Here are some tips to help you navigate AI safely, embracing the good bits but being aware of the dangers.

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Children are already interacting with AI technologies in many different ways they are embedded in toys, virtual assistants, video games, and adaptive learning software.

Algorithms provide recommendations to children on what videos to watch next, what news to read, what music to listen to and who to be friends with.

Here are some tips to help you navigate AI safely, embracing the good bits but being aware of the dangers.

Set time limits: Establish boundaries on the amount of time children spend interacting with AI devices or applications. Encourage a balanced lifestyle that includes various activities such as physical exercise, socialising, and creative play.

Choose age-appropriate content: Ensure that the AI applications and content your children engage with are suitable for their age and development level. Look for AI platforms that offer parental controls and content filtering options.

Encourage critical thinking: Teach children to think critically about the information provided by AI systems. Help them understand that AI is not infallible and that they should verify facts from multiple sources before accepting them as true.

Foster creativity and problem-solving skills: While AI can be a valuable tool, encourage your children to engage in activities that promote creativity and problem-solving without relying solely on AI. Encourage them to come up with their own ideas, solutions, and strategies.

Promote digital citizenship: Teach children about responsible and ethical online behaviour. Help them understand concepts such as privacy, cybersecurity, and the importance of treating others with respect when using AI technologies.

Be involved and supervise: Stay involved in your child’s AI interactions. Supervise their use, particularly with younger children, and be aware of the AI systems and applications they are using. Engage in conversations with your children about their experiences and any concerns they may have.

Stay informed: Keep yourself updated on the latest developments and trends in AI. This will enable you to have informed discussions with your children and guide them effectively in their use of AI technologies.

Encourage offline activities: Balance AI usage with offline activities that promote physical, social, and emotional well-being. Encourage hobbies, outdoor play, reading books, and spending quality time with family and friends.

Be a positive role model: Demonstrate healthy AI use yourself by setting an example. Show your children how to use AI as a tool for learning, creativity, and productivity, rather than as a means of excessive consumption or mindless entertainment.

Open communication: Create an open and trusting environment where your children feel comfortable discussing their experiences with AI. Encourage them to ask questions, seek guidance, and share any concerns they may have.

Remember, the healthy use of AI with children is a balance between leveraging its benefits and fostering a well-rounded, diverse set of skills and experiences.

However, little attention is paid to how AI systems will affect children and their rights. This is especially concerning, as children are less able to fully understand the implications of AI technologies and often do not have the opportunities to communicate their opinions, nor the right advocates to support them. Children also often lack the resources to respond to instances of bias or to rectify any misconceptions in their data.

Most national AI strategies and major ethical guidelines make only cursory mention of children and their specific needs.

To help fill this gap, UNICEF worked with experts from around the world to gain regional perspectives on AI systems and children.

You can read their report here:

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