Talk to Your Teen About ChatGPT

by | Jul 4, 2023 | Study Skills | 0 comments

Before we dive into the good, the bad and the ugly of ChatGPT, let’s pause for a moment and appreciate the irony. Just when we, as Gen X parents, thought we had social media under control, a new player steps onto the stage, demanding our attention.  We’re still catching up with all the different social media platforms, and now this? Talk about feeling overwhelmed!

To be honest, deep down, there’s a part of me that secretly wishes I could pass the torch to the next generation, and let them tackle these technological marvels. But reality kicks in, and I know I can’t just bury my head in the sand. And you shouldn’t either. We must face it head-on, arm ourselves with knowledge, and guide our teens through this uncharted territory.

So, buckle up, my fellow parents! Let’s learn about the intriguing yet perilous realm of ChatGPT. I’ll share some practical tips and strategies on how to initiate a conversation about ChatGPT with your teen. Trust me, we’re in this together!

ChatGPT and teens

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty, let’s take a moment to define what ChatGPT actually is – just a quick pit stop for those who might not be familiar with it.

ChatGPT is an artificial intelligence system that uses machine learning to generate human-like text responses. It’s like having a chatbot on steroids, capable of engaging in conversations and offering all sorts of information and assistance. Think of it as Siri or Alexa’s clever cousin!

Now that we have the basics covered, let’s explore the sunny side of ChatGPT, shall we? Believe it or not, this wizard of the digital realm has its fair share of positives for our teens. Here’s a glimpse of what ChatGPT brings to the table:

  1. Instant Knowledge Boost: ChatGPT serves as an encyclopedia on demand. Whether it’s helping with homework, clarifying complex concepts, or providing insights on various topics, ChatGPT is a valuable resource that can support your teen’s quest for knowledge.
  2. Creative Writing Companion:  ChatGPT can be a fantastic writing buddy, sparking our teen’s creativity, and even helping them refine their narrative skills. It’s like having a writing partner available at their fingertips!
  3. Help with homework assignments: ChatGPT can serve as a valuable aid for teens facing difficulties with their homework assignments. When your teenager finds themselves stuck on a complex math problem or in need of research assistance for a history project, they can turn to ChatGPT for guidance. This app provides instant comprehensible information in a conversational style, making it easier for them to grasp and follow along. It’s a helpful tool that empowers teens to tackle their academic challenges with confidence.
ChatGPT: the good the bad and the ugly for teenagers

But there are pitfalls and potential negatives that ChatGPT can introduce into our teens’ lives.

  1. We don’t want our teens to rely too heavily on ChatGPT for all their academic tasks. It’s essential for their growth and development that they don’t become overly dependent on it. If they rely on ChatGPT too much, it can actually hinder the development of their critical thinking and problem-solving skills. We want them to be able to think for themselves, analyze information, and come up with creative solutions. So, encourage them to use ChatGPT as a helpful tool, but also remind them to exercise their own brainpower. 
  2. There is, of course, the potential for cheating. With the ability to access instant information and assistance, it’s tempting to misuse ChatGPT as a tool for academic dishonesty, which obviously undermines the learning process and integrity of education. Many schools have banned the use of ChatGPT to prevent students from cheating instead of doing their own work.
  3. ChatGPT does not always provide accurate and reliable answers. ChatGPT has its limitations and is influenced by the information and data it was trained on. So, if that data is flawed, it’s likely that the answers ChatGPT gives might also be flawed. And if the instructions or questions are unclear or depend on context, it can lead to misinterpretation and incorrect responses.
  4. ChatGPT can be used for criminal activities. If you ask ChatGPT, it’ll tell you it’s not meant for criminal shenanigans. But we all know it’s inevitable that people will try to ask it inappropriate stuff and get some questionable answers. There have been numerous cases where people have managed to trick ChatGPT into providing guidance on all sorts of risky, shady, and downright illegal activities. We, as parents, need to make sure that our teens understand the potential dangers and consequences that can arise from misusing such tools.
  5. Privacy and security risks. Another challenge is the potential for privacy and security risks. Engaging with ChatGPT involves sharing personal information and queries, which may be stored or used for various purposes. It’s essential to educate our teens about safeguarding their privacy and being cautious about the information they share, especially in an online environment.
How to talk to your teen about ChatGPT

By now, you probaly realize why we can’t ignore the topic anymore.

How can we broach the subject of ChatGPT with our teens in a way that resonates and sparks productive conversations? Here are a few tips to help you navigate this delicate terrain:

  1.  Be curious, not condemning: Approach the topic with genuine curiosity rather than a tone of judgment. Show interest in what your teen finds appealing about ChatGPT, and use that as a starting point for discussions.
  2.  Educate together: Take the journey of exploring ChatGPT alongside your teen. Learn together, ask questions together, and encourage critical thinking. By treating them as equals in this exploration, you’ll foster a sense of mutual respect and openness.
  3. Foster Empowered Decision-Making: Instead of imposing restrictions, empower your teen to make informed choices about their interactions with ChatGPT. Encourage them to think critically about the content they consume and the potential risks involved.
  4. Emphasize Digital Responsibility: Teach your teen about the importance of responsible online behavior, including the need to protect their privacy, verify information, and maintain a healthy balance between virtual and real-life connections.

Remember, our aim is not to scare or control our teens, but to empower them with the knowledge and skills to navigate the digital world safely and confidently. By approaching ChatGPT with an open mind and engaging in meaningful conversations, we can bridge the gap between generations and keep our teens well-equipped for the future.

Hope this helps,

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Hey there, I´m Marielle

As a parenting coach and life coach for teen girls, I have seen firsthand the impact that a strong mother-daughter bond can have. In my blog, I share my insights, experiences, and tips to help mothers create deeper connections with their daughters, navigate the difficult moments, and feel more confident in their parenting journey.

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