Parent's Guide to Generative AI

Created for Meta by ConnectSafely

Meta has long used AI to help people discover new interests and connections and help keep its platforms safe but now it’s allowing users to use generative AI to enhance their experiences. Let’s start with a general overview of generative AI.

Generative AI uses artificial intelligence to create or revise content, which can include text, images, animations and computer code. It can be used to answer questions or create new documents, such as an itinerary for a planned trip or a poem in the style of Shakespeare. It can help as a research aid to help draft essays, reports, and other documents. It could be used to edit a photograph, summarize a long article into bullet points, adjust the tone of an email, compare products when shopping and much more.

A parent’s perspective on generative AI

It’s normal for parents to wonder how a new technology might affect their family. And, while generative AI brings up some issues that we have never had to deal with in the past, the basic approach to helping your teen use it safely, appropriately and productively is similar to how you may have already adapted to other technologies. It begins with understanding what it is and how your teens may be using it. One of the best sources of information may be your teen. Ask them if they are using generative AI and, if so, what they are doing, what tools they are using, what do they like about it and what concerns them. This might also be a good time to ask them and discuss pros and cons and potential risks of generative AI, and how it can be used responsibly.

And, while technology may change, values pretty much stay the same. You want your teens to have access to accurate information, to be thoughtful and responsible about what they create and share with others, and to take good care of others and themselves, which sometimes also means taking a break from technology.

As with all new technologies, generative AI is constantly evolving, so it’s important to keep up with changes over time, including reading news stories, along with help sections, blog posts and other updates from the services you and your teens use.

Meta’s use of AI

Meta has long used AI for a variety of purposes, such as helping to make recommendations and informing people about events that may interest them. It also uses AI to help keep its users safe.

Meta is now making generative AI available to users across its services. Meta’s new AIs, for example, can answer questions, engage in conversations on a variety of topics and can write in conversational tones. Each AI has a distinct personality and specialty, such as games, food, travel, humor, and creativity, but their answers are generated by AI, not real people.

You can have a one-on-one conversation with an AI or pull Meta AI into group chats by typing @Meta AI followed by a question or a request. People can also generate images by typing "/imagine" in a message when interacting with Meta AI or directly through the web experience.

Another example of generative AI is stickers, which are very popular on Meta’s platforms. Users can invoke AI generated stickers just by describing the image through text to help communicate and express themselves.

Meta includes visible indicators on photorealistic images generated by Meta AI to help reduce the chances of people confusing these images with human-generated content. Examples of these indicators include a visible burnt-in watermark on content from the image generator built into the Meta AI assistant, and appropriate in-product measures for other generative AI features.

Meta AI experiences are available to everyone in the US on its platforms and has guidelines that tell a generative AI model what it can and cannot produce. Learn more about how Meta works to provide safe experiences here.

Talking with your teen about generative AI

Identifying generative AI content

It’s not always easy to detect if something was created using generative AI. As with other posts on social media, content can be created by, pasted or uploaded by users and it is possible that they may not be labeled as generative AI. Some generative AI services, including Meta’s, will add visible markings so that you can identify a generative AI Image - but this is not always the case.

Meta allows users to upload content and it is possible for a user to upload something created by generative AI that is not labeled.

Verify Information

Generative AI has the possibility of generating incorrect information, sometimes referred to as “hallucinations.” Before relying on or sharing information from generative AI, it’s important to verify it from reputable sources and to be aware that scammers might use generative AI to try to deceive or exploit your teen.

Responsible Use

Remind your teen about their responsibility to be honest and kind in their use of generative AI, to cite their sources, abide by any school-specific rules and know that they are accountable for the accuracy and authenticity of their work. Parents should also talk about using AI-generated content for positive, not harmful, purposes.

Privacy and security

Remind your teen to protect their privacy and security when using any generative AI. A generative AI product may use the information you provide to improve its generative AI. It's important not to enter confidential information such as social security numbers, credit card numbers or anything that you wouldn’t want to share with others. Discuss the risk of AI-generated scams with your teens.

For more information for you and your teen on generative AI:

Meta Resources to support Teens

Teen AI guide

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