A new survey from the National 4-H Council found that tweens and teens believe that generative AI will benefit their education and careers, but that they also have concerns about cheating and privacy. The survey further found that these students want support from adults in learning how to use AI tools correctly and with confidence.

According to the survey, the majority of young people – 66 percent – expressed at least some understanding of what generative AI is and how it can be used. But the overwhelming majority of kids – 72 percent – are also seeking more support from the adults in their lives on how to use the technology.

The National 4-H Council found that the desire for adult guidance is particularly high among younger survey respondents, which ranged from ages 9-17. Among children aged 9-12 years, 84 percent said they would like at least some help from adults in learning how to use different AI tools. That number dropped to 63 percent for children aged 13-17 years.

Despite the desire for more guidance, survey respondents were broadly optimistic about the potential of generative AI for their education and careers. A strong majority of respondents – 64 percent – believe that generative AI will help them learn things that they will need to know in their future careers, and 58 percent said it would help them improve how they learn at school.

Despite that sunny outlook, respondents do have concerns about AI, including how the technology could be used for cheating – 61 percent – or to expose private information about them – 53 percent.

“Like with any new technology, we need to educate, empower and equip young people with the necessary skills to use generative AI in a responsible way,” said Courtney Gregoire, chief digital safety officer at Microsoft, which partners with the 4-H Council. “4-H’s findings help us all understand how youth are using these new tools. We welcome these insights as we continue to evolve our approach and provide additional resources to those who need them.”

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk SLG's Assistant Copy & Production Editor, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs