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Children and Screens Institute Endorses Proposed Federal Act for Researching Media Impacts as "An Important Step Forward"


New bipartisan legislation would authorize and fund a National
Institutes of Health program to study the effects of media on child
Leading national children's media health non-profit
supports this bill, but calls for technology and media companies to
match the federal government's proposed investment in this NIH effort.

Newly introduced federal legislation – the Children and Media Research
Advancement ("CAMRA") Act – calls for the National Institutes of Health
to study how traditional and digital media affect infants, children, and
adolescents; to fund such research by others; and to report to Congress
on this subject. Long Island, NY-based Children and Screens, a leading
children's media health nonprofit, confirmed today that it has endorsed
the CAMRA Act. Children and Screens' founder and President, Dr. Pamela
Hurst-Della Pietra, called it "an important step forward in our effort
to truly understand, and appropriately balance, the benefits and risks
of media for all children."

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here:

Children and Screens Supports Proposed CAMRA Act to Study Effects of Media on Child Development

Children and Screens Supports Proposed CAMRA Act to Study Effects of Media on Child Development

Children and Screens has long advocated for more NIH leadership in
childhood media effects research. As Dr. Hurst Della-Pietra explained,
"Promoting informed public dialogue about media health policy is an
important part of our organization's work. Last year, with input from
experts in many fields, Children and Screens prepared and widely
circulated a Policy Brief summarizing legislative priorities in this
field. Staffers for two CAMRA Act co-sponsors, Sens. Markey and Schatz,
were among those with whom we shared that Policy Brief. Children and
Screens is pleased to see many of our recommendations reflected in their
bill. Of course, a community of people and organizations called for this
kind of legislation, and participated in its drafting and review. We
look forward to working closely with them to define, pursue, and achieve
our shared goals."

Children and Screens' generally positive view of the CAMRA Act is
tempered by concern over funding for the new NIH program. The Act calls
for three years of federal funding at $15 million a year, and two more
years at $25 million. Dr. Hurst-Della Pietra believes that more will be
needed. "Consider the magnitude of NIH's mandate under the CAMRA Act.
Just designing, executing, analyzing, and reporting on a national,
multi-center, multidisciplinary, longitudinal study of media effects on
children from birth through late adolescence will be a major
undertaking. We're talking about deeply investigating phenomena that
affect millions of American families. In that context, $95 million over
five years seems inadequate. NIH will need more. We are developing a
proposal for those who profit most directly from children's media
exposure – technology and media companies – to contribute matching funds
to the NIH effort. That proposal will be an important topic of
conversation at the upcoming Digital Media and Developing Minds National
Congress." Children and Screens and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
will be co-sponsoring that event on October 15-18, 2018.

As to whether the CAMRA Act is likely to become law, Dr. Hurst-Della
Pietra described herself as "cautiously optimistic". "We are aware," she
said, "that similar bills have been introduced before. We hope that this
time, mounting evidence from our members and others will persuade
Congress and the White House to act. The prospect of media always and
everywhere is not an issue for tomorrow's children. It is the reality
for children today. This situation presents parents, teachers, doctors,
and children themselves with unprecedented choices to make about media
health. They cannot make good choices without more and better
information. That's why ambitious, rigorous, coordinated research under
NIH leadership is indispensable."

Members of Children and Screens National Scientific Advisory Board
shared Dr. Hurst-Della Pietra's overall view of the CAMRA Act. Dr.
Dimitri Christakis (Editor of JAMA Pediatrics; Director of the
Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development at the Seattle
Children's Research Institute; and George Adkins Professor of
Pediatrics, Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry, and Adjunct Professor of
Health Services at the University of Washington), noted, "Since its
inception, Children and Screens has been advocating for and
supporting desperately needed research to help children lead healthy
lives in a digital world. I am delighted and excited to learn that
Congress is considering legislation to support this extraordinarily
important mission."

Dr. Elizabeth Englander, Executive Director of the Massachusetts
Aggression Reduction Center at Bridgewater State University, was
similarly enthusiastic about the CAMRA Act. She said, "Digital
technology, the use of social media, gaming, and other communication
technologies have profoundly affected children, and this legislation is
a critical first step in ensuring that our children grow up healthy and
well prepared for adulthood."

Dr. Sandra Calvert, Professor of Psychology and Director of the
Children's Digital Media Center at Georgetown University, also supported
Children and Screens' endorsement of the CAMRA Act. She observed, "Our
children's lives are embedded in digital media. Supporting the CAMRA
bill is a wise investment for our nation, as research in the digital
media area can educate us about how to provide a safe pathway for our
children's development in our rapidly changing 21st century digital

About Children and Screens: Institute of Digital Media and Child
Children and Screens (more formally, Children and
Screens: Institute of Digital Media and Child Development) is a
nonprofit organization devoted to maximizing children's benefits, and
minimizing their risks, from digital media. For more than five years, it
has pursued answers to fundamental questions about the influence of
media exposure on children's prospects for happy, healthy, and
productive lives. Children and Screens is best known for convening
thought leaders from diverse fields, and for promoting, funding, and
disseminating their multidisciplinary research. Most recently, in
January 2018, Children and Screens joined with the National Institute of
Child Health and Development to organize and host a scientific workshop
on Media Exposure and Early Child Development.

Children and Screens previously organized and sponsored the publication
of Children, Adolescents and Screens: What We Know and What We Need
to Learn
. That stand-alone supplement to Pediatrics (the
Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics) presented 22 articles,
from over 100 named authors, and provided parents, practitioners,
researchers and policy makers with a uniquely comprehensive view of this

Children, Adolescents and Screens was a direct result of the
first Digital Media and Developing Minds conference, which
Children and Screens co-sponsored in 2015 with the Sackler Colloquia
program of the National Academy of Sciences. That groundbreaking
gathering brought together nearly 200 leading researchers, clinicians,
and other experts in the fields of psychiatry, psychology, neuroscience,
sociology, anthropology, communications, education, public health, and
public policy. The next Digital Media and Developing Minds National
Congress, co-sponsored by Children and Screens and Cold Spring
Harbor Laboratory, will be held on October 15-18, 2018.

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