WASHINGTON — The controversy over media’s influence on children drew more attention from Congress as four House lawmakers are jointly sponsoring a bill that would create a program within the federal Centers for Disease Control to study the issue.
The Children and Media Research Advancement Act, introduced on Monday by Reps. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Melissa Hart (R-Pa.), Joe Baca (D-Calif.) and Harold Ford Jr. (D-Tenn.), calls for research on the impact of all forms of electronic media — television, movies, DVDs, interactive videogames, cell phones and the Internet — on children’s cognitive, social, emotional, physical and behavioral development.
Citing a dearth of hard research into the effects of media on kids, who on average are exposed to more than six hours of electronic media daily, the legislators said that if Congress wants to develop effective media policy, the bill is necessary because currently “no federal research agency has responsibility for overseeing and setting a coherent media research agenda that can guide policy decisions,” according to a joint statement.
Two children’s advocacy groups, Children Now and Common Sense Media, endorsed the legislation.
A companion bill was introduced in the Senate earlier this year.