Senators ask NIH if people are becoming addicted to technology

Senators ask NIH if people are becoming addicted to technology
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Two Democratic lawmakers are asking the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for information on whether people, particularly children, are becoming addicted to technology.

“To address the open question of whether we are addicted to technological devices and platforms, Congress must understand the current scientific consensus, potential gaps in research, and the best way to build a body of evidence that can inform effective policymaking,” wrote Sens. Brian SchatzBrian Emanuel SchatzOn The Money: Trump rips Fed over rate hikes | Dems fume as consumer agency pick refuses to discuss border policy | Senate panel clears Trump IRS nominee Senate approves resolution warning Trump not to hand over US officials Senate to vote on resolution telling Trump not to hand over former diplomats MORE (D-Hawaii) and Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetHarley stunner spikes tension with Trump over trade policy Races to watch in Tuesday’s primaries Democrats protest Trump's immigration policy from Senate floor MORE (D-Colo.) in a letter sent Tuesday to the NIH.

A study last year from Common Sense Media showed children under the age of 8 spend an average of 48 minutes per day viewing the screen of a mobile device, up from 15 minutes per day just five years ago.


The senators are asking for a briefing from the NIH and written responses to questions, including “is there consensus in the scientific community on whether our society is becoming addicted to technology?”

“We are particularly concerned about technology’s negative consequences on the development of children and adolescents,” the senators write. “Past studies from academia and nonprofit organizations show that technology-driven stress leads to depression, lack of focus, sleep deprivation, and fragmented communities.”

They also call on technology companies to “engage in this national dialogue” and provide researchers the data they need.