Information on the Children Media Research and Advancement (CAMRA) Act


Senator Clinton announces unanimous Senate approval of legislation to study impact of media on children

News release
September 14, 2006

Washington, DC – Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton today announced unanimous Senate approval of the Children Media Research and Advancement (CAMRA) Act. The legislation authorizes new research into the effects of viewing and using electronic media, including television, computers, video games and the Internet on children’s cognitive, social, physical, and psychological development.

“For many years I have worked to help educate parents on how to keep their children safe as they grow up immersed in interactive, digital and wireless media that is constantly changing. The passage of the CAMRA Act is one more step in the right direction. It will provide parents with better, more current facts about the impact of this new media dominating our kids’ lives,” said Senator Clinton.

The CAMRA Act establishes a research program on children and media with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which will work in coordination with the National Institutes of Health (NIH). It directs CDC to contract with the National Academy of Science to examine the role and the effects, both positive and negative, that electronic media have in the lives of children, and to set research priorities. The CDC will then issue grants over a period of six years to researchers to examine the impact of media on children and adolescents’ ability to learn and their social, emotional, physical, and behavioral development.

A recent report by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that with respect to very young children, there is no reliable information or research about the impact of heavy exposure to electronic media. The report notes that, “the rapid changes in our media environment have not been accompanied by a similar growth in our knowledge of how new media may impact children’s cognitive, social, emotional, or physical development.”

Senator Clinton, along with a bipartisan coalition of senators, first introduced CAMRA in May of 2004 with the endorsement of a broad array of child advocacy organizations, including the Children’s Digital Media Center, the Center for Media and Child Health at Harvard University Medical School, Children Now, the American Psychological Association, Common Sense Media and the Parents Television Council. The bill was approved by the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee in March of this year.


Senators aim at vidgames with CDC study

CAMRA would look at 'impact of electronic media use'

Variety.com
March 9, 2006
By WILLIAM TRIPLETT

WASHINGTON -- A quartet of senators has moved one step closer to putting the videogame industry in the crosshairs of a federally funded study that is likely a prelude to governmental attempts to regulate. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.), Sam Brownback (R-Kansas) and Rick Santorum (R-Penn.) persuaded the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions to approve the Children & Media Research Advancement Act (CAMRA), which calls for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention to conduct a detailed study of the "impact of electronic media use" on children.

Media to be studied include television, computers and Internet as well as vidgames, but the last will be a key focus given the four solons' long record of criticizing vidgame manufacturers for exposing kids to violent and sexual content.

Clinton, for example, has been particularly hostile toward the industry, having once said it is "stealing the innocence of our children" and that kids' ability to access "pornographic and outrageously violent material on videogames rated for adults is spiraling out of control." Lieberman led the congressional charge to force the industry to develop and adopt a ratings system.

Over the last two years, state and local authorities have tried to enact laws restricting sales of vidgames to children, but federal judges have tossed them out as unconstitutional. Even some child advocates have acknowledged that not enough is known about the effects of certain media on children to justify such restrictions.

Both Clinton and Lieberman support restrictions on marketing vidgames to kids.

According to a joint statement issued by the senators, CAMRA "directs CDC to contract with the National Academy of Science to examine the role and the effects, both positive and negative, that electronic media have in the lives of children, and to set research priorities. The CDC will then issue grants over a period of six years to researchers to examine the impact of media on children's and adolescents' ability to learn and their social, emotional, physical and behavioral development."

"As parents and policymakers, we need to better understand the effect of the constant barrage of media on our children," Clinton said in a statement. "Our children are growing up immersed in interactive, digital and wireless media that is constantly changing. We need better, more current research to study the impact of the new media dominating our kids' lives, and we need to make sure our research keeps up with the times as technology continues to advance."

CAMRA is not yet skedded for a full Senate vote.