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# Now a Literary Device for the Under 13s
By: Jeannine Wheeler
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The hashtag, a term used widely in social media, has been named as children's "word of the year," in the UK at least. That’s the finding of a University Oxford Press (UOP) analysis of BBC Radio 2’s entries for its 500 Words competition for under 13s.

The UOP found that there was a huge increase in both the use of the word "hashtag" and its symbol (#). Entrants used the # to relay sentiment and as a short cut to add further drama to the plot.

For example, one wrote: "The only thing I knew for sure was that I was going to get eaten (#frightened!)."

Another wrote: "The cave exploded and she didn't look back at it exploding, she just kept on walking forward #supercool."

Vineeta Gupta, head of children's dictionaries at OUP, said: "Language is constantly changing and adapting. Children are true innovators and are using the language of social media to produce some incredibly creative writing.”

In another finding of the 120,000 entries, UOP reviewers discovered that under 13s were using the U.S. emergency number 911 in their stories rather than the British number 999.
This is no doubt down to the sheer number of U.S. TV shows screened on British TV.
Seems it’s never too early to excel at content marketing.
Said Chris Evans of Radio 2: “It’s clear that storytelling remains a hugely important part of a child’s life and that we as parents should do whatever we can to help them enjoy the worlds they create on paper.”

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About the Author
Jeannine Wheeler is a PR Director who has worked in three countries, including Russia, the US and the UK. She is currently Sr. Vice President of Pure Energy PR, a full-service boutique communications firm with a focus on the energy, healthcare, technology, construction, real estate & land development, tourism & hospitality and food & beverage industries. Jeannine is in the firm's Austin, Texas office.
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