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 SchatzTrump defends using DOD funds on border wall: 'Some of the generals think that this is more important' Overnight Health Care — Sponsored by America's 340B Hospitals — Push for cosponsors for new 'Medicare for all' bill | Court lets Dems defend ObamaCare | Flu season not as severe as last year, CDC says Dems unveil bill to let VA doctors prescribe medical marijuana MORE (D-Hawaii) and Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetDemocratic donors stuck in shopping phase of primary Overnight Health Care — Sponsored by America's 340B Hospitals — CDC blames e-cigs for rise in youth tobacco use | FDA cracks down on dietary supplements | More drug pricing hearings on tap The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the American Academy of HIV Medicine - Next 24 hours critical for stalled funding talks 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.