environment.

Thank you for joining the conversation. And please invite your friends and family to join us, too. They can subscribe at DigitalWellnessLab.org

“We have an opportunity to change the conversation, to help our kids gain control of the screens they are growing up with and to harness them for healthy development and social engagement.”

DR. MICHAEL RICH
Founder & Director, Digital Wellness Lab & Pediatrician, Boston Children’s Hospital

What is Digital Wellness?

At the Digital Wellness Lab, we believe digital wellness is holistic, meaning it encompasses both our human and built worlds, and that it affects and is affected by all aspects of our overall well being. We define digital wellness as:

An intentional state of physical, mental, and social health that occurs with mindful engagement in the digital and natural environment

At the Lab, we work to deepen our understanding of what digital wellness looks like in practice and how to intentionally foster a sense of digital wellness for young people. We do this by conducting rigorous, timely research; addressing the issue from a clinical perspective; and producing actionable strategies and guides for caregivers to use in addressing digital wellness in their homes, classrooms, and offices.

You can learn more about our work in our 2021 Impact Report

Ask Our Experts

Is my child addicted to video games?

The average teen spends one to two hours playing video games, daily. These games can offer entertainment and often serve as a source of social connection. Within gaming worlds, young people can take a break from their day-to-day lives and the problems they experience there, try on different identities, engage in challenging and rewards-based experiences, and socialize with friends.

Our clinical experience and research have shown that it is not a specific device or activity that is problematic, it is the interactivity and engagement with the media that immerses the user to the point where they lose track of time and place. Extended problematic interactive media use (PIMU) can cause significant harm to a young person’s academic performance, relationships with family and friends, and physical health.

We have found that many of the young people that come to us for PIMU are struggling with underlying conditions such as ADHD, anxiety, or depression; when we treat their underlying condition and offer behavioral therapy for PIMU, they usually do well. We urge you to speak to your primary care physician to find a provider who can address these issues.

Learn more about video games and kids

Our Video Game Guide is a resource that includes the latest research on video gaming, with evidence-informed guidance on how to understand and address video gaming in your home.

GO TO VIDEO GAME GUIDE

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