About our Clinic
Do you know a child, teen, or young adult in your life who is struggling with their media use? The Clinic for Interactive Media and Internet Disorders (CIMAID) is here to help! We are a multidisciplinary team led by Michael Rich, MD, MPH and Mike Tsappis, MD. We have been evaluating and treating increasing numbers of children, adolescents, and young adults in our clinic whose excessive online activities have caused problems with sleep, school, social functioning, and various aspects of physical and mental health. The CIMAID team can help you address and reduce the negative consequences of Problematic Interactive Media Use (PIMU), while helping the children, adolescents, and young adults in your life adopt and sustain healthy lifestyles and behaviors.
If you are a parent or caregiver, learn more about how to make an appointment below. If you are a healthcare professional, social worker, educator, or someone else who works with children and teens, please visit our Clinicians page for more information specific to those who work with youth.
Frequently Asked Questions
We typically treat children and teens who experience problems with their mental and/or physical health as a result of interactive media use. Children and teens also often have troubles with school and with their sleep. Interactive media use can include playing video games, using social media, watching pornography, or interacting with any media or technology that negatively affects the health and wellbeing of young people.
You can request an appointment online. We can also be reached by calling 617-355-9447. Our office hours are from 9am to 5pm, Monday through Friday. Please leave your name, number, and email address, and we will return your call as soon as possible. If this is a medical emergency, please call 911, or proceed to the nearest emergency room. We do not respond to patient-related email inquiries.
Once you contact our clinic, we will send you a secure email with an intake form to complete on behalf of your child. Our clinical team will then review your form, and determine if your child is a good fit with our clinic. If accepted, you and your child will attend a 90 minute intake appointment via a virtual visit, and the clinician will determine the number of follow-up sessions needed (which range from 30 to 60 minutes).
Telehealth services (also known as virtual visits) are generally offered only to those who live in Massachusetts, and are existing patients at Boston Children’s Hospital. During the COVID-19 pandemic, some of the regulations around telehealth services have temporarily changed. Please contact our office directly to determine whether your child is eligible for telehealth services.
You can learn more about our clinical team on the Boston Children’s Hospital website here.
Oftentimes with Problematic Interactive Media Use, children and teens do not see their media use as a problem, and therefore do not think it is necessary for them to come in to the clinic. In some cases, children and teens may outright refuse to attend.
Many children and teens worry that they will have their device taken away, either by the doctor or by their parents. Reassure your child/teen that media are not the problem, and that everyone involved will work together to create healthy guidelines around media use.
- Talk about why you’re going. Give your child/teen as much advance notice as possible, so that the appointment does not come as a surprise. When explaining why you made the appointment, be sure to talk about the doctor in a positive way, and that the goal is to get a professional’s opinion about your child’s media use.
- Talk about any negative feelings. Explain that going to see a doctor for their media use is not a punishment. Help your child/teen understand that media use is a part of everyday life, so it is important to understand how media can positively and negatively affect how your child/teen thinks, acts, learns, and grows.
- Ask them to get involved. Ask your child/teen ahead of the appointment to think of questions to ask the doctor. Emphasize that they can play an active role in their own health and well-being.
The Family Media Plan, created by the American Academy of Pediatrics, is an easy-to-use online tool that will help you and your child/teen create a customized plan about media use.
The Center on Media and Child Health at Boston Children’s Hospital provides evidence-based information and tips for parents about how media can affect the health and well-being of children and teens.