New study shows majority of US parents have concerns about AI but know little about the technology


Additionally, most American Christians and churchgoers wish they had more spiritual and theological guidance on AI

BOULDER, Colo. New data from Barna Group, conducted in partnership with Gloo, the leading technology platform dedicated to connecting the faith ecosystem and releasing its collective might, shows that parents have concerns about artificial intelligence but aren’t actively learning about the technology. The research reveals that while nearly three in four parents (72%) are concerned about AI’s impact on their children and teens, just 17 percent of U.S. parents strongly agree that, “I actively seek out information and resources to better understand AI technologies.”

“Our research underscores a pressing reality,” said David Kinnaman, CEO of Barna Group. “While roughly one-third of parents express strong concerns regarding the data privacy, security risks and negative cognitive impacts of AI use on their children, a low percent say they actively seek to better understand AI. Meanwhile, their kids are eagerly embracing AI and other emerging technologies. For parents to effectively guide their children through today’s digital landscape, moms and dads will need to swiftly join them in learning about AI so they can discern the impacts and appropriate use of these powerful tools for their kids.” 


On perceived understanding of AI: 

  • Parents of children: Just under half of parents (45%) with a child under age 18 strongly agree, “I understand what artificial intelligence is.”
  • Parents of young adults: Only 15 percent of parents with a child over 18 strongly agree, “I understand what artificial intelligence is.”
  • Pastors: Pastors are significantly more likely than U.S. adults to say they understand what AI is, with 34% who ”agree strongly” and 61% who “agree somewhat” that they understand the tech. 

On actual understanding of AI:

  • Despite strong interest in AI, many parents may not be aware of how often they already use AI in their personal lives.
  • Over half of U.S. adults (56%) answer “not very much” or “not at all” when asked, “How often are you using AI in your personal life?” However, when asked, “Do you regularly use technologies like Google search, social media, and GPS apps like Google Maps or Waze?” most U.S. adults report regularly using technologies that utilize AI like Google search (77%), social media (72%) and GPS apps (68%). 

On the desire among U.S. Christians and churchgoers for more guidance:

  • Artificial intelligence: 46 percent of Millennials say they wished they had more spiritual guidance on this topic, compared to 21 percent of Boomers, 32 percent of Gen X, and 32 percent of Gen Z.
  • Smartphones: 60 percent of Gen Z say they wish they had received more spiritual guidance on this topic, compared to 56 percent of Millennials and 37 percent of Gen X.
  • Online church attendance: 54 percent of Millennials report they had wanted more theological guidance on this topic, compared to 52 percent of Gen Z, 50 percent of Gen X, and 38 percent of Boomers.

“One of the most surprising insights in this set of data lies in what U.S. adults wish they had been prepared for when it comes to technology,” said Steele Billings, Head of AI at Gloo. “Among Christians and church attendees, roughly half say they wish they had received more spiritual or theological guidance from church leaders around the wise use of new tech, ranging from social media and smartphones to online church attendance and digital faith sharing. It underscores that the roles of parents and leaders at church and at work are more important than ever.”  

In addition to ongoing research Gloo is doing with Barna on AI, Gloo launched the AI & the Church Initiative to help the Church responsibly navigate and engage the evolving landscape of AI.  Each month Gloo and Barna will share fresh research on faith and AI and will publish a compendium of the data at a future date. 


Gloo is the trusted platform that releases the collective might of the faith ecosystem. As a leading technology innovator, Gloo connects people, partners, world-class content, funding opportunities and more to help ministries achieve their goals and change more lives. Gloo has more than 70,000 churches using its platform and connects as many as 1,000 new people to churches each day. Gloo is based in Boulder, Colorado.

Barna Group is a visionary research and resource company based in Dallas, Texas. Started in 1984, the firm is widely considered to be a leading research organization focused on the intersection of faith and culture. Conducting more than two million interviews over the course of thousands of studies, Barna has become a go-to source for insights about faith and culture, leadership and vocation and generations. Barna has worked with thousands of businesses, nonprofit organizations and churches across the U.S. and around the world. Barna is an independent, privately-held, nonpartisan organization based in Dallas, Texas, with offices in Nashville, Tennessee, Ventura, California, and Atlanta, Georgia.

About this survey
This data is based on a survey of 800 U.S. adults, conducted from February 16 – 20, 2024. The margin of error for the sample is +/- 3.1 percent at the 95 percent confidence level. For this survey, researchers used an online panel for data collection and observed a quota random sampling methodology. Quotas were set to obtain a minimum readable sample by a variety of demographic factors and samples were weighted by region, ethnicity, education, age and gender to reflect natural presence in the American population.

Sarah Bunyea
[email protected]

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Religion News Service or Religion News Foundation.

Donate to Support Independent Journalism!

Donate Now!