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Introducing ChatGPT to Children: A Parent’s Guide

6 min

AI will empower the next generation of thinking radicals. Now is the time to get them using it.

Arriving in Piraeus (April 2023 - photo by me)

A skewed debate

AI has the potential to up-end education, to change our children’s future careers. The next generation of thinking radicals will live and work in AI-empowered ways we can’t yet understand. There’s no going back.

So as parents in these fast-evolving times, we should be introducing kids to AI early, letting them seize it with both hands.

And yet — the bulk of the debate around AI and kids is of the anxious, strict-father type. Could AI be used to manipulate children? How can I ensure they engage with chatbots safely? Will teachers know if they used AI to do their homework for them?

I get it; AI is new and scary. But I see it this way: kids who are digitally literate, responsible and resilient, will be able to use this new software safely and constructively by default. It’s up to parents to introduce them, guide them, provide guardrails, yes… but then leave them to make magic with it.

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So, with this (more nurturing? riskier?) approach in mind, here’s how I would onboard kids to AI. I’m using the example of ChatGPT, software that can understand and write text just like a human (and the fastest-growing app of all time). But much of this could apply to other tools in this category.

Let’s go.

1. Set the scene

We’re living through a technology step-change; it’s an exciting time, but also one of uncertainty — for everyone. However you feel about it, share it with your kid. Share it all.

Then describe how the AI works; what’s inside the magic box. And, vitally, its limitations. ChatGPT seems smart because it ‘reads’ lots of text from websites, books, articles, and conversations, and understands how words fit together by seeing patterns in that text. But it’s not omniscient: its dataset only goes up to September 2021. So you can’t use it for, say, breaking news. And though ChatGPT might seem authoritative, it’s not always 100% reliable. It can be biased, outdated, even wrong. Digital literacy applies!

2. Arrange access

Create an account for your child on OpenAI’s site — it’s free. (You can also share accounts, which will save conversations between devices, though you can’t use the service across two of them simultaneously). The free version uses an older version of ChatGPT; the latest, smartest version (GPT-4), costs 20 dollars a month. I recommend the latter if you can afford it.

Of course, supervise for younger children.

If you prefer to use an app, there are some in development. For iOS, I like Short Circuit, though the developer tells me support for GPT-4 may be 1-2 months away as of writing.

3. Provide the guardrails

Just as you might put a new toy in your kid’s box, let them use ChatGPT as a new option to spend their screen time on. Leave the choice up to them.

Yes, there’s always the risk that your child will use AI to research unsavoury topics. But it’s the same with unfiltered access to the web. And if they start their first ChatGPT session by researching how to build a bomb with supermarket ingredients, I’d say your kid has bigger issues than a too-forthright chatbot. (ChatGPT won’t give them an answer anyway — it filters out content it considers inappropriate.)

4. Prompts

Now the fun part. How can your kid use ChatGPT? Here’s a selection of prompts I’ve discovered, after tapping my ten-year-old for guidance.

Depending on your child’s age, you can use these to demonstrate ChatGPT, give them to your kid to try, or go through them and get inspiration for your own.

(Got others? Let me know and I’ll update this post.)

Some notes: Specifying the target age will make ChatGPT modify the answers accordingly. And if you’re not happy with the result, ask it to clarify, as you would a person. The more inputs you give it, the better.


The obvious one. Think of ChatGPT as a search engine, but instead of giving you a list of ad-cluttered, dubiously ranked pages, you’ll have a simple text-based response.

How do I create the biggest redstone contraption in Minecraft?

Why does an hour have 60 minutes, and how was that decided?

How long would it take to go around the world on a kick scooter?

I just finished Harry Potter. What similar books can you suggest for me?


ChatGPT is a decent author, if you give it some inputs. Got younger kids? Read the result out to them.

Write a story with the words tennis, balloon and Dorito.

Write a story featuring a frog, Zeus and a white car called Herbie.

You can also get ChatGPT to use characters you specify. Or write a sequel to one of your kid’s favourite stories. AI-generated fan fiction!

Write a short story featuring Tintin and Spiderman.

Or, ask it to create an interactive tale, where the software will ask you for prompts.

Let’s create an interactive story. Ask me questions to develop it.

It’s weird, but fun.


You can use ChatGPT to improve your kid’s language skills.

Ask me vocabulary game questions for a four year old.

Or try a multiple choice knowledge test. Just pick a subject that interests them.

Ask me multiple choice questions on dinosaurs, for a ten year old. Wait after each question and tell me if the answer is correct.


ChatGPT really shines when you hunt for answers a search engine could never provide. Here’s two from my ten-year-old:

In a fight to the death between a fully grown, adult male sabre-tooth tiger and a modern-day polar bear, who would win? How long would it take the winner to win?

If the Devastator character from the Transformers episodes (the first and second seasons, in the 1980s) were real, how tall would he stand?

Fun songs

Or mix general knowledge answers into a song, poem, whatever.

Describe the Greek revolution of independence in verse form, for 7-year-olds, and make the verses rhyme with the song The Wheels On The Bus

Describe the 2000 Supreme Court decision that ultimately gave power to George W. Bush, written in rhyming verse, and designed to be sung to the music of the song Royals by Lorde

That last one was a bit of a joke and yeah, probably not for kids. But ChatGPT still performed admirably. Here’s what it responded:

(Verse 1) In the year two-thousand, a tale began, A presidential race, close as it ran. Gore and Bush fought for the chair, Each state's results, watched with great care.

(Chorus) This power struggle, oh, how it unfurled, A decision to shape the whole wide world. The highest court, they took their stance, In the end, George Bush got his chance.

(Verse 2) Florida's results were in dispute, The count was tight, no one could refute. A recount needed, that much was clear, But how to proceed, with deadlines near?

(Chorus) This power struggle, oh, how it unfurled, A decision to shape the whole wide world. The highest court, they took their stance, In the end, George Bush got his chance.

(Bridge) Five-to-four, the justices say, "Stop the count, no more delay." Bush v. Gore, it made its mark, In history's pages, it left a spark.

(Chorus) This power struggle, oh, how it unfurled, A decision to shape the whole wide world. The highest court, they took their stance, In the end, George Bush got his chance.

(Outro) The nation watched, the world stood by, As the court ruled, with a deep sigh. A new leader, in Bush they trust, The Supreme Court's decision, forever discussed.

And so on

This is just scratching the surface, and ChatGPT gets smarter every day.

The goal for parents, I think, is to have AI supplement your kids’ learning, not replace it. To use it not for them to create, but as a starting point for their own creativity. For example, you could use an answer from ChatGPT to stimulate a conversation, or as a prompt to develop something offline. Experiment and see what you come up with.

Keep ahead of the curve

Lastly, stay on top of new developments. The AI landscape is shifting every week. RAISE is a good place to start for the latest news on AI tools.

And if you’ve suggestions or feedback on how to onboard the next generation, let me know and I’ll update this post.


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