LONDON — Each new generation of parents are faced with a unique set of challenges that their parents before them never encountered. Times change, and society evolves, that’s certainly nothing new. However, a recent survey of 1,772 British parents finds that many may be doing their children a serious disservice all in the name of potential social media followers. In all, 7% of respondents said they’ve already given their baby a made-up name and 65% are at least willing to consider such a move.
A few examples of these new age baby names include Jaspin, Elisobelle, Wrenlow, and Maevery. Don’t see any names you like? How about Tovin or Evabeth?
Even if they themselves aren’t willing to choose such a name, a staggering 94% of respondents admitted that made up baby names are very much “in” these days.
Apparently these parents believe they are helping their kids by selecting a rarer name. The survey, commissioned by ChannelMum, noted that 72% of all respondents believe a unique name will help their child stand out from the crowd. Another one in 50 chose a made up name for their baby with social media in mind. A more unique name means their child’s social media account will be that much easier for potential followers to find.
But, are these parents really thinking about their children’s own good, or themselves? One-third believe a unique name will help their child feel special growing up, but 16% also believe that an outlandish name may reflect poorly on the parents.
“Shakespeare invented many names that have stood the test of time like Imogen and Jessica,” comments ChannelMum.com baby name expert SJ Strum in a statement. “Now the social media boom means we are all writers and publishers, so parents are making up baby names that gives their child a unique start in life.”
When deciding on a completely new name for their child, many parents are opting for a gender-neutral approach. In all, 33% of parents said they decided on a name that wasn’t clearly male or female. Another popular strategy is taking two names that both parents like, and combining them into one hybrid name (10%). Another 9% tried to combine the names of older relatives as a way to honor family.
The survey’s researchers believe this fascinating trend in baby names can be traced back to U.K. reality stars Katie Price and Peter Andre naming their daughter Tiaamii. That name is supposedly a combination Tiaamii’s grandmother’s names.
Similarly, many parents (three in 10) are drawing inspiration from popular movies and books like Game of Thrones.
The majority of surveyed parents (92%) at least conceded that giving their child an outlandish name is bound to result in at least a few drawbacks. For example, two-thirds worry that an odd name will be hard to spell and pronounce. Another 62% fear that made up names will be perceived by others as tacky, and a third worry that their child’s teachers will judge them based on their unusual name.
Of course, for those parents who are confident they’ve picked a winning made-up name, 13% actually said they worry about other parents stealing their child’s name.
“In the online world, being ‘discoverable’ by your name is increasingly important and we’re seeing more names registered than ever before. Maevery, with its strong V and AE sound, is bang on trend with the top two girl names Olivia and Amelia so I think it will become popular,” Strum adds. “Ranger is a great outdoorsy occupational name and with Hunter being a top riser of last year, hipsters will be looking to Ranger as the new cool name – but with a more plant-based ethic.”
If you’re on the lookout for a unique baby name, take a look at some of the most popular “new age” names among respondents:
Top 10 New Age Boys’ Names:
Top 10 New Age Girls’ Names:
The survey was conducted by OnePoll.
Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story presented the above lists as “made-up names,” which was the exact phrasing used in the press release presented to StudyFinds for this story. Though we typically prefer to present information as termed by the research institutions and companies behind these studies, we recognize that some individuals may feel offended by this study. Because these names are given to many individuals and not, by definition, “made up,” we have changed the wording to “New Age names.” This change, instead, reflects that they are being used more frequently for today’s newborns. The initial finding that 7% of parents have given their children a “made-up” name remains, however, because that is the actual statistic presented by the press release.