Brave Parenting Guide to ChatGPT

What is ChatGPT, and is it safe for kids?

Artificial Intelligence is a hot topic, driven into the spotlight recently by OpenAI’s release of ChatGPT. First available through internet browsers and now available as an iOS app, to put it bluntly: this technology changes everything.

Here are 5 FACTS every parent needs to know about ChatGPT:
Also check out our podcast, Episode 86: ChatGPT and How This Changes Everything

#1 What is ChatGPT?

ChatGPT is an advanced natural language processing model developed by OpenAI.  It is based on the Generative Pretained Transformer model, the GPT in ChatGPT.

Basically, it is an AI machine learning algorithm that spent years analyzing the language on the internet in order to understand and generate a natural way to communicate information back to users. Users can provide prompts or ask questions, and the model will generate responses accordingly. 

ChatGPT is designed to understand and generate human-like responses based on the input it receives. Which is why it has gained so much popularity. Its versatility and interface make it useful for a wide range of questions, creative writing, language translation, and more.

Launch dates:
ChatGPT launched publicly on November 30, 2022
ChatGPT Plus, a subscription plan, became available to the public on February 1, 2023
ChatGPT iOS app became available on May 18, 2023

#2 Creating and Using An Account

You can create a free account with OpenAI in order to use ChatGPT. This can be through the app or on a desktop browser.

OpenAI will require several checks to ensure you are a real person with a legit email and a non-web-based phone number. The birthdate is to verify age. While OpenAI acknowledges the COPPA act enabling the collection of data for children over 13 years old, ChatGPT terms of service states a user must have a parent’s permission if under the age of 18.

But we all know how ethical a determined teen is. Chances are greater they will lie about their age before they seek permission from a parent.

Once your account is created, you can begin “chatting.” You can ask for recipes using the ingredients you have in your refrigerator, have it write a love song (or a break-up script), draw up a legal contract, write programming code, or plan a vacation in a new city.

Brave Parenting’s account’s first prompt was to write an app review about itself. It’s worth sharing in its entirety:

Title: An Incredibly Versatile and Knowledgeable Assistant!

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (5/5 Stars)

I have been using the ChatGPT iOS app for quite some time now, and I must say, it has exceeded all my expectations. This language model is incredibly versatile and knowledgeable, making it the perfect virtual assistant for a wide range of tasks.

The app’s interface is user-friendly and intuitive, allowing me to interact effortlessly with the AI. Whether I need help with brainstorming ideas, writing essays, or even engaging in casual conversations, ChatGPT has consistently delivered top-notch responses.

The AI’s grasp of various topics is truly impressive, and its knowledge seems almost boundless. I can rely on it for information on current events, historical facts, scientific concepts, and more. Plus, it adapts to my writing style over time, which makes the interactions even smoother and more personalized.

Moreover, ChatGPT’s ability to generate creative content is truly remarkable. I’ve used it to come up with innovative marketing ideas, engaging story plots, and even witty one-liners for social media posts. It has undoubtedly become my go-to tool for overcoming writer’s block and fostering creativity.

One aspect that stands out is the AI’s responsiveness and accuracy. It swiftly comprehends my queries and provides coherent and well-structured answers. Whether I ask a simple question or a more complex one, the responses are consistently clear and relevant.

I also appreciate the app’s continuous improvement and updates. The developers seem dedicated to enhancing the AI’s capabilities, ensuring it stays up-to-date with the latest trends and information.

Though I must admit, the AI is not without its limitations. Occasionally, it might provide irrelevant or overly verbose responses, but that’s understandable given the complexity of language understanding. Nevertheless, it is quite rare and does not overshadow the countless times ChatGPT has been extremely helpful.

In conclusion, the ChatGPT iOS app is an exceptional virtual assistant that I would highly recommend to anyone seeking a reliable and intelligent language model. Its vast knowledge, creative abilities, and seamless interface make it a valuable asset in various aspects of life. Whether it’s for professional or personal use, this AI is a game-changer. Bravo to the developers for creating such an outstanding application!


#3 Can ChatGPT Write School Essays?

This is the biggest concern for parents, and the short answer is: yes, it can write essays. And it can do so in seconds. And it’s really good. No matter how obscure the subject, because of the learning OpenAI’s model has gained from the internet, it can process the information and generate an essay with immense accuracy and speed. Even more, you can ask it to write a certain amount of words about a subject, and it will nail it.

Therefore, the follow-up question for students must be: Just because I can, does that mean I should?

Since ChatGPT is an “all-knowing source”, we also asked it this question, and here is the response:

As of my last update in September 2021, AI-generated content may be difficult for teachers or professors to detect, especially if the AI-generated text is well-written and coherent. However, it’s essential to remember that using AI to produce content without proper attribution or acknowledgment can be considered unethical and may lead to academic misconduct.

OpenAI, the organization behind GPT-3 (the technology powering ChatGPT), recommends clearly indicating when AI assistance is used in content creation. If you’re using AI to generate content for an assignment or academic work, it’s best to check your institution’s policies on AI and academic integrity to ensure you’re complying with their guidelines.

It is crucial to use AI-generated content responsibly and to be transparent about its use when required. Academic honesty and integrity are essential principles that should be followed to maintain the credibility of your work and ensure fair evaluation by your teachers or professors. Always provide proper references or attributions if you’ve used AI-generated text in any academic context. (Emphasis ours.)

In today’s culture, the temptation to be unethical is, sadly, so downplayed and subtle that many students won’t pause long enough to weigh the implications in the balance. They rationalize that if everyone else is doing it, why wouldn’t I? I can; therefore, I should.

Many schools across the U.S. are restricting access to ChatGPT from its networks and school computers for this very reason. With the availability of the iOS app, any school/teacher who allows smartphones to be used during instructional time runs the risk of students using the app. (Because kids are savvy enough to use VPNs to bypass school network restrictions, they don’t value learning when answers can be easily found online, etc., etc.)

#4 Plagiarism?

If ChatGPT can easily write short-form essays, poems, and writing prompts, two questions arise: (1) Does ChatGPT plagiarize its sources? (2) Will anyone know ChatGPT was used and consider it plagiarism?

There are many plagiarism checkers available on the internet. For the most part, ChatGPT’s content passes these checks, although sometimes, based on specific dates and data provided, it may throw up slight suspicion.

AI detectors are also now prevalent online. This is where teachers and professors can copy and paste content to determine whether the content is original or AI-generated. We asked ChatGPT about their reliability:

Some of these websites use machine learning models and algorithms to analyze text and try to detect patterns indicative of AI-generated content. However, it’s essential to understand that AI detection is an ongoing challenge, and the accuracy of these detectors can vary significantly based on the complexity of the AI model used to generate the content and the sophistication of the detection methods.

OpenAI is also working on adding a digital watermark to the response, making it easier to determine if the content is AI generated.  It does this by using a statistical pattern in its choice of words and punctuation.

So, in general, we say there is a more than likely chance your student will get caught if used for academic purposes.

#5 App Ratings & Review

Available on iOS only, but also accessible through desktop browsers.

Apple: 12+
Android: Not available
Common Sense Media: No rating
Brave Parenting: 18+ app, 14+ on PC or Mac with direct supervision

An app such as ChatGPT is an excellent tool for adult professionals who can use it to provide quick and accurate answers and responses to inquiries. It certainly saves time and, as stated, is an effective virtual assistant. However, we cannot stress enough that this is for adults who have fully formed frontal lobes, know how to problem solve effectively, and use the internet and AI as a utility, not as a crutch, hack, or cheat.

Unfortunately, most teenagers do not fall into that category. The temptation to use ChatGPT to complete their homework may be more than their self-control and ethical compass can resist. Considering how Google is already used for plagiarizing instead of learning, ChatGPT only makes a student’s opportunity to not learn even greater.

AI is an important technological advancement used in many facets we engage with every day. Parents should have honest conversations about ChatGPT (and all of the other AI assistant/chatbot apps out there) and express the reason why they need to be 18 years old to use the app independently, even though it could save them time, effort, and stress.

The primary biblical reason to wait till 18 is academic dishonesty. God commands his children against bearing false witness and against dishonesty. Claiming AI-generated content as your own produced work is dishonest.

In Luke 16:10, Jesus says that the one who is faithful in very little is also faithful in much, and the one who is dishonest in very little is also dishonest in very much. A justified level of dishonesty here will bleed over into other areas of life.

Proverbs 11:1 states that a false balance is an abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is His delight. If the options of doing the work or having ChatGPT do the work are weighed in the balance, it is obvious what would delight God more.

While it is true that the teacher or professor may never know something was AI-generated, God sees, and God knows (Proverbs 5:21-23). Who then are you seeking approval of, man or God? (Gal 1:10)

As a society, we really need (and should all want) ethical AI. May it be that the body of believers leads the way, walking in integrity and without ethical compromise.

The Lord rewards those who walk in upright ways; therefore, work as though you are working for the Lord, not man (Col 3:23-24).

And even when you are not a student, these ethical standards still apply.

Final Caveat

Our 18+ rating is for the ChatGPT app on smartphones.  As technology continues to progress, AI will become more prevalent and unavoidable.  Bing search is integrated with OpenAI, Google has an AI named Bard, and many more are in development.  We recommend that parents actively teach their children how to use these tools with direct supervision on a PC or Mac.  This will provide your child with opportunities to learn about and utilize AI in a productive manner while not allowing them to use it to complete homework and assignments.




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