Use of ChatGPT for homework among American adolescents

(Maskot/Getty Images)
(Maskot/Getty Images)

About one in five teens who have heard of ChatGPT say they have used it to help them with their schoolwork, according to a new Pew Research Center survey of American teens ages 13 to 17. Most teens have heard of ChatGPT, that’s 13% of all American teens who have used the generative artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot in their schoolwork.

A bar graph showing that among teens who are aware of ChatGPT, 19% say they have used it for schoolwork.

Teenagers in higher grades are particularly likely to have used the chatbot to help them with homework. About a quarter of 11th and 12th graders who have heard of ChatGPT say they have. This proportion drops to 17% among ninth and tenth graders and 12% among seventh and eighth graders.

There is no significant difference between teenage boys and girls who have used ChatGPT in this way.

The introduction of ChatGPT last year has generated much discussion about its role in schools, especially whether schools should integrate the new technology into the classroom or ban it.

The Pew Research Center conducted this analysis to understand American teens’ use and understanding of ChatGPT in the school setting.

The Center conducted an online survey of 1,453 American teenagers since September 1. From October 26 to 23, 2023, via Ipsos. Ipsos recruited the teenagers through their parents, who were part of its KnowledgePanel. The KnowledgePanel is a probability-based web panel recruited primarily through a national random sampling of residential addresses. The survey was weighted to be representative of American adolescents ages 13 to 17 living with their parents by age, gender, race and ethnicity, household income, and other categories.

This research was reviewed and approved by an external institutional review board (IRB), Advarra, an independent committee of experts that specializes in helping to protect the rights of research participants.

The questions used for this analysis are presented below, along with the answers and their methodology.

Teen Awareness of ChatGPT

Overall, two-thirds of American teens say they have heard of ChatGPT, including 23% who have. a lot about. But awareness varies by race and ethnicity, as well as household income:

A horizontal stacked bar chart showing that most teens have heard of ChatGPT, but awareness varies by race, ethnicity, and household income.
  • 72% of white teens say they have heard at least a little about ChatGPT, compared to 63% of Hispanic teens and 56% of black teens.
  • 75% of teens living in households earning $75,000 or more per year have heard of ChatGPT. Much smaller percentages in households with incomes between $30,000 and $74,999 (58%) and less than $30,000 (41%) say the same.

Teens who are more familiar with ChatGPT are more likely to use it for schoolwork. Approximately a third of adolescents who have heard a lot about ChatGPT (36%) have used it for schoolwork, well above the 10% among those who have heard a bit about.

When do teens think it’s okay for students to use ChatGPT?

For teens, whether or not it is acceptable for students to use ChatGPT depends on what it is used for.

There is quite a bit of support for using the chatbot to explore a topic. About seven in ten teens who have heard of ChatGPT say it is acceptable to use it when they are researching something new, while 13% say it is not acceptable.

A diverging bar chart showing that many teens say it is acceptable to use ChatGPT for research;  few say that it is okay to use it to write essays.

However, there is much less support for using ChatGPT to do the job yourself. Only one in five teens who have heard of ChatGPT say it is acceptable to use it to write essays, while 57% say it is not acceptable. And 39% say it is acceptable to use ChatGPT to solve math problems, while a similar percentage of teens (36%) say it is not acceptable.

Some teens are not sure if it is acceptable to use ChatGPT for these tasks. Between 18% and 24% say they are not sure if these are acceptable use cases for ChatGPT.

Those who have heard a lot about ChatGPT are more likely than those who have only heard a little about it to say that it is acceptable to use the chatbot to research topics, solve math problems, and write essays. For example, 54% of teens who have heard a lot about ChatGPT say it is acceptable to use it to solve math problems, compared to 32% among those who have heard a little about it.

Note: Here are the questions used for this analysis, along with the answers and their methodology.

Olivia Sidotti He is a research assistant focusing on technology and Internet research at the Pew Research Center.

Jeffrey Gottfried is an associate director focusing on technology and Internet research at the Pew Research Center.

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