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  • Julie Baron, LCSW-C

Absolute Insanity (Or Just AI?)

(From What Works With Teens Newsletter- originally written on May 8, 2023)

Just when adults think they have figured out the tech world with enough knowledge to almost catch up to teens, a whole new and seismic shift is occurring. Artificial Intelligence, as you likely have been hearing more about, is from my perspective, about to unleash a profound shift in how we pervasively function. You can bet that teens will figure out all the nooks and crannies before we know even a fraction of the possible impacts on our youth.

Did you know that AI:

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. When humans cannot keep up with the pace of change, it can create greater vulnerability to anxiety. We can proactively support mental health for teens (and by extension us) by generating some sense of predictability as these new and impactful changes are afoot. I think it is safe to say we are on the brink of likely one of the revolutionary eras that will change the way we teach, learn, work, play, get around, and maintain wellness.

As AI takes on more and more human functions it may even change the way we relate and who or what we seek as sources of support. It is incumbent upon us as caretakers of teens, to learn more about AI, anticipate the ways it will change so many aspects of our lives, and begin to think about how this new technology will affect our youth. It took too many years to figure out the impacts, positive and negative, of social media on our teens. As a school counselor at the time, I felt blindsided when MySpace first came out. The start of the social media boom sent adults in a tailspin about the breech of privacy for teens and the subsequent trouble they stumbled into. We had no idea what was to come!

Thus far, research and our experience points to the great impact our human relationships have on our sense of wellbeing. As supportive adults, we can help teens think through the ways AI can be an asset and avert potential pitfalls if we make efforts to get ahead of this technological tsunami. By creating some predictability and coping ahead, we may be able to avert some of the potential dangers and feel prepared for what is to come. Let’s use the best resource we have to support how our teens evolve into this whole new world of AI so it does not become absolute insanity.

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