New Boston Children's lab teams up with Optum, TikTok & others to study tech effects on child wellbeing

What happens to kids' brains and bodies as a result of their digital interactions? Boston Children's Hospital researchers are going to find out in a new lab, which will be funded by supporters including Optum, Instagram and TikTok.

The health system on March 18 unveiled its new Digital Wellness Lab, which will serve as a research innovation hub for studying the physical and mental health effects that digital technologies have on children.

Four details:

1. The Digital Wellness Lab is an extension of Boston Children's Hospital's media and child health center. The wellness lab also recently released its 2021 family digital wellness guide, which builds on the center's reporting.

2. Results of the lab's national survey for this year's family digital and wellness guide will help steer the Digital Wellness Lab's efforts during its inaugural year. The survey measured how the pandemic has affected the digital behaviors and wellness of kids, parents and families this year.

3. The lab's long-term goal is to serve as a central hub for research findings to implement in healthcare, technology, teaching and entertainment platforms.

"We all need to start thinking about how our behaviors with digital devices affect our physical and mental health," Digital Wellness Lab Senior Content Strategist Kristelle Lavallee said in a news release. "Digital wellness needs to be addressed as a critical part of overall health and wellbeing in today's world."

4. The new lab has a roster of supporters, including Tufts Health Plan and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Optum, Instagram, TikTok, Amazon Kids and Facebook.


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