Me, thinking to myself late last week, “Omg have I really made 100 Ask Trish videos/posts?!”
Hi there, Ask Trish readers! I hope you’re all well and having a great week. Welcome back to another week of Ask Trish!
This week marks a pretty special milestone for Ask Trish…believe it or not, this is our 100th video/post! (Ahhhh!) Can you believe it?! It feels like just yesterday that we were launching in the summer of 2021…and now, about two and a half years later, we’ve produced so much incredible content, touching on everything from social media anxieties to AI to tackling serious digital challenges, like sextortion.
To mark this milestone and celebrate a little (as we all should when we hit a cool goal!), I thought I’d use this post to share a little about what I’ve learned over these last 100 videos/posts – the themes I’ve seen in folks’ questions, the trends that have emerged in our digital world, the things that continue to worry me and the things that give me hope about the internet. I don’t want to soliloquize – and I doubt you want me to either! – so I’ll try and keep it brief, but I’ll also link and point back to some of our most popular and/or, I think, interesting posts. Sound like a plan? Let’s get into it:
- AI has become increasingly relevant – and likely will only continue to become more important. If you’ve been paying attention to Ask Trish recently, you’ve probably noticed a lot of posts/videos about AI. AI – what it is and the impacts that it will have – have defined recent conversations about the internet and really captured the fascination of digital citizens, including and especially young digital citizens. On Ask Trish, we’ve covered everything from AI current events, like The New York Times’ lawsuit against OpenAI, the UK’s AI Safety Summit, and the leadership debacle at OpenAI; we’ve also talked about notorious AI applications that affect youth and adults like, like deepfakes and AI scam calls; finally, we’ve talked about how we might govern AI – and the questions that prospective AI rules and regulations pose. For me, what really comes out from all of this coverage is one key theme: uncertainty. This space is far from set – there’s a lot ahead, including plenty that we don’t know about. Our readers know that, too (I’d like to think that’s why they’re so curious about this stuff!). Another theme that comes out to me is: dueling possibilities. On Ask Trish, we’ve emphasized that AI can be used in ways both positive and downright scary and harmful. We’ll have to stay tuned to see what ultimately manifests in the future.
- A range of cyberharms remain extremely relevant for youth – something that youth, parents, and educators alike should all take note of. In the two and a half years that I’ve been doing this, every month, consistently, my most asked question from readers is sadly always about instances of sextortion or revenge porn. We know that these are issues that a small minority – but of course, still far too many – youth face, and we also know that these issues may only become more prevalent as technologies like AI, which make image and video creation even easier and more realistic, become more popular. We’ve also heard from readers about experiencing cyberbullying, anxieties over social media, and struggling to set boundaries with their fellow digital citizens. And of course, readers also note struggling to create boundaries with their devices, and stick to a healthy device time. Clearly, these issues remain relevant for younger generations, including Gen Alpha. To me, the lesson is clear: we’ve got to think critically about how to support young people in building a digital experience that is safe, affirming, and puts them and their interests in the driver’s seat. I have no doubt that conversations about doing exactly that are only going to attract more attention in the coming months.
- But with the bad comes good, too – the internet clearly remains an important space for youth expression and creativity. Unsurprisingly, even as they navigate unwanted digital challenges, youth are still excited to leverage the internet to express themselves and be creatives. Ask Trish readers have asked about how to more safely steam content, how they can feel comfortable getting started on social media – and sharing content they want to share, how they can find positivity online, and how they can leverage the digital world to be an activist and raise awareness about the issues and causes that they are passionate about. (Yup, our community is awesome!) #AskTrish For me, the key takeaway here is that young people are excited to be online – on their terms. When they can find digital spaces and experiences that support them/that they enjoy, those experiences and spaces can be deeply valuable. It’s super important, then, that in helping them find a good digital balance, we help them find the parts of the internet that bring them joy, spark curiosity, and help them be who they are.
I hope you enjoyed this brief recap – here’s to many more videos/posts ahead! A special shout-out to those of you who have been around for the past 100 videos/posts – thank you for supporting Ask Trish from Day 1! And for those of you who have joined along the way, I hope you’ve come to enjoy this community as much as I have.
Speaking of more videos/posts…I need your help to make it happen! Take 2 minutes and share your internet-related thoughts and questions with me here. Remember, absolutely anything you’re wondering about is valid. Thanks a ton in advance for your contributions.
Have a great week,