Last week, senators Brian Schatz and Michael Bennet of Hawaii and Colorado sent a letter to the National Institutes of Health that asks what science has to say about tech addiction, the impact of social media on society, and technology’s effects on young minds. “Congress has a vital role to play on matters of public health, but we should legislate on the basis of sound and solid evidence,”

The senators gave the NIH until June 15 to provide a response to this list of questions:

 

  • Is there consensus in the scientific community on whether our society is becoming addicted to technology?
  • What are the public health effects of social networking apps that are purposefully designed to maximize user engagement?
  • What are the public health consequences specifically on children and adolescents?
  • Have there been independent scientific analyses on the psychological effects of certain mobile application features?
  • Are technology companies and app developers providing sufficient data?
  • How does the increased use of technology affect child development?
  • What gaps exist in our understanding of technology and its influence on child development?