A new survey found that teens increasingly use AI technologies for getting their schoolwork done. Yet despite their inclination towards putting AI to work, a significant majority of teenagers consider that use to be a form of cheating.
The survey, conducted by Junior Achievement and research firm Big Village, questioned 1,006 13- to 17-year-olds and found that more than four in 10 teens are likely to use AI to do their schoolwork instead of doing it themselves this coming school year.
The responses from the students highlighted various reasons for the reliance on AI. Sixty-two percent of the students considered AI as just another tool for schoolwork; 24 percent expressed discontentment with school or schoolwork; 22 percent believed that AI eliminates the need to acquire knowledge; 22 percent succumbed to peer pressure; 17 percent feared poor academic performance without AI; and eight percent deemed subject knowledge as unimportant.
“These insights provide a comprehensive understanding of the factors driving teens’ reliance on AI and the underlying mindset behind their choices,” the survey states, adding that the widespread practice further highlights the normalization of AI usage in academic settings.
Moreover, the report acknowledges that as the educational landscape evolves to meet the demands of the digital age, it becomes crucial to assess the implications AI has on traditional teaching methods, students’ critical thinking skills, and the acquisition of in-depth subject knowledge.
However, despite their increasing use of AI, 60 percent said they perceive the use of AI for schoolwork as cheating. This, according to the report, raises important questions about the ethical dilemma and potential consequences on education if students continue using AI.
“Generative AI can be a great tool to boost productivity, but unfortunately many people, especially teens, are seeing it as a shortcut,” Jack E. Kosakowski, President & CEO of Junior Achievement USA, said. “The misuse of AI to do all schoolwork not only raises ethical concerns, but this behavior could also short-change many students’ educations since they may not be learning the subjects, they are using AI for. Given the growing demand for marketable skills, this could become very problematic.”
The use of AI for schoolwork has become a widespread practice, with 48 percent reporting knowing friends or classmates who have utilized AI to complete their schoolwork.
“The importance of equipping students with marketable skills cannot be understated, and striking a balance between leveraging AI’s potential benefits while preserving the value of a comprehensive education becomes vital,” it reads.