Collins, Colleagues Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Study Impact of Technology and Media on Children

As children’s and teens’ time online skyrockets during the pandemic, legislation would commission research on children’s technology use and media consumption

Washington, D.C.  – U.S. Senator Susan Collins joined her colleagues in introducing the Children and Media Research Advancement (CAMRA) Act, bipartisan legislation that would authorize the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to lead a research program on technology and the media’s effects on infants, children, and adolescents in core areas of cognitive, physical, and socio-emotional development.


“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.  “Over the course of the pandemic, screens have dominated the way that children interact with the world and social isolation is prevalent.  Our bipartisan bill would provide NIH with the resources they need to conduct this important research.”


Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, children’s screen time has reportedly increased by 50 percent, and new research shows that one in four young people say they are on social media “almost constantly.” The CAMRA Act would commission research to investigate the impact of exposure to and the 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.  The bill would authorize $15 million for fiscal years 2022-2024, and $25 million for each of fiscal years 2025 and 2026.


In addition to Senator Collins, the bipartisan legislation was introduced by Senators Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Ben Sasse (R-NE), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Brian Schatz (D-HI), and Michael Bennet (D-CO).


Various companies, organizations, and individuals have endorsed the CAMRA Act, including: Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Apple, Facebook, Lego Group, Ion Media, Litton Entertainment, Charter Communications, the Internet Association, Sesame Workshop, 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, Digital Wellness Lab at Boston Children’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School), Family Online Safety Institute, UNICEF USA, the Massachusetts Association for Mental Health, and the Center for Humane Technology, Education Development Center, Trisha Prahbu (CEO, ReThink), and Dr. David Greenfield (Founder and CMO, The Center for Internet and Technology Addiction).


Click HERE to read the full text of the bill.