Support Research on Tech's Impact on Children's Health

There is one thing we know about kids today: Almost all of them use digital media and technology, and they use it a lot. One thing we don't know, though, is the long-term health effects on a child who spends a lot of time on digital devices. Initial research has confirmed what many families have seen in their own lives: Digital connectivity is beneficial for learning, but at the same time heavy use of digital devices can leave kids feeling addicted, unhappy, anxious, or distracted. The truth is, we have unleashed tech into our kids' lives without knowing enough about what impact it has on them. 

Scientific research on the long-term impacts of media and tech on children's health can help identify evidence-based harms as well as opportunities to inform needed changes. We need rigorous, long-term, and independent research on everything including brain development, social-emotional learning, physical impacts, and even the influence of tech on youth and civic engagement.

That's why Common Sense strongly supports CAMRA, the Children and Media Research Advancement Act. CAMRA, which is gaining new support in Congress, would authorize funding to establish a research program conducted and supported by the highly reputable National Institutes of Health to study media and tech's impact on the health and well-being of kids of all ages. No such study exists today.
 

What you need to know:

  • Nearly every child under 8 in America (98 percent) has access to a mobile device at home, a rapid rise from just over half in 2011.
  • The average amount of time kids under 8 spend with mobile devices each day has tripled twice since 2011. Teenagers use an average of nine hours of media per day, and tweens use an average of six.
  • Half of teens feel addicted to their mobile devices, and the majority of parents (60 percent) feel their kids are addicted.
  • Heavy users are 56 percent more likely to say they are unhappy; twenty-seven percent more likely to be depressed; and 35 percent more likely to have a risk factor for suicide.
  • Members of Congress are more likely to support CAMRA if they hear directly from their constituents about it. 

What the CAMRA Act would do:

  • Establish a program to support research on the role and impact of media and technology on the development of children and adolescents.
  • Fund research that can help parents, educators, and the tech industry make smart decisions about how to maximize tech's potential for good. 

Learn more about CAMRA


Call on Congress to support research on tech's impact on children's health


Sample Message:

Dear Official:

I am writing to urge you to support the bipartisan and bicameral Children and Media Research Advancement Act (CAMRA) so we can better understand, and respond to, the health effects on children of sustained use of digital media and technology. 

There is one thing we know about kids today: Almost all of them use digital media and technology, and they use it a lot. One thing we don't know, though, is the long-term health effects on a child who spends so much time on digital devices. Initial research has confirmed what many of us have seen in our own lives: Digital connectivity is beneficial for learning, but at the same time heavy use of digital devices can leave kids feeling addicted, unhappy, anxious, or distracted. As parents, educators, and citizens, we must identify the impact of media and tech on kids so we can reduce potential harms and harness powers for good. 

CAMRA, which is supported by major tech companies, academic researchers, and nonprofit organizations, would authorize a longitudinal research program conducted and supported by the National Institutes of Health to study media and tech's impact on the health and well-being of kids of all ages. An independent, rigorous, and long-term study can help identify evidence-based harms as well as opportunities to inform needed changes in technology and media. The study would look at all aspects of children's health, including brain development, social-emotional learning, physical impacts, and even the influence of tech on youth and civic engagement. That research doesn't exist today and is needed to inform not only policymakers like you but also the tech industry and parents. 

Thank you for considering supporting CAMRA. I look forward to your reply. 

[First Name] [Last Name]