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 SchatzOvernight Energy: Warren bill would force companies to disclose climate impacts | Green group backs Gillum in Florida gov race | Feds to open refuge near former nuke site Warren wants companies to disclose more about climate change impacts Congress just failed our nation’s veterans when it comes to medical marijuana MORE (D-Hawaii) and Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetOvernight Health Care: Senators target surprise medical bills | Group looks to allow Medicaid funds for substance abuse programs | FDA launches anti-vaping campaign for teens Bipartisan senators unveil proposal to crack down on surprise medical bills Multiple NFL players continue on-field protests during national anthem 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.

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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.