Project Profile

Social Media Co-Pilot: Enhancing Teens? Digital Literacy and Cyber Safety Education with AI-based Conversational Intervention


The prevalence of cyber risks in online environments calls for digital literacy and cyber safety education to prevent and mitigate harms that can lead to serious and long-lasting consequences for teens. Artificial intelligence (AI)-based conversational agents have great potential to improve digital literacy and cyber safety education because they can provide personalized, dynamic, and immediate learning guidance and feedback. The goal of this research is to educate teens on safe, responsible, and ethical conduct on the internet through Social Media Co-Pilot, an innovative AI-based conversational intervention embedded in an interactive and realistic online learning environment. By dynamically analyzing learners? input, the Co-Pilot will identify ?teachable moments? and offer personalized, conversational feedback to reinforce prosocial behaviors and discourage risky actions online. With the capacity to assume different conversational roles appropriate to the situation (e.g., a more knowledgeable peer, a peer needing immediate help, an adult mentor etc.), Social Media Co-Pilot will guide a learner into a deeper reflection and responsible actions when confronting common social media risks and pitfalls, such as online aggression, privacy violation, phishing, and scams. This project will benefit all youth, but will provide additional, customized support to vulnerable and underserved communities, thus reducing digital divides. Youth?s improved digital literacy and cyber safety skills can provide a foundation for STEM literacy and enhance their readiness to pursue STEM careers.

The PIs will employ cutting-edge natural language processing (NLP) techniques to develop the conversational agent that drives Social Media Co-Pilot. They will iteratively refine Social Media Co-Pilot with teens and educators, whose formative feedback will inform incremental improvement of the tool and provide personalized in-situ conversations and critical reflection on various cybersecurity challenges. Co-Pilot will be developed using large language models with extensive input from racially and ethnically diverse teens and educators to ensure its relevance to different learners, as well as its effectiveness and scalability. Once built, PIs will evaluate the effects of Social Media Co-Pilot on youth?s cyber safety knowledge and behavioral outcomes through a randomized field experiment. By leveraging educational theories to inform improvements in the design and evaluation of Social Media Co-Pilot, this project will contribute new knowledge about the effectiveness of AI-based conversational agents as experiential learning tools. It will also advance the understanding of human-centered AI design and novel ways to customize large scale NLP models in the education domain, while ensuring reliability, transparency, and fairness in design and application.

This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.


Social Media


Principal Investigator(s)


Award Number
2302975, 2302976, 2302977
Project Duration
2023 - 2026
Pennsylvania State Univ University Park
Lehigh University, PA
Project Status