Momentum Builds for Bipartisan, Bicameral Markey Legislation to Study Impact of Technology and Media on Children
Increasing number of industry leaders voice support for the Children and Media Research Advancement (CAMRA) Act
Washington (July 30, 2019) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) today announced four new endorsements for the Children and Media Research Advancement (CAMRA) Act, legislation that authorizes 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.
Microsoft, Lego Group, Ion Media, and Litton Entertainment recently endorsed this legislation, building momentum for the bill, which Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), and Susan Collins (R-Maine) have cosponsored. The bill authorizes $15 million for fiscal years 2020-2022, and $25 million for each of fiscal years 2023 and 2024. Lego, Ion Media, and Litton Entertainment join the coalition of supporters as the first toy company, broadcaster, and television content producer to endorse the legislation.
“The lack of understanding around kids’ tech use and media consumption has reached a crisis point,” said Senator Markey, a member of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. “I commend and thank Microsoft, Ion Media, Lego, and Litton Entertainment for joining the diverse chorus of support the CAMRA Act, which will help parents and policymakers alike understand the cognitive, physical, and socio-emotional impacts of technology on kids. From broadcasters, to toy makers, to content producers to technology companies, entities of all kinds are telling Congress with one voice that it is time to pass this legislation for the sake of our children.”
CAMRA Act research will focus on the impact of social media, mobile devices, artificial intelligence, and much more. The bill commissions research that will investigate how these stimuli affect children in the following core areas of development:
- Cognitive: attention, creative problem solving skills, executive functioning, visual and spatial skills, literacy, critical thinking, and other learning abilities; and the impact of early technology use on developmental trajectories.
- Physical: physical development and health behaviors, including diet, exercise, sleeping and eating routines, and other areas of physical development.
- Socio-Emotional: self-awareness, self-regulation, social awareness, relationship skills, empathy, distress tolerance, perception of social cues, awareness of one’s relationship with the media, and decision-making, as well as outcomes such as civic engagement, violence, bullying, depression, anxiety, addiction, obsessive behavior, and suicidal ideation.
Congressmen Jamie Raskin (MD-08) and Ted Budd (NC-13) have introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.
“Microsoft is proud to support the Children and Media Research Advancement Act,” said Fred Humphries, Corporate Vice President of U.S. Government Affairs, Microsoft. “This legislation would authorize significant investments in independent research on the impact of media and technology on children’s health and development. In this era of rapid technological advancement, we welcome this initiative and applaud Senators Markey, Sasse, Schatz, Blunt, Bennet, and Collins for their bipartisan leadership.”
“We want to thank Senator Markey for proposing Children and Media Research Advancement (CAMRA) Act for the well-being of our children”, said Brandon Burgess, Chairman and CEO of ION Media Networks. “Our endorsement of CAMRA is consistent with our mission to provide a safe and educational viewing destination for children with our free over-the-air television network, Qubo.”
“At the LEGO Group, our mission is to inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow through play. And as digital and physical play become more integrated, we need independent scientific research to understand the impacts of technology and digital engagement on children’s cognitive, physical and socio-emotional development” said Jennifer DuBuisson, Senior Director of Government & Public Affairs at the LEGO Group. “We fully endorse this bill in support of the safety and wellbeing of our children when engaging online and with technology.”
A copy of the legislation can be found HERE.
Other companies, organizations, and individuals endorsing the legislation include: Amazon, Google, Apple, Facebook, the Internet Association, Charter Communications, American Association of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, Center for Digital Democracy, Common Sense Media, Consumers Union, Children and Screens: Institute of Digital Media and Child Development, Dr. Jenny Radesky (Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Developmental Behavior, University of Michigan Medical School), Dr. Michael Rich (Director, Center on Media and Child Health at Boston Children’s Hospital), Family Online Safety Institute, the Massachusetts Association for Mental Health, and the Center for Humane Technology, Education Development Center, Trisha Prahbu (CEO, ReThink), Dr. David Greenfield (Founder and CMO, The Center for Internet and Technology Addiction), and the National Parent Teacher Association.