Learning to Navigate Technology to Protect Children

From the point of view of Growing Up Safe Magazine Writer, Laura Bijnsdorp: While writing the articles for this 10th issue of Growing Up Safe—Sint Maarten, several professionals have indicated that they have been hesitant to explore new technology, especially those categorised as ‘AI’. I understand. Last year, I used ChatGTP for the first time. This new technology, that can generate articles within seconds, first shocked me as a writer: “Will it replace my work!?” So, I avoided it.

But we cannot avoid technologies such as generative AI forever, especially if we want our work to ‘keep up’ with these fast-paced technological times.

How about we face ‘the code’ (we hardly understand) together?

Fast forward a few months later, and I became curious again when I read a press release that was clearly ‘generated’ by ChatGTP or another generative AI text program. I wondered if ChatGTP could write like me. I gave ChatGTP several prompts, and so far, I realised: No, it cannot write like me. Ppfeeww!

My writing has a human touch, and I don’t mean spelling mistakes, haha. I mean that my writing has a specific style and human emotion that ChatGTP cannot (yet) emulate.

So, for now, my fears have subsided and I have been using it more and more. I’ve asked ChatGTP to polish my LinkedIn introduction. It has provided me with 20+ title ideas when I had writer’s block. It has made my work easier by creating a quick summary of a long boring meeting. Last week, I asked it to generate a funny poem for a birthday card about my friend Rachel and her cat Moonshine. *Poof* in just a few seconds:

As Rachel blows out candles, Moonshine meows,
Their antics together always raise brows.
So here’s to Rachel and her feline co-star,
Happy Birthday, may your adventures be bizarre!

As you see, all you need to do is ask ChatGTP a question, or more accurately ‘a prompt’. So that is what you are going to do.

1). Go to: https://chat.openai.com/

2). You might have to sign up; if yes, then follow the easy instructions.

3). Now, you will be able to give ChatGTP a prompt. Give it a try. If you’re lacking inspiration, and since this is a child protection magazine, I suggest this prompt: what programs can I use to keep my children safe online?

As you see on your screen, ChatGTP will give a general summary of steps you can take to protect children online. Let’s go a bit deeper:

4). Prompt: Can you explain in detail how to install a parental control on my child’s Iphone 13?

Now, you can read the steps to set up parental controls on an iPhone 13. Cool, right?!

Perhaps you are not a parent, but you are a teacher. And you have been worried about ChatGTP and how that will affect how students do assignments and learn. However, text generators are not as advanced yet that they can fully mimic a specific writing style. As you will notice, ChatGTP writes quite formally, often uses sentences that are complex, and lacks sources. AS a teacher, you know your students and their level of writing, trust me, you will know if they are giving you a ‘ChatGTP’ generated essay.

So instead, think about how ChatGTP can help you. For example, it can help you form your next lesson plan:

5) Prompt: Can you help me plan a 45-minute lesson plan about online safety for students 12 years old?

It will now generate an overall lesson plan to guide you in how you could structure this lesson. If you want it to elaborate on any of the topics presented, just ask!

Remember, never copy-paste and use ChatGTP content without reading it over and ensuring the material presented is correct. ChatGTP is an amazing generative text AI, but it can present wrongful information, depending on the source it gets its information from.

ChatGTP should be used as an aid to the work you do, a source of inspiration – not replace your work. For example, perhaps you are a police officer, and you would like to check out what interesting programs are out there to help you protect children.

6) prompt: I’m a police officer. What AI programs might be interesting for my work protecting children?
And a myriad of suggestions of tools and programs are suggested by ChatGTP that can help monitor online platforms for signs of cyberbullying, grooming by predators, or illegal activities involving children.

In conclusion, ChatGTP is just the beginning. As child protection professionals or caregivers, it is your choice or maybe even your 21st-century responsibility to check out new technology, especially if our children are using it. This way you can better understand the possible dangers but also use them to your advantage in your work to guide and protect children.