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What is Oxford Australian Childrens Word of the year

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The Oxford Australian 2022 Children’s Word of the Year has just been announced and it’s one we can get behind: privacy.

But despite kids seemingly being all about the word, we’re guessing there’s more than a few parents wishing their kids would actually start using it as a verb.

The word is chosen via language experts assessing more than 87,117 short stories — totaling in excess of 7.5 million words, written by students aged between seven to 13 years for Storyathon, a national online story-writing event.

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The shift towards remote learning during lockdown is believed to have been a big influence on the pick. (Getty)

Privacy has seen a whopping 397 per cent increase in usage since 2021, with many of the student’s concerns around this relating to online privacy and data protection.

Students were also taking note of their own time online, with words such as ‘information’, ‘risk’, ‘opinion’ and ‘impact’ similarly seeing a significant increase this year from 2021.

The phrases ‘personal information’ and ‘online information’ also featured heavily in student’s writing. 

Flinders University Literacy expert Anne Bayetto said these increases could likely be attributed to the shift towards online learning during lockdowns, as well as kids’ reliance on virtual socialising as a way to stay connected to peers through the pandemic.

“Students are recognising some of the risks of the internet and the importance of protecting their privacy and ensuring that their personal information is safe,” she said.

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Kids also recognised their own need to unplug more often for their own wellbeing. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

“As we continue to live with COVID-19 among other unfolding global crises, students are becoming acutely aware of the risks around them. It could be that they are considering risks more often in their lives and how they can protect themselves from these risks.”

Ms Bayetto said students had also highlighted the ethical considerations of privacy, and saying they felt for celebrities who they felt did not enjoy the same levels of privacy. 

They were also recognising their own need to unplug and take regular breaks from being constantly connected online.

Other themes that emerged were environmental concerns, particularly that of pollution. 

“Students discussed pollution in a variety of contexts, especially around air pollution and emissions, as well as the consequences of pollution for our environment. They examined causes of pollution and ways to reduce it and these themes were also reflected in the frequent usage of related words, like ‘carbon’, ‘CO2’, ‘climate,’ ‘sustainability’, and ‘responsibility,” added Ms Bayetto.

The words have been added to the Oxford Australian Children’s language Corpus, which documents the evolution of children’s language through the years.

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