New research warns that many schools and parents are unprepared for the AI revolution

A teacher helps a student on a laptop.

Warning that many schools and parents are unprepared for the AI revolution as new Internet Matters research reveals a quarter of children are using artificial intelligence apps to do their schoolwork.


  • New Internet Matters research reveals that already a quarter of children are using AI tools to complete or help with their schoolwork. In total, four in ten children say they have engaged with generative AI, including over half of 13-14-year-olds.
  • The survey by Internet Matters shows many children are finding using AI a positive experience – raising the prospect that AI use is likely to increase rapidly among young people and impact on all children’s lives in the future.
  • However, the report also warns that a lack of official guidance is leaving schools and many parents in the dark about the potentially profound impact of AI on homework and classroom learning. 60% of parents have not been informed about how their child’s school plans to use generative AI tools for teaching.

Children's Wellbeing in a Digital World 2024

Britain’s leading not-for-profit supporting children and families to keep safe online, is today publishing its third annual “Children’s Wellbeing in a Digital World” index.

Internet Matters is today publishing a report, Artificially Intelligent? Children’s and parents’ views on generative AI in education, revealing the potential impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on the education system, children, and parents.

The report sets out how over the last year the growth of ChatGPT and other generative AI tools have propelled AI into children’s lives, raising both new opportunities and challenges to the education system.

It reveals that while parents are concerned about the growing impact of AI in education, children are already embracing it, believing that it will be beneficial for their learning. A survey of 2,000 parents of children aged 4 to 17 and 1,000 children aged 9-17 carried out by Internet Matters in November 2023, estimates that a quarter of children are now using AI for schoolwork, and in total four in ten children are engaging with AI tools – including half of all 13-14-year-olds.

As AI plays an ever-growing part of children’s daily lives, the report also warns that a lack of Department for Education guidance around the use of AI in schools and at home is leaving parents and teachers in the dark about AI’s future role in learning and studying.

Although the department is consulting on AI’s impact on schools and is clearly alert to the significant future impact on the education system, the report argues that government efforts are too narrowly focused on how AI can improve school efficiency and reduce workloads rather than the more fundamental questions about the integration of AI into children’s learning and what this means for current and future generations. Currently, there are no national guidelines to help schools understand how they can or should be using generative AI, or what needs to be done to manage its impacts.

The report warns that in the absence of national guidelines, and as increasing numbers of children use AI, schools are taking very different approaches, with some more proactive than others at realising the opportunities of generative AI and reducing risks.

The report’s main findings include:

Over half of children (54%) who are using generative AI tools have used them to complete or help with homework or schoolwork, suggesting almost 1 in 4 children are using generative AI as part of their schooling.

As household income increases, children are both more likely to have used and heard of ChatGPT. In households where income is less than £10,000 per year, only 11% have used it, while 45% of children where income is £80,000 or above are AI users.

13–14-year-olds are most likely to be engaging with generative AI to complete or aid homework and schoolwork. Of those children using Google Gemini (previously Bard from Google) to support their homework or schoolwork, 54% are aged 13-14, compared to 24% aged 11-12 and 21% aged 15-16.

Over four in ten (44%) of children are actively engaging with generative AI tools. This use is particularly high amongst 13–14-year-olds, with over half (53%) having used generative AI.

60% of parents have not been informed about how their child’s school plans to use generative AI tools to teach students, raising the question of whether some schools are considering the impact of AI at all. Additionally, 60% of students say their school hasn’t spoken to them about how they can use AI in relation to homework and schoolwork.

41% of children believe AI will be beneficial to their education, compared to 29% of parents.

Recommendations for Government

The report makes a series of recommendations to the Government, including:

  • Calling on the Department of Education to provide more advice and support in the immediate term to schools to support teachers, parents, and children to benefit safely from AI tools, and to think about the potential benefits and limitations.
  • There should be further consultation with children and parents on any new guidance – as well as with schools and sector experts – to ensure that it speaks to the concerns and needs of families.
  • Schools should ensure that rules around using generative AI to support learning are clear to both children and parents – including expectations about appropriate use in the classroom and at home.
  • Guidance should advise schools on how to educate children about the implications of generative AI and how to foster responsible use of AI technologies.
  • Guidance could include clear boundaries around appropriate uses of AI in the classroom, marking exam papers, and other uses, and could set out key issues/limitations of generative AI (such as tendency to bias and potential for false or misleading information).
  • Guidance could also be given to schools on how to prepare and train staff on using AI technologies safely and securely, including information on bias, misleading information, and data security. Any guidelines will need to be frequently updated with the pace of change of generative AI technologies

“Generative AI is here to stay and tools like OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Snap’s My AI are increasingly a part of children’s lives. Already a quarter of children are using AI for schoolwork and nearly half of 13-14-year-olds are using AI tools regularly.

“With just a few prompts, an entire essay can be crafted, or an image can be generated, fundamentally changing the way we produce and share content, and how children learn.

“However, our survey shows that both parents and children are unprepared for the AI revolution and most have many unanswered questions about the impact of AI on their daily lives, their children’s safety & wellbeing online, their education, and their futures. Many are being left in the dark by the lack of guidance for schools, and it is clear more support, guidance and training is needed urgently.

“The Department of Education’s recent work on AI policy and regulation in schools is welcome, but too narrow. Fundamental questions about how children can and should interact with generative AI need to be considered. Not least of which is how AI will impact the nature of their education, exams, teaching and homework – these are no longer talking points for the future – rapid change is happening now.

“Government must provide more advice and support in the immediate term to schools to support teachers, parents, and children to benefit safety from the worthwhile applications of AI tools.”

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