Artificial intelligence in social mediaWhat do parents need to know about Snapchat's new chatbot My AI?

The app Snapchat, which is popular with children and teenagers, is now a household name for most parents. But did you know that with My AI there is also an artificial intelligence in your child's friend list? We answer the most important questions for parents about the new chatbot on Snapchat.

According to the JIM Study 2022 , 45% of young people use Snapchat regularly. 13% use the app to find out about current events. With the new My AI function in Snapchat, artificial intelligence is now available to Snapchat users on their smartphones at all times. Due to the top position in the friends list, this is also unavoidable.

Snapchat specifies 13 as the minimum age in its terms and conditions. For use between 13 and 18 years, Snapchat specifies that the parent or guardian must have consented to the use. For more information on why online platforms set minimum ages, see this article.

What is My AI on Snapchat?

My AI, meaning "My Artificial Intelligence", is the new generative AI chatbot on Snapchat. The chatbot is based on ChatGPT and is used for chatting and simple research. It is a stripped down version of ChatGPT that writes shorter texts and pretends to be a friend on Snapchat. Users can give the chatbot a name, add it to groups, and edit the appearance of the avatar. It is also possible to share pictures in the chat. The bot does not contact users itself, but responds to messages.

When the bot is used for the first time, a short text about My AI informs users that it is a chatbot and not a real person. It is also pointed out that users should not rely on My AI's advice, as the chatbot can also make mistakes. The user is also informed that data from the use of My AI can be saved and analyzed.

How to delete My AI?

Currently (as of 17.05.2023), it is not possible to banish the chatbot from the top of the friends list or delete it completely without a paid Snapchat+ subscription. Users will therefore have to put up with the pink-green colored avatar for the time being. Anyone who uses the chat can report inappropriate responses. This works by holding down the message in question and then clicking on "Send feedback".

What does My AI do with my child's data?

Snapchat saves all messages and content that are sent to the bot. Even if you delete them afterwards in the chat, the deletion is only superficial. The location is also saved unless the location sharing is deactivated. You can deactivatelocation sharing via the settings on the smartphone or in the app. The chats are not only used to improve Snapchat and its AI tool. The data is also used to personalize Snapchat content and advertising.

In the settings, there is an option "Clear My AI Data." Snapchat states that this will delete past conversations with My AI from Snapchat's systems.

What should children and young people keep in mind when using My AI?

Make it clear to your child that My AI is a machine and that it is not communicating with a real human. As Snapchat itself writes, My AI is prone to error. Information can be made up or facts can be jumbled to make answers seem plausible.

Explain to children and young people that they must always critically question information from chatbots like My AI and check it against other sources . Chatbots can be useful as a source of inspiration or for asking simple questions. However, they are no substitute for an independent source of information and one's own critical thinking.

In research, found that My AI is insufficiently geared towards use by children and young people. For example, the chatbot recommended drinking games and movies to minors with a release age of 16 or 18.

Make it clear to children and young people that confidential and personal information should not be sent to My AI. Conversations with My AI are not private and can be evaluated.

This text is based on an article by our partner