As a tech enthusiast and a parent, I often find myself exploring the intersection of technology, parenting, and education. Artificial intelligence, particularly large language models like the now-famous ChatGPT, has been making headlines for its potential in various applications, including education. While I am an ardent supporter of AI, I believe that we should approach new technology with caution, especially when it comes to our youngest children. At very young ages, the impact of both the “what” and the “how” is significant on brain development, and it’s likely that we cannot fully grasp the potential positive or negative consequences of certain choices.
There’s no denying that AI has come a long way in recent years. We’ve seen the creation of incredible tools that can produce stories, animate children’s drawings, and much more. These advancements have even allowed for heartwarming collaborations, such as the father who co-authored an entire book with his child, both in text and illustration, using AI.
While these developments are indeed inspiring, I can’t help but wonder if we’re skipping crucial steps in our understanding of what we’re doing. By relying heavily on AI, are we inadvertently stunting our children’s development of certain skills or cognitive abilities?
The Amish have a unique approach to technology, where they carefully assess the impact of new tech on their community and way of life before adopting it on a larger scale. I believe we can learn from their mindset, especially when considering the introduction of AI into our children’s lives.
I thought about writing this post when today I discovered my 7-year-old daughter using my old laptop (which she’s allowed to use for work and research purposes). I was curious about was she was doing because most of the time she asks me for help when she wants to use it. To my surprise, she had opened the word processor and started typing her own short story. A big title “The Magical Night” was on top of the page. This moment made me realize the importance of nurturing creativity and self-expression in our children, without the influence of AI.
Though I continue to be a strong advocate for AI and its potential benefits, I choose to keep my kids away from AI for now. I believe in giving them the opportunity to explore their own creativity and develop essential skills without the shortcuts that AI might provide. Every other day, I am amazed by the creativity my 4-year-old can spur out of her mind through her drawings and collages. Introducing such an amazing and absorbing tool as AI might unintentionally limit growth and exploration, which is a risk I am not willing to take.