Washington (January 3, 2022) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass), a member of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and longtime champion of children’s online privacy protections, led his colleagues Senators Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) in celebrating passage of the CAMRA Act in the Fiscal Year 2023 omnibus package. The CAMRA Act directs the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Department of Health and Human Services 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. As part of the FY23 omnibus package, $15 million will be dedicated for the first year of this research initiative.
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.
“Thanks to the CAMRA Act, parents will soon have even more science-backed evidence about the threats Big Tech poses to their children,” said Senator Markey. “I’m proud that I was able to work across the aisle with my bipartisan colleagues to deliver this important legislation to American families in time for the new year. This legislation will empower young people and their parents with the knowledge – and in turn, the power – to advocate for their health and safety, as Big Tech continues to prey on the time, attention, and privacy of our nation’s youth.”
“With more children using digital devices in their everyday lives, it’s critically important for us to learn more about how technology may impact their health and development,” said Senator Blunt. “This bill prioritizes research that will give parents, teachers, and health professionals the information they need to provide a better environment for children to learn and grow.
“As technology and media continue to change, so does the manner in which young people interact with it on a daily basis. There is little research, however, on the effects these devices have on their short- and long-term health and development,” said Senator Collins. “In recent years, screens have dominated the way that children interact with the world, and social isolation is prevalent. Our legislation will provide NIH with the resources necessary to conduct this important research.”
“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 Senator 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.”