How does Snapchat’s new AI function “My AI” impact young people?

25 May 2023 UK SIC

Snapchat, a popular social media platform among young people, has introduced a new Artificial Intelligence (AI) chatbot called “My AI.” While this feature offers various benefits, it is important to consider the potential risks associated with its use, particularly for young users.

In this article, we delve into the latest AI chatbot on Snapchat and its impact on young people’s wellbeing.

To read the full guidance, view Childnet’s article here. Childnet are a partner of the UK Safer Internet Centre and focus on making the internet a great and safe place for young people online.

What is Snapchat?

Snapchat, a messaging app, enables users to share disappearing content known as “Snaps,” including photos, texts, and videos. The app also features a “Story” function for sharing content with all contacts, which remains visible for 24 hours.

What is Snapchat’s new AI function?

“My AI” is an AI chatbot integrated into Snapchat’s messaging section. It engages users in conversation and responds to their queries and inputs. While it can provide helpful information and support, there are potential implications for young people’s mental health. As an example, the chatbot’s interactions, although resembling conversations with real people, may contribute towards feelings of isolation and loneliness.

It is important to recognise that chatbots cannot replace genuine human connections, and their responses may not always grasp the subtleties of conversation or understand youth slang. As well, responses can potentially lead towards reinforcement of negative self-talk and the spreading of harmful, biased or inaccurate ideas.

Privacy concerns within “My AI”

Privacy concerns have also been raised regarding My AI. Parents and carers should remind young users to be cautious about sharing personal information within the chat and consider developing resources in schools and organisations to educate young people on protecting their privacy during chatbot interactions.

To facilitate responsible use of My AI, parents and carers can follow some essential guidelines. While Snapchat’s My AI offers convenience and personalisation, parents and caretakers must be aware of potential risks and promote healthy use.

The UK Safer Internet Centre’s partner, Childnet, offers valuable insights on this topic in their article, ensuring users remain informed as this technology continues to evolve.

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