Teenagers rely on AI – should we be concerned?

Research shows, that within the UK alone, 79% of teenagers who are online, use generative AI. Far more use AI than those who don’t. Are younger generations becoming reliant on new technology?

Teenagers rely on AI - should we be concerned? Image of an AI robot on a bench reading what looks like a magazine.
Credit: Unsplash

During a UK study, it was found that 79% of online teenagers are using generative AI. The age range asked were between 13 and 17 years old. All use an AI service or tool of some form. Whether this be a chatbot, or an information source.

From this survey, it was also found that 40% of children ages 7-12 use AI. However, only 31% of adults do. This shows that younger generations are far more likely to turn to generative AI than adults are. Perhaps this is because adults are more sceptical.

Will future generations use generative AI as an educational resource?

The more children turn to AI, the more it will become the norm to do so. If it continues to pick up at the rate it is, we will likely see entire generations using AI in the future. Is this an issue, or is it something that will actually benefit individuals?

It’s important to note, the study includes services like ChatGPT, and Dall-E, but also Snapchat who now have an AI feature. This is the option that is most popular with younger generations. The feature is a chatbot which communicates almost like a human would.

Snapchat’s chatbot is extremely popular with younger users

There have been concerns over Snapchats chatbot, but, 51% of online 7-17 year olds are still using it. Comparing this with those of the same age using ChatGPT is quite interesting. Only 34% of males in this bracket, and 14% of girls are using the AI feature.

Perhaps those within this age group prefer a tool they can converse with, rather than sourcing data. Which, is slightly more relieving, because they aren’t therefore relying on AI to answer all their questions. A whole generation who rely on AI for information could be concerning.

Adults use generative AI in different ways

Younger generations can continue to use AI as something to chat with and create funny conversations, that’s not so bad. Providing they’re still getting their educational tools elsewhere, we don’t see an issue.

From this Ofcom survey, adults were asked how they use AI tools. It found 20% use it to create poetry or lyrics, 20% use it for images, 9% use generative AI for videos, and 4% are using it to make audio. However, they didn’t detail what kind of audio – sounds, music?

It seems, for now, AI is being used in a healthy way. Adults are using it for recreation, or inspiration. Children are using it as a bit of fun. Therefore, we don’t see an issue. Hopefully as AI expands, our reliance on it won’t.

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