Denver — Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet joined U.S. Senators Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), and Susan Collins (R-Maine) in celebrating the passage of the Children and Media Research Advancement (CAMRA) Act in the Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23) omnibus package last year. The CAMRA Act directs the National Institutes of Health and Department of Health and Human Services to research technology and media’s effects on infants, children, and adolescents in core areas of cognitive, physical, and socio-emotional development. As part of the FY23 omnibus package, $15 million will be dedicated for the first year of this research initiative.
“As America’s kids spend more time on social media, I believe it’s no coincidence we have also seen a crisis of teen mental health,” said Bennet. “After years of advocacy, I’m pleased we passed the CAMRA Act to research how social media affects the cognitive, physical, and socio-emotional development of our kids. Parents deserve better data, and this legislation will help give it to them.”
As screen time for children has nearly doubled during the pandemic and rates of mental health challenges among children and teens are soaring, the CAMRA Act would commission research to investigate the impact of exposure to and use of media and technologies such as mobile devices, computers, social media, online applications, websites, television, motion pictures, artificial intelligence, video games, and virtual and augmented reality.
Bennet is a leading voice in Congress seeking bipartisan action on our nation’s growing mental and behavioral health crisis and its effects on children, teens, and young adults. In December, Bennet released a bipartisan policy framework to improve mental health parity in Medicare and Medicaid and put access to mental health and behavioral health services on par with physical health care. In September, Bennet introduced bipartisan legislation to improve college students’ mental and behavioral health, and called on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to update Medicaid guidance on providing mental and behavioral health services in school-based settings. Last year, Bennet and Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) released a whitepaper entitled ‘A Bold Vision for America’s Mental Well-being’ to build bipartisan consensus for redesigning our nation’s mental health care system. Bennet also introduced the Digital Platform Commission Act to establish an expert federal body to regulate digital platforms to protect consumers, democracy, and teen mental health, among other purposes.