The December treadmill

Have you watched this video of Money Saving Expert, Martin Lewis, doing the rounds? If not, please do so. (Don’t just read the title and switch off thinking you’ve already got the gist of what he’s going to say.)

Don’t worry, I’ve not turned anti-Christmas or anything like that. It’s December tomorrow and, I assure you, I’ll be swept up by the festive magic. What I’m talking about is the needless stress and worry usually going on behind the scenes – and it turns out, I’m not alone.

Even retailers have sensed the mood of the nation and scaled things back a bit versus last year. #EltonJohnLewis aside, there aren’t really any ‘cinematic’ masterpieces doing the rounds. (LOL at this Twitter response, by the way.)

The first time that the thought of Christmas brought me out in a cold sweat was 2014. I’d been several months into redundancy, was being anti-social, and feeling incredibly low. Then I got a Christmas job at my local department store which saved my sanity – such is the power of retail. We had a family chat agreeing to forgo presents that year and instead focus on food, games, and films. Even though I had to wake at stupid o’clock on Boxing Day to work the sales, it remains one of my favourite Christmases to date. Yes, I felt incredibly guilty about being the reason for no gifts, but taking that extra pressure away from each other was the best feeling.

It got us thinking about how we used to wait for birthdays and Christmas as children to get the treats we wished for. As adults, most of us are fortunate enough to be able to buy what we want, when we want it. So, rather than being total Scrooges and giving each other nothing, we now agree a number of gifts or a spend cap up-front to keep ourselves in check. Or, even better, we opt for event/experience tickets so as not to have to find storage space in our homes for more ‘stuff’. (The latter also doubles up as a birthday gift policy among my friends.) Happy days.

But the stress isn’t always financial. There’s also the time and thought it takes to come up with something meaningful. (We’ve all made that joke about kids being more interested in the box than the gift itself.) Sometimes, no matter how well you know someone, you just cannot figure out the right gift for them. You might come up with a fantastic idea…but then it comes in/with different colours/shapes/sizes/features and, oh my word, what would you pick if you were that person?!?! <Insert mind blown emoji here.>

Some of my colleagues will scoff at this for sure. They are skilled market researchers and know how to extract key information from people without being rumbled. You should hear the variety of conversations we have at Razor HQ. I know that our resident thoughtful present-giver, Chloë F, quietly makes a note of gift ideas all year long and springs into action when the right time comes. 

Inspired by the Fowler’s shopping skills, I made my first purchase on Instagram this year. It’s amazing what gift ideas you can pick up when scanning to see what public posts your friends have liked. It’s sneaky but it works!

Happy (stress-free, I hope) shopping! And do give us a shout if you need any ideas. We’re very good at brainstorming.



Christmas unwrapped

With Halloween and Bonfire Night well out of the way, it’s okay to start thinking about Christmas, right? In fact, it’ll be here before we know it so we might as well spur into action and see what’s cropping up on this year’s wish lists. Those in the know have placed their bets on 2018’s best seller toys. And we’ve packaged up a few of our favourite trends.

Pikmi Pops appears to be this year’s strong contender against LOL Surprise and Hatchimals Colleggtibles. These brightly coloured lollipop-style surprise balls include stickers, scented toys, accessories and lanyards.
Shopkins’ Hairdorables are a little more pricey but come with 11 surprises to unwrap before the owner discovers who their cute mini doll will be. There are 36 varieties to collect – each with different hair, outfits and accessories. There’s even a YouTube ‘Hairdorables’ channel to foster strong loyalty and fandom.

Slime mania
Anyone with kids is most likely used to having the tell-tale signs of this popular trend dotted around the house. With many kids avidly watching YouTube tutorials and making their own slime at home, parents are left to deal with slime residue on furniture and carpets.

Hamleys recently showcased Elasti Plasti in its six brightly coloured pots. The slime expands by up to 100 times, makes weird and wonderful noises, and can be blown into large bubbles. So Slime DIY Slime Factory is the ultimate do-it-yourself kit that makes neon, pastel and metallic slime along with confetti, glitter and sprinkles.

Robotics & coding
It’s never too early to get the young ones into coding. Given the attention and hype that AI gets, it’s not surprising that a few gadgets caught our eye. Botley the Coding Robot is aimed at the early years and teaches kids programming skills with stickers, coding cards and activity accessories. Boxer is a pocket size AI robot who comes with a mini remote control and tiny football. His cute facial expressions change throughout the 10 game cards.

Last, but not least, we have the BB-9E App-Enabled Droid that parents will pretend to buy for their kids but probably end up playing with themselves! It’s an updated version of last year’s droid from soon-to-be-released The Last Jedi movie and uses a smart device to control it.

Yep, this trend shows no sign of abating. Be it ride-on unicorns that have castor wheels inside the hooves for an authentic ride – or Vtech’s Myla Fantasy Unicorn that comes with a wand that changes the colour of the unicorn digitally.

But the one that really tickles us (or our toes) is a craft kit that converts a pair of stripy socks into your very own personal unicorn pet.

Licensed toys
These popular toys continue to dominate seasonal gifting but the two that stand out are both by Viacom IP: Paw Patrol’s Ultimate Fire Truck which comes with a super cool extendable ladder, and Nella The Princess Knight Talk and Sing doll which says 10 phrases and sings the program’s theme tune.

Both toys are popular with pre-schoolers.

Old school role play
Some things never go out of fashion – like toys designed to encourage role play. Mini kitchens and supermarkets have always been popular but we love this fancy option by Waitrose which also helps build brand familiarity at a young age.

Aspiring mechanics and engineers will enjoy the Bosch Toy Workbench which comes packed with tools, accessories, and sound effects for realistic play. Brilliant for kids to play together and boost their social skills. Playmobil City Life Wedding Limo is somewhat traditional with its limo containing a bride, groom, and a driver. It comes with flowers, champagne and glasses, a tin can trail and veil. It says that the bride cannot fit into the driver’s seat so, if there is a runaway bride scenario, at least the driver will come in handy!

Razor Kids is our specialist kids and family research unit. We turn chatter into commercial insight.

To find out how we can help your brand, get in touch with #LesleyRazor or #ChloeBRazor.
020 3865 1075

‘I’m fine. I’m totally fine!’

We love a good natter over lunch at Razor HQ. (We chit-chat all the time but it’s even better with food.) Anyway, one of our recent lunchtime discussions steered itself towards social media and growing up in the digital age.

It’s been a hot topic for quite some time and I always end up with a feeling of sadness when thinking about it. While today’s teens have so many opportunities, there’s a flip side that isn’t so happy and rosy; there’s what feels like constant self-marketing, rating self-worth by number of likes, and feeling a need to always conform to the masses. I once read somewhere that 8 out of 10 girls around the world avoid a range of everyday activities because they feel bad about the way they look. 8 out of 10 girls?! How did things get so bad?

A couple of hours after our conversation ended and, as if perfectly timed, a contact shared a Dove advert on my LinkedIn newsfeed and I just love it.

As part of its Self-Esteem Project – designed to help kids with body confidence – Dove created an ad that scratches beneath the surface of what being ‘fine’ really means. It focuses on the complexity of young people’s minds – from being bombarded with impossibly perfect imagery to struggling with self-image and trying to figure out who you really are, all whilst going about your normal day to day. It makes me tired just thinking about it all!

Alongside this ad, they partnered up with Cartoon Network’s Steven Universe using a series of videos to educate kids about body confidence and self-esteem. The short one-minute clips cover topics such as teasing and bullying, comparing looks, media, and celebrities.

We’ve seen brands like ASOS and Misguided challenging the norm and targeting girls before now, but their campaigns tend to focus on the older teen audience. This is one of the first brands I’ve seen actively targeting tweens and younger and talking so openly about the pressures of living in a social media world.

When we carried out our own Razor Kids study ‘The Beauty Project’ with teens and tweens back in the Spring, Dove wasn’t a brand that was cutting through with any of the girls and if anything, was perceived as a bit ‘mumsy’. This move is bound to increase positivity towards the brand for our future shoppers and hopefully encourage more parents/friends/teachers/relatives to take a bit more time to check in and ask what ‘I’m fine’ actually means.

Well done Dove!




The Beauty Project

I have an 11-year-old cousin. She’s into Pretty Little Liars and anything and everything else from Lush to Adidas Superstars. There are 13 years between us and yet she shares much in common with someone my own age.

Though tweens and teens are rapidly accelerating into adulthood, they’re still holding on tightly to childhood. They appreciate products and activities that allow them to be playful. They want to feel sophisticated but also enjoy being a kid. This makes it tricky for brands to know what’s on trend – or even what’s likely to be banished from their collection.

In our study, The Beauty Project, we explored what’s currently ‘in’ for tween and teen girls when it comes to beauty, personal care, and grooming. Most of the products they love fall under three main themes. They are enduring themes as far as this age group is concerned; but the products & brands within them have changed.

Tweens take pride in building up collections of beauty and personal care products. They are hooked in by miniatures, shapes with personality, varieties of colours and patterns, as well as funky textures. Take affordably priced lip balms and mini hand creams for example. Whilst it’s important that these products do their job well, they also must look distinct and offer variety in fragrance, look and feel.

Transformative experiences
Both tweens and teens LOVE products – and shopping in stores – that appeal to the senses. When I was younger, toy aliens in eggs were all the rage (remember those?). Slime continues to be huge for tweens at the moment; anything that can be moulded, be played with and transformed is a winner. 

It should be no surprise that bath bombs, bath jelly and shower foams are exciting for girls in this age group. For beauty products, they’re looking for sweet and fruity smells. It’s also important that they can test and sample products in-store.

Something to showcase
Unicorns, sparkly things, rose gold colour cues are all popular when it comes to showing off a trove of goodies. The main difference by age is that whilst tweens display for themselves (“I won’t use it, they just look good in my room.”), teens exhibit for others. Some even consider their audience at the time of purchase (‘for my Lush bath bomb, I’m thinking about what it’s going to look like on Instagram!’).


Our full complimentary report – The Beauty Project – is now available to share. To find out how, or if, your brand features, contact Lesley Salem or Chloe Bartlem at Razor Kids for further details.

Time for action

At Razor Kids, we regularly explore emerging trends, behaviours and attitudes. Recently we turned our attention towards self-image amongst girls aged 8-14 years. For the first time, we heard them starting to voice resentment towards the unattainable benchmarks (driven mainly by social media and selfie culture) on how they should look and present themselves.

As young girls become more active consumers of media – particularly on YouTube and Instagram – they’re increasingly exposed to unrealistic expectations of self-imagery. This is creating a generation that views everything in ‘real’ life as ugly – including themselves.

Whilst there’s now substantial evidence to show that too much social media can lead to poor mental health, it seems that the government and DCMS are powerless to create a regulated system to protect the young and vulnerable. It’s time to act.

If you listen to girls talk about what it’s like growing up in 2018, it sounds like a positive story on the surface. They have greater aspirations and opportunities for their careers, along with an array of positive female role models to emulate. Many cite their mums as someone they aspire to be like.

So, why do young girls still suffer with low self-esteem and poor body image? We believe it’s rooted in how they’re being exposed to unrealistic ideals on how they should look and act and in the current media environment. The ‘beauty gap’ is prolific and harmful.

‘Because people use filters and Photoshop over their pictures, it makes me think my own image isn’t good enough to please society.’
Age 12 (year 7), Brighton

Children’s media independence – and access to adult content – is accelerating them into adult worlds and norms. Previous studies we’ve worked on revealed that kids tend to get their own social media accounts as soon as they have a smartphone. This happens by year 6 for most kids in the UK, but it can also be from a younger age.

Where traditional media was once censored by responsible guardians, the present-day ownership of personal devices means very little safeguarding. In fact, when we chat to kids about this, they are acutely aware of their loss of childhood and feel slightly sad that they aren’t truly able to enjoy what they know is supposed to be a ‘special’ and carefree period in their life.

‘It’s difficult being told so many things and still not knowing who you are.
I sometimes want to be a baby again and not have to care about any of it.’

Age 13 (year 8), London

Transitioning into a teenager always comes with angst, self-doubt, and a need for peer acceptance – but this has been exacerbated for teens who are active on social media, sharing and living their lives under public scrutiny. They feel compelled to post selfies that will increase their ‘likes’, take photos to keep their ‘streaks’ up, and tell the world what they are up to and how they are feeling. Given their tender age, it isn’t surprising that they don’t all have the emotional resilience to cope with being judged so openly and harshly.

Our study found that regardless of location/family set-up/age, as soon as girls become active on social media (especially Instagram) they tend to experience feelings of insecurity and ugliness. When scrolling through posts from peers, vloggers and celebrities, they feel pressurised to be as good at everything. This relates to the way they look and dress – as well as needing to showcase cues that suggest their talent and popularity.

‘I do feel like I pressure myself. If I see someone who looks really pretty in all their photos, I look at my photos and think, why do I not look like that?’. Why am I not as pretty?’
Age 11 (year 6), Crewe

The current rhetoric preached at schools focuses on inclusion and diversity. When it comes to beauty definitions, we heard that tweens and teens have a greater regard for intrinsic values, compared to external looks and traditional norms around beauty. But media content, advertising imagery and brand messaging is out of kilter, still presenting the world with a very narrowly defined view of what is regarded as socially acceptable with idealised norms.

‘In adverts it’s always the tall, skinny and pretty people being shown. They aren’t exactly showing equality. People speak about diversity but then don’t act on it.’
Age 14 (year 9), Scunthorpe

Today’s media platforms should be used as a tool to celebrate diversity around self-image. Instead, they re-affirm a confined perspective of what is aspirational. Teens mimic beauty imagery with selfies and poses and apply ‘pretty’ filters to enhance their looks. As app technology innovates, the benchmark for how one presents themselves in public rises substantially. Sadly, girls talk about feeling ugly when they are looking at themselves in the real world. Quite worrying when you think about their identities being formed at this crucial time in their lives. We see a schizophrenic split emerge of real versus virtual identities that they are struggling to work out. It’s social media that forces them to focus on their public self, rather than their private world where they can feel comfortable and safe.

‘The way that the media describes fitting in is that you have to be ‘pretty’. You have to have the right clothes, the right body and the right face. I can definitely say that I’ve felt insecure about myself from pictures I’ve seen all over Instagram and other social media sites.’
Age 14 (year 10), London 

Some of the 12-14 year-olds we spoke to are angry. They criticise brands and posts for not presenting beauty authentically. They are confused about who are models, who are their peers, and whether the beauty they see is real or has been manipulated. The benchmarks on how they should present themselves are being pushed to unattainable limits. They lament that social media relentlessly feeds them imagery that all looks the same.

‘I think there is pressure on how I look. I think this comes from social media and magazines where models are all perfect but fake looking. They make me feel that this is how society thinks people should look and how I should look.’
Age 12 (year 7)

Currently, the icons they look up to are respected for their inner qualities, such as their positivity or supporting causes that they affiliate with. When they talk about beauty, they choose people who are brave (such as Nikki Lilly), or bold and unique (ike transgender vloggers James Charles and Patrick Starr). However, we wonder how long it will be before they drop them and move towards more ‘conventional’ models of beauty?

As sub-cultures become homogenised, it is having a devastating impact on the girls who don’t feel like they fit in. The result is a generation of girls who feel squeezed and marginalized in how they want to express themselves or develop their identity. Whilst various beauty and personal care brands have begun to challenge the status quo, the message isn’t filtering down to tweens and teens.

We have a responsibility to protect our future generation of women. For the first time, we are hearing from them that they don’t like the impact of social media and the way it creates insecurities around acceptance and belonging (a fundamental human need). This cannot be ignored. We are living in a social experiment where it’s hard to predict the future – but early signs of the impact on social media are alarming. It’s time to regulate social media and become more stringent in what children have access to.

Our full report – The Beauty Project – is now available to share.

Contact Lesley Salem, head of Razor Kids, for further details.


Digital natives

Cute little boy in headphones watching something on laptop at home

Today’s kids are growing up in a digital universe with all the power at their fingertips. We already know that the digital world is an enchanting place for kids – but it can also be a dangerous one. Cyberbullying, exposure to unrealistic images, fake news, sexual content, violent imagery…It’s a risky landscape to navigate and could have a detrimental effect on kids’ mental health.

A few weeks ago, YouTube hit the headlines for streaming a video by influential tween icon, Logan Paul. The video showed footage of what appeared to be a dead body in a location, referred to as ‘Suicide Forest’. Shockingly, not only did the video make it through the YouTube filters (receiving 6.3 million views!) but it also made it through to the top trending videos list.

And a few months ago, YouTube caused another storm for allowing violent and offensive content to slip through the net. This time it wasn’t just for the main channel but also YouTube Kids a standalone app built specifically for children and child-friendly entertainment.

It’s not only inappropriate content that is a concern. We see, from our studies, that girls as young as six are not only conscious of their body shape but tend to be unhappy with it. We’ve no doubt this is being exacerbated by the proliferation of videos and imagery they are viewing.

With the staggering growth and penetration of smartphone and tablet ownership by children, media viewing and active, digital participation has become individual and child-led. It is often unmonitored by a responsible adult. This has, not surprisingly, created tension and concern among parents, teachers, and the government with regards to how safe or appropriate the virtual environment is for young people. There’s been considerable investment in education with interventions to help safeguard children but it’s clear this isn’t working hard enough and that the problem stems from children’s homes. Last year, hype on social media led to many children watching an 18-rated, suicide fantasy series called 13 Reasons Why. By the time schools and parents had found out, it was too late. It proves that access to inappropriate content is easy and highlights the lack of involvement parents have in knowing what their kids are getting up to.

A YouGov survey from 2015 found that British parents were reluctant to have conversations with their children about what they’re up to online – waiting until children turned nine to tackle online safety, despite 91% of eight-year olds accessing the internet once a week. Since then, we’ve seen brands such as O2 and EE open the dialogue to support parents with online protection. 02 have partnered with the NSPCC to offer free online resources and workshops in schools whilst EE are also providing parents and children with tips to stay safe online. This comes after 40% of parents reported that they do not consider online safety when buying technology gifts for their children.

teenager with tablet while lying on the floor in the room

So why aren’t parents doing more?

Parents tell us that they feel disempowered and deskilled to monitor what their kids are doing online. A generational tech gap exists between kids and parents. However, whilst parents are aware of stealth tracking software to monitor their kids’ surfing and social media feeds, uptake of this is very low. A key reason for children’s online and autonomous independence stems from the fact that in many households, working parents are the norm and unable to be around as much. This has impacted on family dynamics. Parents are much more likely to expect help from their offspring around the home and in return are often rewarded with ‘screen time’. Modern parenting styles also skew towards a liberal approach of trusting their children to be responsible and behaving appropriately, especially as parents’ perceptions are that their kids are equipped to navigate online safely. And let’s not forget ‘pester power’ which is in force among hormonal tweens and teens. Tired parents find it hard to resist allowing kids to watch a video or get a social media campaign when persistently being nagged by their children – especially if they feel this will socially ostracise their kids in their social friendship circles.

Whilst we all know children under the age of 13 shouldn’t have a social media account, recent studies show that the truth is far from this. There’s a direct correlation with social media activity and smart phone ownership and in some markets, this is as young as seven years of age. But we can’t blame parents. Many social media platforms are unwilling to admit to an underage user base and squirm their way out of being responsible for this invisible cohort. However, pressure from government, children’s charities, parent and school forums is finally starting to have an effect. Facebook currently has 4,500 moderators and last year announced plans to hire more. Even before Logan Paul’s dramatic fall from grace, YouTube announced similar plans to hire thousands of new moderators.

The media giant is now said to be making changes to the way it moderates content, with a greater focus on footage that might violate their policies whilst further developing advanced learning technology to automatically flag content for removal. It will be interesting to see how future safeguards to protect young people will emerge – especially given the technical skill & knowledge, online giants must have within their reach.

But we also must be careful that support for kids doesn’t mean removing their digital access or being too stringent on restricting their online/social media activity, as there are many benefits about growing up digital and is after all, the world they will be working and communicating within, for years to come.

Teacher and kids lying on floor using digital tablet in library at elementary school

We hear from kids, parents, and teachers about the benefits digital access has brought to learning and education and enhancing children’s creativity and problem-solving skills. In this information age, kids have a genuine thirst for knowledge and the boundaries between learning and play have blurred into ‘edutainment’.  Social media platforms are helping kids understand the importance of growing diverse networks and will put them in good stead in the future and they tap into these for career and leisure purposes.  

Growing independence is also helping them learn to self-regulate their behaviour and abide by their own standards of what’s right and fair.

They are a generation of kids who have greater awareness of what’s going on in the world and are deeply moved by the negative impact that man is having on the planet and want to change this. Access to personal technology has also helped them develop new and far reaching friendships. We’ve heard from families about how connected they feel with each other through chatting on social media platforms, allowing continual, intermittent exchanges about what’s going on in their life or troubling them.

The government’s Internet Safety Strategy consultation came to an end last month. It will be interesting to see how we find a way to balance the benefits of children being online or on social media with safeguarding them more effectively.

Lesley Salem, head of Razor Kids appeared as a panelist at the 2018 MRS Kids & Youth Research Conference, exploring ‘the role of research in protecting and empowering young people online’. If you have an idea on how your organisation could get more involved in sharing significant trends around children’s online safety or could have an impact on policy, we’d love to hear from you.


Buzzfeed – reactions to Logan Paul
Buzzfeed – parents’ reactions to Logan Paul 
Mashable – YouTube changes
The Guardian – YouTube accused
Polygon – YouTube
Campaign – O2 and NSPCC
EE – staying safe online
EE – press release
The Guardian – moderating social media
The Telegraph – moderators allowed Logan Paul video


All I want for Christmas

As a keen observer of kids’ trends over the past couple of decades, Lesley Salem’s noticed very little shift in the play drivers behind children’s gift choices – particularly at Christmas time. Of course, technology is ever-present and impacting on toy design. However, much of what’s on this year’s wish lists are merely iterations of traditional play…

Promoting care and nurture

Kids develop their understanding of other’s needs, and demonstrate love and care, through role-play. Therefore, dolls and animals have always dominated in children’s play choices. AI and robotic technology have transformed the market, so today’s toys are able to learn, evolve, and be more responsive to their owner. Young children have animistic thinking and believe objects are living, so AI and robotics have created more realism and are able to inspire loving moments and emotional bonds with children by responding to touch.

Popular examples include Luvabella Doll which has over 100 phrases and different facial expressions, Zoomer Chimp and FurReal’s Roarin’ Tyler the Playful Tiger learn commands and tricks over time, encouraging longevity of play. These kind of toys are not ‘just for Christmas’.

Promoting fantasy play and safe risk-taking

Some parents might feel uncomfortable purchasing toy weapons but it’s natural instinct (particularly for boys) to enjoy fantasy play involving weapons and super hero role play. It’s critical to their development with regards to safe risk-taking. It also allows kids to feel empowered in a world where they have little control.

Nerf guns continue to storm in sales but desire for action and love of cars are combined with this season’s Nerf Nitro LongShot Smash. Kids can design their own stunts and fire foam cars with powerful, high-performing Nerf blasters. The set includes two foam cars, plus a long-jump ramp for long-distance jumping challenges. Lazer X is another game expected to do well this Xmas and is a twist on laser tag. The set is designed for two players. Each player wears a chest plate that has energy for 10 lives. The experience is likened to being inside a video arcade game with various features that stimulate the senses.

Star Wars continues to be a popular franchise and with Hasbro’s Bladebuilders, users can choose between being a goodie or baddie and customise their weaponry in over 100 different combinations.

The joy of the unexpected

More than ever, kids love games that have an element of surprise or randomness in them to provide unexpected, shared experiences. Combined with humour, games like Pie Face and Toilet Trouble (both by Hasbro), work on the principle that after some time, one unlucky player will either get whipped cream or toilet water splashed on their face. Other toys are also tapping into the idea of surprise. L.O.L. Surprise! by MGA Entertainment is expected to surge this Christmas. Kids are encouraged to peel through layers to reveal treats and accessories before reaching a mystery doll in the middle. As there are so many different combinations, this has also increased its value as a collectable. Then there’s Hatchimals Surprise by Spin Master Toys; small eggs that hatch over time to reveal a unique animal inside.

Promoting skills

The lines between education and entertainment have merged, so edutainment is an important trend to the toy industry. LEGO Boost allows kids to build and code interactive, motorised robots and models with distance, colour, and tilt sensor technologies.

Mattel’s Bloxels allows kids to create and animate play spaces, characters and objects, enabling them to become the artist, game designer, storyteller, programmer, publisher and player in their very own virtual reality.

Cozmo by Anki joins a range of friendly robots that explore the environment, repeat phrases said by their owner, and show off their epic moves. Kids can take advantage of Cozmo’s Code Lab feature which enhances its movements, actions, and animations. SAM Labs is a bit like Meccano for the internet generation. It teaches kids how to code and also develops STEM skills. It includes a light sensor, a tilt sensor, a motor and buzzer.  

Little stars

Kids are growing up in the selfie era, following YouTubers and watching talent shows, so it’s no surprise to see a rise in toys that promote kids’ starring performances. DreamWorks’ Trolls Selfie Karaoke Mic Stand and VTech’s Kidi Super Star are definitely something the parents can mess around with when the kids have gone to sleep!

What about gender neutral?

With all the chat this year on the importance of promoting gender neutrality in play, there’s little evidence of this in toy packaging this Christmas. Cars, weapons, and gaming toys still feature traditional ‘boy’ colours and male models whilst dolls and performance toys come in pinks and purples with female models on the packaging. The reality is, from our research, that whilst girls are more open in their play choices, boys are very traditional and steer clear of anything that has a hint of ‘girl’ on it.  Media, parents, schooling and other cultural/socialisation mechanics have a long way to go to make play more gender neutral.

*Lesley Salem heads up Razor Kids, our specialist kids and family unit. You can reach her on [email protected] .