In today's digital age, teenagers are growing up in a world where artificial intelligence (AI) is part of everyday life. From virtual assistants like Siri and Alexa to “recommendations” on social media platforms, AI is shaping how teens think about technology and absorb information all around them. There are pros and cons to this—and some mental health considerations, too. Connecticut Children’s Pediatric Psychologist, Preeti Sandhu, PsyD, shares her expertise. 

1. Education and learning

AI-powered educational tools are changing the way teenagers learn. Platforms like Khan Academy and Duolingo use AI algorithms (like formulas) to make learning feel more personal to individual needs. Some even provide instant feedback. 

The pros. AI can:

  • Cater to different learning styles and paces.
  • Make education more accessible and engaging for teenagers.
  • Help those with learning difficulties such as ADHD or autism by generating quizzes or lesson reviews. 
  • Assist teenagers with proofreading, organization of notes, and problem solving in more engaging ways. 
  • Find resources for projects and up-to-date information teenagers need for assignments.  

The cons. It's important to know about...

  • Inappropriate content: AI tools do not have settings or filters in place to protect teens. We encourage you to review the platforms with your child to help monitor what they see and use. 
  • Bias and accuracy: AI uses information from various sources, so content may be misleading, biased, and inaccurate. 
  • Relying too much on technology: AI is a tool, not a substitute for learning.  It’s important to work with your teenager on the best way to use AI while still developing their own critical thinking skills. 
  • Honesty and original work: Encourage your teen to be honest about how much and for what purpose they are using AI. If they can’t tell you, they may be relying on AI too much which can raise concerns about plagiarism.    

2. Social media and entertainment 

Teenagers are no strangers to social media, and AI plays a major role there.

The pros. AI can...

  • Give instant gratification: Social media users can get the information they want, when they want it, with personalized content feeds, videos and posts. 

The cons. It's important to know about...

  • Internet safety: The lack of parental filters and settings in AI can make social media safety harder to navigate. Continue to work with your teen to make social media work for them, safely.  
  • Truth and accuracy: Again, not everything you see on social media—let alone AI—is accurate. Stay close to your teen without hovering and do your best to see what they’re seeing. 
  • Privacy concerns: Privacy is just as important with AI. Review how to clear browser history, cookies and block any suspicious users.   

>Related: Help Your Teen Navigate the Digital World 


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3. Teenage health and well-being

AI-driven health apps and wearables have made their debut in the world of physical and mental well-being. 

The pros. AI can...

  • Encourage: These tools can empower teens to take charge of their own health.
  • Support: Fitness trackers and mental health chatbots can be a source of support. 
  • Problem-solve: Some tools do offer solutions to help teens manage their health.

>Related: Is Your Teen Asking Their Doctor These Questions? 

The cons. It's important to know about...

  • Screen time: While easier said than done, work with your teen on ways to reduce screen time.
  • Lack of supervision: Unsupervised technology time can lead to teenagers finding harmful content. 
  • Isolation: Teenagers may often choose these tools over in-person social interactions. Check in on their mental health
  • Extreme behavior: If you notice a sudden drop in grades, loss of interest in activities or hiding other extreme health behaviors, get the conversation going. Pull in your pediatrician or a mental health professional to help find healthier ways to engage with these tools.  

>Related: Mental Health Resources for Parents 

4. Life milestones and decisions

What does the future look like for our teens? We do know that AI skills are becoming more valuable in the job market. 

The pros. AI can...

  • Create opportunities: Using these tools might open doors for jobs in robotics and data science. Digitally savvy teens can create their own tech startups and possibly become entrepreneurs—all thanks to AI. 
  • Help set goals: AI tools can help teenagers work with their teachers, parents, and counselors to create and track progress towards their career goals.  

The cons. It's important to know about...

  • Changes in the job market: Are robots taking over the world? Not really, but they’re not going away. The speedy, efficient work of AI may eliminate certain job functions, so it’s important to look ahead and talk with your teen about their interests, goals and backup plans. 
  • Ethics and values: We’ve already talked about AI as a tool, not a crutch, as one goes through life. Encourage open conversation with your teen. Take a genuine interest in their interests. This approach will become important as our teenagers live the daily impact of ever-evolving technology.   

>Related: What's the Plan After High School? 


Some additional food for thought about AI in society

While AI offers numerous benefits to teenagers, it also raises important questions about learning, social media and life milestones. Parents must educate their teenagers about these issues so they can become responsible adults and members of society.

As AI continues to evolve, try your best to prioritize education, open dialogue and working together as a team. 

>Related: Safe-guard Your Teen from Cyber-bullying