Organizations urge Congress to pass CAMRA Act
On Tuesday, Chamber of Progress and the Family Online Safety Institute submitted written testimony to the Senate in the lead up to today’s hearing, Protecting Kids Online. Together, the organizations call for passage of the CAMRA Act, legislation which would support NIH research into the impact of digital media on children. The bill has received support from pediatricians, child advocates, and a lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.
The full submitted testimony from Chamber of Progress and the Family Online Safety Institute is available here. The text of their testimony is also below.
Dear Chairman Blumenthal and Ranking Member Blackburn:
Chamber of Progress and the Family Online Safety Institute appreciate the opportunity to submit a statement for the record for the hearing entitled, “Protecting Kids Online: Snapchat, TikTok, and YouTube,” being held by the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Data Security.
Chamber of Progress is a new progressive tech industry group fighting for public policies that will build a fairer, more inclusive country in which all people benefit from technological leaps. The Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) is an international, non-profit organization which works to make the online world safer for kids and their families. Through research, resources, events, and special projects, FOSI promotes a culture of responsibility online and encourages a sense of digital citizenship for all.
Following the recent disclosure of Facebook internal documents, it’s clear that both the tech industry and Congress have work to do to protect the well-being of young people in the digital sphere. The documents released earlier this month surface important questions about the impact of social media on teens, including the effect of content that amplifies body image issues, depression, and anxiety. The whistleblower documents have also elevated the issue of teen well-being online across multiple platforms.
When assessing how to better protect teen health, it’s important that policymakers take into account the advice of experts who best understand how to support and protect teen well-being and the challenges that teens face online. From child advocates to pediatricians to independent researchers, numerous experts have recently made it clear that more research is needed to better understand the effect of digital media use on teens, and what protections would help mitigate negative health impacts.
That’s why it is important for Congress to pass the Children And Media Research Advancement (CAMRA) Act, introduced by Senator Edward Markey and Representative Jamie Raskin, to provide a detailed understanding of the impact of today’s media on children’s mental health and development.
The CAMRA Act would authorize the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to lead research on children’s technology use and health outcomes including addiction, bullying, and depression. By researching children’s exposure to, use of, and reaction to new media, this legislation would provide lawmakers, educators, parents, and social media platforms with a better understanding of how to create safeguards for kids online. In the Senate and House, this legislation has received broad bipartisan support from lawmakers interested in better understanding how media impacts the cognitive, physical, and emotional development of children.
The interplay between media and the mental well-being of children and teens is highly complex. We already know that some social media use, particularly to stay connected with loved ones, can improve mental and emotional health for children. The whistleblower documents uncovered this month also show how social media can sometimes contribute to negative health outcomes. When legislating in the area of teen mental well-being, it is critical that lawmakers take an evidence-based approach that relies on the work of experienced and independent research teams.
As your committee continues its investigation into the impact of digital media use on children’s well-being, we urge you to support the CAMRA Act, which would provide a foundation for additional legislative action on this issue. When it comes to protecting kids online, anecdotal evidence and company-funded research does not provide the thorough understanding needed to pass substantive legislation that protects children’s mental and emotional well-being.
Thank you for your leadership on this important issue and for holding today’s hearing. As children today have more and more of their social and educational experiences move online, it is vital that lawmakers ensure families and kids are protected in the digital world.
Founder and CEO
Chamber of Progress
Founder and CEO
Family Online Safety Institute
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Chamber of Progress (progresschamber.org) is a new center-left tech industry policy coalition promoting technology’s progressive future. We work to ensure that all Americans benefit from technological leaps, and that the tech industry operates responsibly and fairly.
Our corporate partners do not have a vote on or veto over our positions. We do not speak for individual partner companies and remain true to our stated principles even when our partners disagree.