A child sits in a chair at a kitchen counter, wearing headphones while watching a Fire tablet
As children spend more hours in front of screens, it is increasingly important to investigate the effects of digital technology. Boston Children’s Hospital launched the Digital Wellness Lab, a research center providing science-based recommendations for parents and caretakers.

Amazon Kids links up with Boston Children’s Hospital’s Digital Wellness Lab

Science-based recommendations from the Digital Wellness Lab could inform the development of digital products that help children.

Parents worldwide are confronted with a similar question: What is the impact of screen time in the lives of their children?

As children spend more hours in front of screens, it becomes increasingly important to investigate the effects of digital technology on their brains, bodies, and behaviors.

To assist that effort, experts at Boston Children’s Hospital recently launched the Digital Wellness Lab, a research center providing practical, science-based recommendations for parents and caretakers on how to raise healthy children in the digital age.

Amazon Kids, one of the supporters of the initiative, provides free tools for parents to make choices about how their children interact with devices such as Amazon Fire tablets, Kindle e-readers, Echo smart speakers, and Fire TV.

The team says it hopes to utilize Digital Wellness Lab research as it continues to develop new products that help children explore quality content online while informing and empowering parents.

Officially launched in March, the Digital Wellness Lab is an evolution of the Center on Media and Child Health at Boston Children's Hospital, which had been investigating the impact of media use on children’s mental and physical health for almost 20 years.

Michael Rich and David Bickham
Michael Rich, left, is the founder and director of the Digital Wellness Lab. David Bickham, right, is the lab's research scientist lead.
Glynis Condon

For the past couple of decades, the amount and the quality of research in this field has increased significantly, but its results remained mostly restricted to academia.

“It struck me that, no matter how wonderful our research was, until we got it into the hands of the people who could actually change the digital environment, we were going to be spinning our wheels,” said pediatrician Michael Rich, the lab’s founder and director.

He notes that while the tech industry is highly competitive, this is a topic where companies are collaborating to address the common concern over impact of technology on children. The Digital Wellness Lab originated from the idea that, by working together with industry, science could foster real change in devices, platforms, and software in ways to promote the wellness of individuals and society.

Amazon Kids’ support for science

Karen Ressmeyer, Amazon Kids director of Family Trust, describes the alliance with the Digital Wellness Lab as a win-win situation.

“This collaboration provides us with new insights and data from the lab to help our mission of contributing to a positive digital environment,” she said.

The goal of Amazon Kids and Amazon Kids+ — a subscription service providing access to thousands of books, movies, TV shows, and educational curated content — is to give children the freedom to explore high-quality content in a kid-friendly environment within parameters set by their parents or caretakers.

Karen Ressmeyer, left, is Amazon Kids director of Family Trust. Catherine Teitelbaum, right,
Karen Ressmeyer, left, is Amazon Kids director of Family Trust. Catherine Teitelbaum, right, is principal, Family Trust at Amazon Kids.
Glynis Condon

Working with the Digital Wellness Lab furthers that goal in a unique fashion, according to Catherine Teitelbaum, principal, Family Trust at Amazon Kids. “With this partnership we are intentionally creating a forum to discuss ideas of all sizes and learn from researchers, academics, and clinicians as we look to constantly strengthen our commitment to the wellness of kids and families,” she said.

While tech companies like Amazon can conduct research on their own to address concerns about the impact of technology on children’s mental health, this arrangement offers the ability to develop fundamental research that is completely independent and agnostic to outcomes, noted Rich.

“Our goal is to offer a resource that can inform both sides of the paradigm — the producers and the consumers — to move what they create and what they consume toward a better place in terms of physical, mental and social health,” he said.

Investigating how technology affects children

At the moment, one of the main research questions related to wellness and technology is how the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the use of technology by children.

One of the first efforts by the Digital Wellness Lab was a national survey with parents of children from kindergarten to grade 12 that showed as kids’ media use increased during the pandemic, so did the frequency of arguments with their parents over that usage. However, the survey found that spike did not owe purely to kids streaming videos.

“We also found that over 70% of children were using these devices to connect with their family and their friends, and this was true across all age groups,” said David Bickham, research scientist lead at the Digital Wellness Lab. When asked if media use was helpful or hurtful for their children, more than half of the parents said it was helpful for their social relationships and educational achievements.

That more nuanced understanding is a departure from the historically high degree of polarization around this topic, Rich observed. “You were either for kids or for screens, but you couldn't be for both,” he said. Having had an earlier career as a screenwriter and filmmaker – which included working as assistant director to Akira Kurosawa in Japan – he knew that people who were making media were not out to hurt kids.

Bickham noted that, rather than trying to label whether media use is fundamentally good or bad, the lab is trying to identify these types of nuances.

Open research questions

Historically, this field of research hasn’t determined clear causal relationships between types of screen use and mental and physical health outcomes, which constitutes an important gap, according to Rich.

What we want to do is start to move from correlations to understanding what type of screen use contributes to which outcomes.
Michael Rich

“For example, we don't know whether playing violent video games makes kids more violent, or whether more violent kids are drawn to violent video games,” he explained. “We just see correlations, and what we want to do is start to move from correlations to understanding what type of screen use contributes to which outcomes.”

The way to get there, notes Rich, is through long-term longitudinal studies, a type of research that follows the subjects for several years and collects data on different variables periodically. The Digital Wellness Lab has a project to do exactly that. The Growing Up Digital project is a 10-year longitudinal study that plans to have at least one site in each of the six populated continents.

“We are going to follow two cohorts of children, from preschool to middle school, and from middle school to young adulthood, on an annual basis measuring in a deep way not just the screens they are actively using, but also those they are ambiently exposed to,” Rich noted.

The study will measure several outcomes related to learning, mental health, and physical health, such as sleep, exercise and nutrition.

The program is already underway in Australia and Canada, and the group is having conversations with institutions from countries like India and Brazil to set up the study in those geographies as well.

bchimage.png
The Digital Wellness Lab is an evolution of the Center on Media and Child Health at Boston Children's Hospital.
Courtesy of Boston Children's Hospital

The lab also hopes to look at how the use of technology differs across cultures. Previous work by the group looked into digital media usage and play in young children from the United States and Mexico. While, in the U.S., “media use may have displaced time dedicated to certain types of play,” the opposite was true in Mexico: “play seemed to facilitate or positively co-occur with media use.”

“When you think about not just the amount of time spent with screens, but the characteristics of technology use and cultural differences, you start to reveal a more nuanced understanding of how technology impacts kids and their development,” Bickham said.

According to Rich, researchers in this field are coming to realize that it's not about the total duration of screen use, but what we are doing on the screens and the context in which we are doing it. In order to empower families to evaluate what type of technology use is healthy for their children, the lab recently published the Family Digital Wellness Guide, which gives science-based practical advice on the topic for parents and caretakers.

Empowering families is also one of the main goals of Amazon Kids.

“That is so closely tied with our focus at Amazon Kids,” said Teitelbaum, “where we have a long history of building not just products that are safe for kids and designed for kids, but engaging with parents through our parent dashboard, providing them choices to shape their children’s use of media.”

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Are you an MS or PhD student interested in Robotics, Computer Vision, Machine Learning? Do you enjoy diving deep into hard technical problems and coming up with solutions that enable successful products that improve the lives of people in a meaningful way?At Amazon Robotics, we strive to push boundaries in order to provide the best possible experience for our customers. We are looking for scientists striving to use their domain expertise to invent, design, evangelize, and implement state-of-the-art solutions for never-before-solved problems. As an Applied Scientist, you will have access to large datasets with billions of images and video to build large-scale machine learning systems. Additionally, you will analyze and model terabytes of text, images, and other types of data to solve real-world problems and translate business and functional requirements into quick prototypes or proofs of concept.As an Applied Scientist, you will work from concept through to execution. This role will give you the opportunity to build tools and support structures needed to analyze data, dive deep to resolve root cause of systems errors and changes, and present findings to business partners to drive improvements.Come build the future with us.
US, CA, Santa Clara
AWS AI/ML is looking for world class scientists and engineers to join its AI Research and Education group working on foundation models, large-scale representation learning, and distributed learning methods and systems. At AWS AI/ML you will invent, implement, and deploy state of the art machine learning algorithms and systems. You will build prototypes and innovate on new representation learning solutions. You will interact closely with our customers and with the academic and research communities. You will be at the heart of a growing and exciting focus area for AWS and work with other acclaimed engineers and world famous scientists.Large-scale foundation models have been the powerhouse in many of the recent advancements in computer vision, natural language processing, automatic speech recognition, recommendation systems, and time series modeling. Developing such models requires not only skillful modeling in individual modalities, but also understanding of how to synergistically combine them, and how to scale the modeling methods to learn with huge models and on large datasets. Join us to work as an integral part of a team that has diverse experiences in this space. We actively work on these areas:· Multi-modal learning· Multi-task learning· Model compression, distillation, sparsification, quantization· Accelerated optimization methods· Privacy and federated learning· Transfer learning· Model robustness and faithful generation· Explainability· Large-scale distributed systemsAbout UsInclusive Team CultureHere at AWS, we embrace our differences. We are committed to furthering our culture of inclusion. We have ten employee-led affinity groups, reaching 40,000 employees in over 190 chapters globally. We have innovative benefit offerings, and host annual and ongoing learning experiences, including our Conversations on Race and Ethnicity (CORE) and AmazeCon (gender diversity) conferences. Amazon’s culture of inclusion is reinforced within our 14 Leadership Principles, which remind team members to seek diverse perspectives, learn and be curious, and earn trust.Work/Life BalanceOur team puts a high value on work-life balance. It isn’t about how many hours you spend at home or at work; it’s about the flow you establish that brings energy to both parts of your life. We believe striking the right balance between your personal and professional life is critical to life-long happiness and fulfillment. We offer flexibility in working hours and encourage you to find your own balance between your work and personal lives.Mentorship & Career GrowthOur team is dedicated to supporting new members. We have a broad mix of experience levels and tenures, and we’re building an environment that celebrates knowledge sharing and mentorship. Our senior members enjoy one-on-one mentoring and thorough, but kind, code reviews. We care about your career growth and strive to assign projects based on what will help each team member develop into a better-rounded engineer and enable them to take on more complex tasks in the future.
US, CA, Santa Clara
AWS AI/ML is looking for world class scientists and engineers to join its AI Research and Education group working on foundation models, large-scale representation learning, and distributed learning methods and systems. At AWS AI/ML you will invent, implement, and deploy state of the art machine learning algorithms and systems. You will build prototypes and innovate on new representation learning solutions. You will interact closely with our customers and with the academic and research communities. You will be at the heart of a growing and exciting focus area for AWS and work with other acclaimed engineers and world famous scientists.Large-scale foundation models have been the powerhouse in many of the recent advancements in computer vision, natural language processing, automatic speech recognition, recommendation systems, and time series modeling. Developing such models requires not only skillful modeling in individual modalities, but also understanding of how to synergistically combine them, and how to scale the modeling methods to learn with huge models and on large datasets. Join us to work as an integral part of a team that has diverse experiences in this space. We actively work on these areas:· Multi-modal learning· Multi-task learning· Model compression, distillation, sparsification, quantization· Accelerated optimization methods· Privacy and federated learning· Transfer learning· Model robustness and faithful generation· Explainability· Large-scale distributed systemsAbout UsInclusive Team CultureHere at AWS, we embrace our differences. We are committed to furthering our culture of inclusion. We have ten employee-led affinity groups, reaching 40,000 employees in over 190 chapters globally. We have innovative benefit offerings, and host annual and ongoing learning experiences, including our Conversations on Race and Ethnicity (CORE) and AmazeCon (gender diversity) conferences. Amazon’s culture of inclusion is reinforced within our 14 Leadership Principles, which remind team members to seek diverse perspectives, learn and be curious, and earn trust.Work/Life BalanceOur team puts a high value on work-life balance. It isn’t about how many hours you spend at home or at work; it’s about the flow you establish that brings energy to both parts of your life. We believe striking the right balance between your personal and professional life is critical to life-long happiness and fulfillment. We offer flexibility in working hours and encourage you to find your own balance between your work and personal lives.Mentorship & Career GrowthOur team is dedicated to supporting new members. We have a broad mix of experience levels and tenures, and we’re building an environment that celebrates knowledge sharing and mentorship. Our senior members enjoy one-on-one mentoring and thorough, but kind, code reviews. We care about your career growth and strive to assign projects based on what will help each team member develop into a better-rounded engineer and enable them to take on more complex tasks in the future.
US, CA, Santa Clara
AWS AI/ML is looking for world class scientists and engineers to join its AI Research and Education group working on foundation models, large-scale representation learning, and distributed learning methods and systems. At AWS AI/ML you will invent, implement, and deploy state of the art machine learning algorithms and systems. You will build prototypes and innovate on new representation learning solutions. You will interact closely with our customers and with the academic and research communities. You will be at the heart of a growing and exciting focus area for AWS and work with other acclaimed engineers and world famous scientists.Large-scale foundation models have been the powerhouse in many of the recent advancements in computer vision, natural language processing, automatic speech recognition, recommendation systems, and time series modeling. Developing such models requires not only skillful modeling in individual modalities, but also understanding of how to synergistically combine them, and how to scale the modeling methods to learn with huge models and on large datasets. Join us to work as an integral part of a team that has diverse experiences in this space. We actively work on these areas:· Multi-modal learning· Multi-task learning· Model compression, distillation, sparsification, quantization· Accelerated optimization methods· Privacy and federated learning· Transfer learning· Model robustness and faithful generation· Explainability· Large-scale distributed systemsAbout UsInclusive Team CultureHere at AWS, we embrace our differences. We are committed to furthering our culture of inclusion. We have ten employee-led affinity groups, reaching 40,000 employees in over 190 chapters globally. We have innovative benefit offerings, and host annual and ongoing learning experiences, including our Conversations on Race and Ethnicity (CORE) and AmazeCon (gender diversity) conferences. Amazon’s culture of inclusion is reinforced within our 14 Leadership Principles, which remind team members to seek diverse perspectives, learn and be curious, and earn trust.Work/Life BalanceOur team puts a high value on work-life balance. It isn’t about how many hours you spend at home or at work; it’s about the flow you establish that brings energy to both parts of your life. We believe striking the right balance between your personal and professional life is critical to life-long happiness and fulfillment. We offer flexibility in working hours and encourage you to find your own balance between your work and personal lives.Mentorship & Career GrowthOur team is dedicated to supporting new members. We have a broad mix of experience levels and tenures, and we’re building an environment that celebrates knowledge sharing and mentorship. Our senior members enjoy one-on-one mentoring and thorough, but kind, code reviews. We care about your career growth and strive to assign projects based on what will help each team member develop into a better-rounded engineer and enable them to take on more complex tasks in the future.
US, VA, Arlington
Amazon S3’s Automated Reasoning Group is hiring! Write to s3-arg-jobs@amazon.com and let’s chat!Amazon's Simple Storage Service (S3) offers industry-leading scalability, data availability, security, and performance. S3’s Automated Reasoning Group (S3-ARG) develops and applies automated reasoning techniques to deliver correct, secure, durable, and available distributed systems and storage services. S3 is complex: it consists of hundreds of microservices each of which is a distributed system. With a very large number of servers and 10s of millions of requests per second, it is also highly concurrent. S3 has a sizable codebase, developed and maintained by a large team of engineers. Getting such a complex and fast-evolving system right requires developing cutting edge automated reasoning methods that are continuously integrated into the software development process. This is what our team does.We work on techniques ranging from deductive proofs to model checking, from static analysis to runtime verification of protocols. We work both at the design and the code level, and connecting the two is essential for us. We partner with development teams to make sure that our methods are deployed across S3 and that correctness is maintained as the software evolves. We have had significant success with adoption and we are key contributors to recent S3 launches such as strong consistency. We are developing innovative methods all the time. We publish our results at conferences and journals.We are a diverse team and are looking for teammates who are enthusiastic to work on these problems and further the state of the art with us. We are seeking candidates who are deep in one area of expertise but also broad enough to take on the most complex cloud computing challenges. If you are interested in exploring, please e-mail s3-arg-jobs@amazon.com.Amazon.com is an Equal Opportunity-Affirmative Action Employer – Minority / Female / Disability / Veteran / Gender Identity / Sexual Orientation.
US, CA, Santa Clara
Interested in machine learning and AI? Can you envision a future where technology is driven primarily by smarter machines?The mission of AWS AI is to make machine learning easy, fast, and universal across all of our customers. Our world class platform provides the services that runs 85% of all on-cloud machine learning through performance optimizations, machine learning tools, and SDKs to democratize machine learning. Our customers include scientists, data analysts, and ML engineers all building and deploying models through either SageMaker or self-managed instances on EC2/EKS.The AWS Machine Learning Services group in Amazon AI is seeking applicants for an applied scientist position in the areas of fairness, bias, explainability, privacy, and model understanding in ML. As an applied scientist in AWS AI, you will be driving many scientific breakthroughs to help our customers understand and trust ML-based outcomes, and also working with software engineers to deploy these solutions to AWS customers. You will be working on the ML platforms and services that power over 85% of machine learning in the cloud, and help make machine learning fast, accessible, universal, and trustworthy for all our customers.We look for candidates with PhD in a relevant technical field (such as Algorithms, Machine Learning, AI, and Mathematics), preferably with interest / experience in explainability, fairness, privacy, and model understanding. We also encourage graduating PhD students as well as recent PhD graduates to apply. You will be working closely with software engineers so experience with cloud systems is a benefit. Our customers are deeply technical and the solutions we build for them are strongly coupled to technical feasibility. You must be able to thrive and succeed in an entrepreneurial environment, and not be hindered by ambiguity or competing priorities. This means you are not only able to develop and drive high-level strategic initiatives, but can also roll up your sleeves, dig in and get the job done. Ownership, high judgment, negotiation skills, ability to influence, analytical talent and leadership are essential to success in this role.For more information about AWS AI team, please see https://aws.amazon.com/machine-learning and https://aws.amazon.com/sagemaker.About UsInclusive Team CultureHere at AWS, we embrace our differences. We are committed to furthering our culture of inclusion. We have ten employee-led affinity groups, reaching 40,000 employees in over 190 chapters globally. We have innovative benefit offerings, and host annual and ongoing learning experiences, including our Conversations on Race and Ethnicity (CORE) and AmazeCon (gender diversity) conferences. Amazon’s culture of inclusion is reinforced within our 14 Leadership Principles, which remind team members to seek diverse perspectives, learn and be curious, and earn trust.Work/Life BalanceOur team puts a high value on work-life balance. It isn’t about how many hours you spend at home or at work; it’s about the flow you establish that brings energy to both parts of your life. We believe striking the right balance between your personal and professional life is critical to life-long happiness and fulfillment. We offer flexibility in working hours and encourage you to find your own balance between your work and personal lives.Mentorship & Career GrowthOur team is dedicated to supporting new members. We have a broad mix of experience levels and tenures, and we’re building an environment that celebrates knowledge sharing and mentorship. Our senior members enjoy one-on-one mentoring. We care about your career growth and strive to assign projects based on what will help each team member develop into a better-rounded engineer and enable them to take on more complex tasks in the future.
US, WA, Seattle
We are a team of doers working passionately to apply cutting-edge advances in technology to solve real-world problems. As a Research Scientist, you will work with a unique and gifted team developing exciting products for consumers and collaborate with cross-functional teams. Our team rewards intellectual curiosity while maintaining a laser-focus in bringing products to market. Competitive candidates are responsive, flexible, and able to succeed within an open, collaborative, entrepreneurial, startup-like environment. At the cutting edge of both academic and applied research in this product area, you have the opportunity to work together with some of the most talented scientists, engineers, and product managers.Inclusive Team CultureHere at Amazon, we embrace our differences. We are committed to furthering our culture of inclusion. We have ten employee-led affinity groups, reaching 40,000 employees in over 190 chapters globally. We have innovative benefit offerings, and host annual and ongoing learning experiences, including our Conversations on Race and Ethnicity (CORE) and AmazeCon (gender diversity) conferences. Amazon’s culture of inclusion is reinforced within our 14 Leadership Principles, which remind team members to seek diverse perspectives, learn and be curious, and earn trust.Work/Life BalanceOur team puts a high value on work-life balance. It isn’t about how many hours you spend at home or at work; it’s about the you establish that brings energy to both parts of your life. We believe striking the right balance between your personal and professional life is critical to life-long happiness and fulfillment. We offer flexibility in working hours and encourage you to find your own balance between your work and personal lives.Mentorship & Career GrowthOur team is dedicated to supporting new members. We have a broad mix of experience levels and tenures, and we’re building an environment that celebrates knowledge sharing and mentorship. Our senior members enjoy one-on-one mentoring and thorough, but kind, code reviews. We care about your career growth and strive to assign projects based on what will help each team member develop into a better-rounded engineer and enable them to take on more complex tasks in the future.
US, CA, Santa Clara
Join us in a historic endeavour to make Computer Vision accessible to the world with breakthrough research!The AWS Computer Vision science team has a world-leading team of researchers and academics, and we are looking for world-class colleagues to join us and make the AI revolution happen. Our team of scientists have developed the algorithms and models that power AWS computer vision services such as Amazon Rekognition and Amazon Textract. As part of the team, we expect that you will develop innovative solutions to hard problems, and publish your findings at peer reviewed conferences and workshops.AWS is the world-leading provider of cloud services, has fostered the creation and growth of countless new businesses, and is a positive force for good. Our customers bring problems which will give Applied Scientists like you endless opportunities to see your research have a positive and immediate impact in the world. You will have the opportunity to partner with technology and business teams to solve real-world problems, have access to virtually endless data and computational resources, and to world-class engineers and developers that can help bring your ideas into the world.Our research themes include, but are not limited to: few-shot learning, transfer learning, unsupervised and semi-supervised methods, active learning and semi-automated data annotation, large scale image and video detection and recognition, face detection and recognition, OCR and scene text recognition, document understanding, and 3D scene and layout understanding.We are located in Seattle, Pasadena, Palo Alto, Atlanta (USA) and in Haifa and Tel Aviv (Israel).Inclusive Team CultureHere at AWS, we embrace our differences. We are committed to furthering our culture of inclusion. We have ten employee-led affinity groups, reaching 40,000 employees in over 190 chapters globally. We have innovative benefit offerings, and host annual and ongoing learning experiences, including our Conversations on Race and Ethnicity (CORE) and AmazeCon (gender diversity) conferences.Work/Life BalanceOur team puts a high value on work-life balance. It isn’t about how many hours you spend at home or at work; it’s about the flow you establish that brings energy to both parts of your life. We believe striking the right balance between your personal and professional life is critical to life-long happiness and fulfillment. We offer flexibility in working hours and encourage you to find your own balance between your work and personal lives.Mentorship & Career GrowthOur team is dedicated to supporting new members. We have a broad mix of experience levels and tenures, and we’re building an environment that celebrates knowledge sharing and mentorship. Our senior members enjoy one-on-one mentoring and thorough, but kind, code reviews. We care about your career growth and strive to assign projects based on what will help each team member develop into a better-rounded engineer and enable them to take on more complex tasks in the future.
US, WA, Bellevue
Who are we?Are you interested in creating the future of e-com shipping? Do you want to be a part of team building the next $1bn initiative? Our team is changing the way we interact with customers around the globe and building a new, emerging business in shipping to solve some of the biggest logistical opportunities facing not just Amazon, but the entire industry.What will you do?Amazon Shipping is investing heavily in an imbedded science team that works closely with senior business leaders to drive strategic insight and change. This economist role will own our time series forecast models, which range in horizon from T+16 hours to T+26 weeks globally. In addition, this role will be responsible for working alongside your dedicated product manager and software engineers to educate and scale your models in production environments. This is a great opportunity to join an entrepreneurial business that is growing at an incredible pace.The ideal candidate is analytical, resourceful, and enjoys making sense of ambiguity. They are highly autonomous and have a proven track record of taking on end-to-end ownership and successfully delivering results in a fast-paced and dynamic business environment.The role’s key responsibilities will include:· · Analyzing our various forecast models (which range from naive moving averages to long short term memory neural nets) and existing data to prioritize a roadmap of builds· · Deep dive into historical impact of forecast accuracy across all 7 use cases to determine the lowest hanging fruit to tackle· Work with your dedicated product manager to drive vision for time series modeling across all of our geographies and businesses· · Rolling up your sleeves to work with our senior scientists to help in analyses across all of our functions, including pricing, costing, optimization, and forecasting.