Key Trends in Children’s Lives: In 2024, More Children Will Earn Their Own Money, Participate in Protests, and Create from an Early Age

Ecology, diversity, creativity, and community are the most important themes for children and teenagers around the world, prompting not only parents but also influencers, brand ambassadors, and politicians to delve deeper into these topics. The growing entrepreneurial spirit among children, along with their increasing purchasing power and social influence, is gradually but significantly changing the adult world, according to the latest report from market insights and consulting company The Insights Family on key content and life trends for children this year.

Simona Krasauskienė, head of the brand development team for “Kakė Makė” and “Nelly Jelly,” shares insights on how children are shaping and contemplating the world and their future within it and what brands should know about it.

Simona Krasauskiene, CEO “NJ world” (Nelly Jelly IP developing)

The Growing Influence of Children Best Reflected in Political Protests

For the sixth time, the UK-based company The Insights Family surveyed 700,000 people in 22 countries who have families with children, presenting the most important findings and statistics predicting 2024. Simona Krasauskienė notes that this year’s forecast stands out by statistically proving the growing influence of children in all areas of life: for the first time, The Insights Family researchers identified a trend of children’s protests. “We first heard about children’s protests in 2018, when Greta Thunberg called on her peers to fight against climate change. But now, children are starting to gather in the virtual space as well. This signals that we may soon see a time when children will become an interest group whose voice must be heard by not only brands but also politicians,” emphasizes Krasauskienė.

One of the most striking examples of this phenomenon is the first organized children’s protest on the gaming platform Roblox. The protest, aimed at opposing the rising tension in the Middle East, was attended by more than 275,000 children. Analysts predict that this year we may see even more similar children’s protests on issues important to them.

Children’s Creativity Generates Money for Themselves and Influencers

Summarizing the most important theme of The Insights Family’s forecast, it can be said that it revolves around children’s creativity and self-expression enabled by technology: from the simplest, such as smartphones, to the most complex, like artificial intelligence. Children want to create, earn money from it, and admire those who have managed to do so. The child audience already trusts the recommendations of influencers more than brand advertising, notes Krasauskienė.

The study shows that even the youngest children, aged 3–5, are most interested in crafts and art topics and everything related to them: YouTube channels, books, and games. “This year, 26% more preschoolers than last year said that their favorite books are about crafts and art. 19% of all preschoolers surveyed attend crafts and art clubs. It is predicted that this year, more children’s content creators will introduce their craft kits, so children can engage in activities they see on screens. Most importantly, this demonstrates that creativity becomes important to children very early on, and entrepreneurship is directly related to creativity,” says the speaker.

The trend of children’s entrepreneurship observed by The Insights Family analysts in previous years has become even more pronounced this year, with children starting to earn the most income from their content creation. Several factors positively influence the growing entrepreneurship in this area: firstly, a phone is enough to join the ranks of content creators, and secondly, the influencer market is still not saturated.

“It’s interesting that as they increasingly become influencers themselves, children also trust other influencers more: thus, trust in influencers among 10–15-year-olds worldwide increased by 3%, in Canada by 44%, and in Japan by 65%,” says Krasauskienė.

Will There Be Room for Brand Advertising?

The Insights Family’s study estimates that trust in influencers (39% globally) has already surpassed trust in brand-created advertising (33%). “Such high trust in influencers will inevitably bring changes to the brand market. Children’s favorite influencers are also increasingly creating their own brands, posing a serious competition even to long-established and globally recognized brands,” says Krasauskienė.

For example, YouTube creator MrBeast, considered the most favored content creator among 10–15-year-olds, launched his chocolate brand “Feastables” in 2022 and sold products worth more than $10 million in the first three days.

Children Not Only Influence What Their Parents Buy but Also Make Their Own Purchases

Another important trend observed by The Insights Family researchers year after year is the growing influence of children in the family when making various financial decisions and choosing purchases. For instance, 62% of surveyed parents from the USA responded that children had an influence on choosing the family car.

“While the growing influence of children on family decisions has been observed for years, this year introduced a new aspect – conditional financial independence of children. It is estimated that as many as 35% of children aged 8–12 and older teenagers earn money themselves, most often by creating content, and it is predicted that this number will grow in the future,” comments the speaker.

Sustainability and Ecology Will Make Children Even More Entrepreneurial

The growing influence and financial power of children are beginning to redraw consumption habits. This is one of the main structural changes resulting from the more active participation of children in the economy – the transition from a circular to a hexagonal economy model, which includes reducing consumption, reusing, recycling, reselling, representing values, and repurposing.

It is predicted that the consumption habits of the younger generation will cover all these stages and lead to the creation of new industries, such as rental of children’s goods, and further encourage children’s entrepreneurship, an important part of which will be representing certain values.

“Business mission, vision, and social responsibility are no longer just nice words. Today’s children, constantly creating and trying to earn money from it, are a particularly discerning and strict audience for whom the value positions of businesses, influencers, communities, and their peers are of great importance,” says Krasauskienė.

Choosing a Brand, More Than Half of the Children Look Into Its Values

Among the most important values for today’s children are climate change and inclusivity. The Insights Family’s study shows that climate change is the second biggest concern for 13–15-year-olds worldwide. More than climate change, which 23% of children globally consider a challenge, the younger generation is concerned about bullying, cited as the biggest challenge by 28% of children.

“This is not just theoretical contemplation by children. The younger generation lives by its values: 64% of 13–15-year-olds surveyed said that choosing a brand, its value position is important to them. Brands will inevitably have to respond to this and this year will feel increasing pressure to more seriously address ecology, sustainability, and equal opportunity issues,” notes Krasauskienė.

Children Are Not Afraid to Be Themselves and Want to See More Content About Authenticity

According to the study’s analysts, the most prominent trend among 13–18-year-olds is the attractiveness of content that presents themes of diversity. Popular series among teenagers, such as “Stranger Things,” “Family Guy,” and “Heartstopper,” have one thing in common – they represent societal groups whose uniqueness makes them unique. “By telling stories about the growth journeys of different people, this content promotes strong messages of equality, community, and being oneself, which are the most important to contemporary teenagers. We think a lot about this topic in Lithuania as well. For example, when creating content for Kakė Makė, we want to encourage children to be themselves and find their unique path and perspective on the world,” notes the speaker.

This trend means that content creators and brands should pay attention to the fact that content created even a decade ago differs greatly from contemporary content, emphasizes Krasauskienė. “What used to be normal and usual can now seem at least offensive to the younger generation. Inclusivity is the new TOP theme in children’s content, and all industries working with children will have to start adjusting to this change this year,” says the speaker. “It should be noted that such views among children are influenced not only by their peers but also by parents: 73% of parents surveyed said they want their children to grow up believing that all people are equal, 71% would like their children to have a healthy attitude towards their body, and 60% of parents support their children’s freedom to express their identity.”

The courage of contemporary teenagers to stand out and be themselves regardless of prevailing societal opinions also shows that niche hobbies are becoming mainstream. The clearest proof of this is the growing popularity of anime cartoons and manga comics highlighted in The Insights Family’s study. As many as 46% of teenagers surveyed worldwide say they watch anime, and 39% of teenagers named manga comics as their favorite literary genre. “From France to Saudi Arabia, manga characters are displacing even stars like Harry Potter in teenagers’ minds,” notes Krasauskienė.

Belonging to a Global Community Becomes Increasingly Important

The study notes that the theme of community is becoming increasingly important to children: both in content and in the children’s own lives – the significance of belonging to global fan clubs is growing. “Whether it’s a Real Madrid match or a movie about Taylor Swift’s world tour: technology allows children to form large global communities with the same interest and have a shared experience regardless of geography,” says Krasauskienė.

One of the drivers of international fan clubs or other communities is modern technology. “Mixed reality, where part of the environment is virtual and part is real, can fundamentally change how children learn, entertain themselves, and shop, while at the same time calming parents’ fears that children will be lost in virtuality. The study also notes that artificial intelligence, which appeared only a few months ago, has already spoiled children by easing their homework preparation and providing personalized recommendations on important issues. It is likely that this year we will see artificial intelligence-enabled content for children: personalized computer games, series, and other content, the development scenario of which can be chosen by the viewer or player,” says Krasauskienė.

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