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New Report Uncovers Young People’s Patterns of Use, Excitements, and Concerns About Generative AI

San Francisco, June 3, 2024 – Today, Hopelab, Common Sense Media, and The Center for Digital Thriving at Harvard Graduate School of Education released the report, Teen and Young Adult Perspectives on Generative AI: Patterns of Use, Excitements, and Concerns. This study examines generative AI use by race and ethnicity, age, gender, and LGBTQ+ identity and shares a nuanced understanding of how different demographic groups perceive and interact with generative AI technologies. Young people were directly involved in the creation of survey topics and questions and the interpretation of results.

“As generative AI continues to evolve, it is essential that the voices and experiences of young people are included in developing these tools and how they will transform many aspects of our society,” said Amy Green, Head of Research at Hopelab. “To generate more responsible technology that empowers young people and prioritizes their needs, we must, collectively, connect our findings with the work of advocates, policymakers, and technology leaders.”

The key findings, which supplement responses to a large national survey on social media’s role in young people’s mental health, include: 

  • Half of the survey respondents (ages 14-22) have used generative AI at some point in their lives; however, only 4% reported being daily users. 
  • The most commonly reported uses of generative AI were for getting information (53%) and brainstorming (51%).
  • Among those who have ever used generative AI, Black young people are significantly more likely than their white peers to turn to it for a variety of reasons, including to get information (72% vs. 41%), brainstorm ideas (68% vs. 42%), and help with schoolwork (62% vs. 40%). 
  • Latinx young people who have ever used generative AI are more likely than white young people to use it for making pictures or images (39% vs. 24%), making sounds or music (27% vs. 7%), and getting help with their job (24% vs. 10%).
  • Among those who have never used generative AI, a third (34%) said they believed it wouldn’t be helpful. 
  • LGBTQ+ young people who have never used generative AI are more likely than their cisgender and straight peers to say that they didn’t use those tools due to concerns about inaccuracy and bias in the information provided (34% vs. 14%).
  • Forty-one percent of all respondents believe that generative AI will impact their lives both positively and negatively in the next 10 years. 
  • Young people want adults to know that “the world is changing,” and “AI is the future.” Some say “AI concerns me,” or “AI is very creepy,” while others “cannot wait to see how it evolves in the future.” 

The nuanced views of teens and young adults from diverse demographic groups offer valuable insights into the potential benefits of generative AI, such as broader access to information, enhanced creativity, and a more expansive ecosystem. However, some young people also expressed concerns about potential negative impacts, including job loss, AI taking over the world, intellectual property theft, misinformation and disinformation, and privacy issues.

“Understanding young people’s perspectives about generative AI is paramount, especially when considering programs, policies, and design features that impact the mental health of marginalized and minoritized populations like LGBTQ+, Black, and Latinx youth,” said Amanda Lenhart, Head of Research at Common Sense Media. “Generative AI brings unknown privacy, equity, and accuracy risks. Understanding the perspectives of early adopters helps us prioritize their well-being.”

As new technologies continue incorporating generative AI, the report highlights the growing need for ongoing data collection and analysis to expand our collective understanding of its use, mitigate its potential harms, and promote equitable access to its benefits.

Emily Weinstein, Co-founder of The Center for Digital Thriving added: “The conversation about technologies like generative AI can be both critical and optimistic, and it needs to be. The insights from this study can also inform new resources to support youth around their uses of generative AI. A compelling example in these data is some teens’ descriptions of using AI for companionship and comfort.” 

As generative AI becomes increasingly integrated into daily life — including workplaces, schools, and social interactions — it is crucial to explore its impact on young people, particularly Black, Brown, and queer communities. Understanding the nuances of generative AI adoption and use among young people is crucial for educators, caring adults, tech companies, and policymakers. Hearing young people’s perspectives can guide better practice and policy decisions and foster a more informed dialogue.

Download the full report here


About Hopelab

Hopelab is a transformative social innovation lab and impact investor working to support the mental well-being of adolescents, ages 10-25, especially BIPOC and LGBTQ+ youth. Through targeted social impact investments, youth-centered design and research support, and translational science partnerships, the organization leverages 20+ years of co-creation experience to influence systems change while centering health equity. Learn more at

About Common Sense Media

Common Sense is the nation’s leading nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of kids and families by providing the trustworthy information, education, and independent voice they need to thrive in the 21st century. Learn more at

About The Center for Digital Thriving 

The Center for Digital Thriving is a research and innovation center at Harvard Graduate School of Education. We are proudly based at Project Zero, which has a long history as a home to research that leans into areas where there is little or perceivably zero communicable knowledge or consensus. Our mission is to create knowledge and research-based resources that help people — especially youth — thrive in a tech-filled world. We envision a world where people can thrive as we live with ever-changing technologies. This is a world where people, and youth especially, have digital agency: meaningful choice, intentionality, and control over the ways technology fits into our lives. For more information, visit

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