Bennet Reintroduces Bipartisan, Bicameral Legislation to Study Effects of Technology and Media on Children

Bill would commission research on children’s technology use and outcomes including addiction, bullying, and depression

Washington, D.C. – Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet today reintroduced the Children and Media Research Advancement (CAMRA) Act to authorize the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to lead a research program on technology and media’s effects on infants, children, and adolescents in core areas of cognitive, physical, and socio-emotional development.

“We owe it to kids growing up in the digital age to learn more about the effects of apps and devices on their development,” Bennet said. “To do this, we need to invest in research that can guide the tech industry and Congress to make informed decisions about technology’s effect on kids’ health and well-being.”

Research indicates that children’s use of technology has increased dramatically in recent years. A 2017 report finds that children eight years old and younger spend 48 minutes a day on mobile devices, up from 15 minutes in 2013. Similarly, 42 percent of kids eight years old and younger have their own tablets, a major increase from seven percent 2013 and a mere one percent in 2011.

The research authorized by the CAMRA Act would investigate the impact of exposure to and use of media such as mobile devices, computers, social media, applications, websites, television, motion pictures, artificial intelligence, video games, and virtual and augmented reality. The bill authorizes $15 million for fiscal years 2020-2022, and $25 million for each of fiscal years 2023 and 2024.

Bennet first introduced the CAMRA Act in July 2018. It followed a letter he sent to the NIH, requesting more information about research on technology addiction and its effect on childhood development. NIH Director Francis Collins responded to the letter.

U.S. Senators Edward Markey (D-MA), Ben Sasse (R-NE), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Brian Schatz (D-HI), and Susan Collins (R-ME), and U.S. Representatives John Delaney (MD-06) and Ted Budd (NC-13), are original cosponsors.

The bill text is available HERE.