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S-O school district urges caution with Snapchat chatbot

The Sibley-Ocheyedan School District is advising families and parents about the release of a new chatbot on Snapchat.

The district states in a letter that a chatbot is a computer program designed to simulate conversation with human users. In other words, a person can ask a chatbot questions or ask for advice, and it will respond as if it is a real person. Unless you are a Snapchat+ subscriber, you cannot remove My AI from your chat screen or block My AI.

All Snapchat users have the ability to personalize their My AI by changing its name and its avatar. Though this may seem like a neat feature, it presents a concern, as students have the ability to modify the appearance and the name of the avatar to look like any person they choose. For example, a student could modify their avatar to look like their best friend and have their best friend’s name. Another concern that the new My AI raises is the instant personalized and empathetic reactions of the chatbot.

Parents and families are advised that if their students have Snapchat, they should take the time to talk to them about the My AI feature.

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