Jersey City — Is it too soon to talk about Gen Z’s parenting habits? Recent statistics show that despite only 11% of Gen Z being married or having children, 55% of Gen Zers (and Millenials) desire to have children.
As the digitally native generation approaches parenthood amidst the AI-tech boom, researchers are anticipating how Gen Z will blend technology into their parenting.
When the AI horror movie “M3GAN” hit the scene in 2023, the world began discussing the implications of children using artificially-intelligent toys to aid their cognitive development.
The twisted nature of the science fiction horror film left the world wondering: where will we draw the line between technological innovation in children’s toys and parenting?
While movies like “M3GAN” seem to display a futuristic take on what is up next in AI, the reality is companies like California-based Embodied, Inc. are working to scale artificially-intelligent toys everyday.
Their product Moxie, is an engaging animated companion for children designed to help promote social, emotional and cognitive development through everyday play-based learning.
Embodied launched Moxie in 2020, with the goal of helping children engage in meaningful play led by technology that is up to date on key topics to hit in child development and early childhood education. According to the company, every week with Moxie is a different theme such as kindness, friendship, empathy or respect and children are tasked to help Moxie with missions that explore human experiences, ideas and life skills.
Since launching, Embodied Moxie has had over 4 million conversations with children. Today, Moxie is marketed as an AI emotional support robot that sells for $1,500.
While the thought behind using AI to teach children key development skills is understandable in the sense of efficiency, I am sincerely skeptical about how much parents will depend on a toy to practically raise their kids. (Similar to what we saw happen in the movie M3GAN)
Most children today already depend on iPads or other deceives for a majority of their entertainment. Adding a mono-toned robot to the toy rotation will lead to a larger dependance on tech to teach kids, rather than human-parents.
Mental and emotional support, in my opinion, should lie in the hands of parents to teach.
Depending on tech to teach children sensitive development topics implies that parents would rather use AI to take up some of their parental duties over taking on the task themselves.
Keeping it gee, I imagine that Gen Zers may find themselves at a 50/50 split when deciding to use or to not use AI-toys with their children. The technology is emerging and the use-cases are still being proven. While I personally hope a wide majority of the world doesn’t rely on robots to teach their kids – I imagine that Gen Alpha children who grow up using toys like Moxie will likely be more inclined to use it with their kids over any other generation.
Miranda Perez (she/her/hers) is a Jersey City, NJ-based journalist who covers the tech industry. Follow her on X and Instagram: @mimithegee.
Edited by NaTyshca Pickett