A national study examining patterns of use, excitement, and concerns

Findings reveal a nuanced understanding of how different demographic groups perceive and interact with generative AI technologies

Generative artificial intelligence (AI) is an integral part of the digital landscape, creating new opportunities for people to learn, create, and innovate. At the same time, it poses risks to everything from privacy to equity to accuracy. Young people serve as early adopters and influencers of this technology and also will be the first to grapple with its implications.

The nuanced views of teens and young adults from diverse demographic groups are extremely important in considering the future of generative AI and the programs, policies, and design features this new technology brings. In this report from Hopelab, Common Sense Media, and The Center for Digital Thriving at Harvard Graduate School of Education, young people offer valuable insights into the potential benefits of generative AI, such as broader access to information, enhanced creativity, and 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.

Young people were directly involved in the creation of survey topics and questions and the interpretation of results. Findings in this report primarily come from a larger national survey of digital technology and youth
mental health.

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.
Amy Green, Head of Research, Hopelab

Report key findings

  • Key Finding 1

    Half (51%) of young people (ages 14-22) surveyed have used generative AI at some point in their lives; however, only 4% report being daily users.

  • Key Finding 2

    The most commonly reported uses of generative AI are for getting information (53%) and brainstorming (51%). Among those who used generative AI, Black and Latinx young people are significantly more likely to use it for most activities.

  • Key Finding 3

    Among those who have never used generative AI, one-third (34%) think it would not be helpful.

  • Key Finding 4

    Forty-one percent of young people believe that generative AI is likely to have both positive and negative impacts on their lives in the next ten years. LGBTQ+ young people are more likely to say the impact of generative AI will be mostly negative and less likely to say it will be positive compared to cisgender/straight young people.

  • Key Finding 5

    Those who expect mostly positive personal impacts from the future of generative AI describe how broader access to information will help with school, work, and their wider community, enhance creativity, and foster opportunities for human advancement.

  • Key Finding 6

    Young people anticipating mostly negative personal impacts highlight concerns about the future of generative AI related to the loss of jobs, AI taking over the world, intellectual property theft, misinformation/disinformation, and privacy.

  • Key Finding 7

    Young people want adults to know that “the world is changing,” we are the future,” and “AI is the future.” Some are concerned, saying, “AI is very creepy,” and “AI concerns me,” while others are optimistic, sharing sentiments like, “I really cannot wait to see how it evolves in the future.”

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