O2 and NSPCC highlight the digital language gap between generations

What Mobile
October 28, 2018

  • Research reveals there is a conversation chasm between generations with 48% of parents admitting to not understanding the phrases their children use
  • O2 and the NSPCC launches first ever ‘Parents v Kids’ voice-activated quiz on Amazon Alexa to help to get parents and their children talking to each other about the online world.
  • Former Spice Girl, Geri Horner, and her daughter Bluebell take on the generational knowledge challenge


 O2 and the NSPCC have launched a quiz pitting the digital knowledge of parents’ vs kids to encourage families to have conversations about their online activity and help to bridge the generational language gap.

The need for the game, available on Amazon Alexa, is highlighted by research commissioned by the partnership showing nearly half (48%) of parents with children aged between 8 and13 years feel confused with the language that younger people  use.

The survey of 1,000 parents and children aged between 8 and 13 also revealed young people are now more equipped to speak confidently about who has the most views on YouTube or celebrity culture rather than topics taught on the school curriculum, including history, politics and science.

54% of children knew that Zoella is one of the most viewed stars on YouTube compared to just (17%) of children who knew who invented the internet. In contrast, parents often feel confused by the language that their children have adopted, from the latest acronyms to the sometimes cryptic meaning of emojis. More than a third (39%) stated that they felt there is a language divide between generations.

O2 and the NSPCC are working together to show parents and children that sharing knowledge is the key to bridging the digital divide, with the Parents v Kids’ quiz being the latest step on this journey.

Former Spice Girl, Geri Horner and her daughter Bluebell, aged 12, were the first to experience the inter-generational quiz via Amazon Alexa before it officially launches today.

Speaking about the game Geri said: “Having a young daughter, myself, I can really relate to the differences in language between generations. I think it’s great that O2 and the NSPCC are doing something to address it in a fun engaging way that appeals to both children and adults. There was definitely an element of competitive fun between Bluebell and I and it was a great way to spend time with her whilst learning from each other. She was very happy that she beat me, we will have to have a rematch!”

The research results also revealed what they do have in common and unveiled the top five emojis for both generations:

  1. Smiling faces
  2. Crying with laughter
  3. Heart
  4. Thumbs up
  5. Winking face

The most commonly used acronyms across both generations included LOL, which assumed different meanings as parents also thought it meant ‘lots of love’ instead of ‘laugh out loud’. 47% of adults and 51% of children stated they used it the most compared to other acronyms. BRB came in second with 22% of adults using this most commonly compared to 30% for children.

The Parents v Kids quiz is available on Amazon Alexa and is designed to be played between parents and children aged from 8 – 13.  The quiz features television presenter Lauren Layfield asking the kids questions and comedian and Pointless presenter Richard Osman as the voice for team parent.

Nina Bibby, CMO, O2 said: “Our findings have highlighted the language divide between children and parents, and the challenges that this can create in today’s constantly evolving digital world.  We understand the importance of helping families explore the online world together and the Parents v Kids quiz aims to help educate both generations and explore the online world in a fun and inclusive way.”

Laura Randall, Associate Head of Child Online Safety at the NSPCC said: “It’s great to be able to continue our mission with O2 to bring children and parents together online through the new Parents v Kids Quiz. As the internet has taken a more and more prominent role in young people’s lives it is vital that they feel they can communicate freely with their parents about what they are doing, something this game will help facilitate.”

O2 is working in partnership with the NSPCC to educate parents and help them feel more confident about talking to their child about their online activity so they can enjoy the online world safely. They have developed a range of free online resources available on the O2 NSPCC Hub, including a Net Aware app which explains the social networks, apps or games their children use most frequently. Parents can also access personalised advice and support about family online safety via the free O2 NSPCC advice line, which is open five days a week (0808 800 5002), alongside face to face advice from O2 Gurus in over 450 stores nationwide. The resources are available to everyone, both O2 customers and non-O2 customers.

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