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Say what? The lexicon of kids & teens

Updated: Feb 7, 2022

Trying to authentically talk like kids and teens has always been a challenge for brands and content creators.

Thanks to our Beano Brain Trendspotters, a longitudinal, ethnographic panel following the lives of 7 to 16 year olds, we have the pleasure of speaking to kids and teens every week. But no one evolves than these young consumers. From the playground to Netflix, TikTok to Fortnite, they are constantly being bombarded with new words and phrases which permeate their language.

So one month into 2022, how are kids and teens talking? And what is having the biggest influence on the lexicon of kids and teens?

TikTok trends remain a huge influence on their lives. Cultural references can filter down into their everyday dialogue, despite never having seen the show it originated from. For example five months on from it airing, Chloe Burrows’ Love Island speech looks like it’s here to stay:

“It’s sooo bad. An abomination, The audacity!”

Words (and careers) which may still seem relatively new to adults have now become clear frames of reference for kids and teens:

Dexter, my best friend was playing Fortnite, so I did then others were playing it and now it’s back – I’m an influencer not a follower.

There’s no greater proof of Gen Alpha and Z’s global mindset than their mix of transatlantic language:

I and my friend Amy have the same crush – Henry – but I think he likes me better. She also likes Toby and I think he’s fit too.

Interestingly (and reassuringly!) there is evergreen language which never leaves their vocabulary:

“I’m giving it a big thumbs up, eight point five out of ten”

“Fanta is so much better than Coke. I like all flavours apart from apple – it’s a bit random

“Nope, no YouTube – I’ve gone rogue!”

“TikTok’s been kinda dry!”

But this creative generation also creates their own turns of phrase on almost a weekly basis:

Fortnite’s been a bit annoying lately – it’s been really laggy on my Switch.”

I finished Cobra Kai in one day – I find it rather dashing! (wink)”

There’s one song that’s decent – House of Memories by Panic at the Disco. I heard it at my friend’s house and then I searched it up

Brands don’t need to speak exactly like them to engage kids and teens. However to feel authentic to these savvy cohorts, brands do need a strong understanding of their lives and frames of reference.

If you’d like to understand kids and teens better and get a clear and authentic view of their worlds, please get in touch and use our brain. We’re here to help.


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