Nothing stays static for long in the online world, and, while we ‘ancient’ moms carry on posting our antics on the likes of Facebook and Instagram, and think we’re pretty tech savvy because we’re in a few WhatsApp groups, our kids are embracing new apps, YouTube channels and social media channels faster than you can say ‘snapchat’. With YouTube introducing some sweeping changes to content aimed at kids, the coming year is going to be an important one for creators and viewers of online media.
And while it’s near impossible to keep up with everything our offspring are up to online, here are some key trends that are set to be biggies in 2020.
New Year, New Rules
As of January 1 2020, a whole new set of YouTube rules come into force, aimed at curbing personalized ads aimed at kids. Content creators will have to check a box to say whether their material is ‘directed to children’, which is throwing some YouTubers into a tailspin about the idea of having to go through their entire back catalogue to check the boxes, as well as potentially huge loss of revenue. Where it leaves our kids’ personall favourite YouTubers remains to be seen.
Keep an eye on your credit card if your teens are Instagram fans: The platform’s new Checkout tool allows shoppers to buy directly on the site, so those enviable eyelashes or leggings that ‘all the celebs are wearing’ can be yours in a couple of clicks. This type of streamlined online shopping is set to be a grower in 2020, so better make sure you have some controls in place if you don’t want your toddler inadvertently placing an order for several boxes of konjac noodles or a dozen yoga mats. And while it’s good news for budding entrepreneurs, you might want to be sure your kid doesn’t try to put your favourite outfit up for sale.
Augmented Reality Is the Real Deal
Even if you think you know nothing about augmented reality, or ‘AR’, if you or your kids use snapchat filters or Instagram lenses, you’re already using it. The technology is advancing at a rapid pace, and set to overtake virtual reality in the popularity stakes in 2020. AR tech is used in gaming and music videos,and by big companies such as IKEA – giving customers a chance to play around with potential room layouts – but it’s also coming into its own as a tool for developing interactive, educational games for kids and as a learning tool in schools and even pre-school education.
Online Gaming Is Officially Massive
According to a 2020 toy and gaming trends report from Play Market Research, the trend for MMOGs (Massive Multi-player Online Games…think Fortnite) will continue apace in 2020, with eSports games particularly likely to see an upward swing thanks to technological advances and major sporting events such as the UEFA EURO 2020 Cup. Cloud gaming – using remote hardware – looks set to be big news, as it allows players to get into battle mode wherever they have an internet connection.
Video Killed the Instagram Star?
Ok, no, just showing my age and trying to work in an 80s lyric. Video isn’t going to kill the Instagram Star or YouTube creator in 2020, but according to this report from UnboxSocial, innovations in video marketing are going to massively shakeup marketing online, so expect a surge in the number of live video streams and 1-minute Instagram stories. All this means new ways of flogging things to ourselves and our kids, and probably also means that any of us who have wannabe social media stars for kids will be constantly stealing our phones to make their own vids. The huge popularity of video sharing site TikTok is a good case in point, likely to continue apace.
Holla at Me (or then again, don’t…)
As tech moves at a faster pace than most of our mom minds can keep up with, older kids and teens are likely to be onto the latest trends a whole lot faster than we are. So, as the trend for videos goes bananas, be careful who they’re talking to – sites such as Holla allow users to video chat with strangers, and it’s all too easy to get around the 18-plus age restriction. Such online ‘meetups’ are a growing trend for 2020, so if they’ve got a phone, it’s something we should be keeping an eye on.
Wholesome Homework Sites
On a more wholesome note, there’s been a major upswing in the popularity of homework sites in 2019, and this looks set to continue well into 2020. While some sites have raised concerns about helping kids cheat, this list rounds up some goodies for students from pre-school to high school.
PinkFong’s Baby Shark Takes Over TV
Yes….parents who have not yet been driven to the edge of insanity by Pink Fong’s enormously popular Baby Shark video can join their littlies in celebrating the glad tidings that a Baby Shark Nickelodean TV Show, together with a whole lot of Baby Shark merchandise, is on the way in 2020.