KGOY – Kids Growing Old Younger

Swapna Mirashi

If you are 10, do you want to be 14? If you are 14, do you wish you were 16 soon? If you are 16, did you always wanted to be 18 or 19? If not you, your friends? Or kids in your school or gymnastics/ soccer? And if you have younger siblings, they may be wanting to be your age soon – even if you are only 10.

If yes, what do you/they do then? If you observe closely, you/they start to talk like the kids of age you wish you were, dress like them, accessorize like them, do what they do, be at places they go to, watch what they watch… You get it, right?

Well, looking up to someone (generally older sibling or seniors or even your heros/idols in school) has been the basis of progress for generations. It helps kids learn new things, explore beyond their world and gives them a certain thrill.

KGOY – Kids Growing Old Younger – is a term that has come to be used more recently, after Year 2000. It is a acronym extensively used by marketers to simplify their businesses so that they do not have to come up with too many product ranges according to ages of children. Popular clothes brands have one range for kids younger than 8-10 years and the other for adults. Most kids, older than 8 years, nowadays do not play with kids’ toys. It is ‘cool’ for kids to be more like mini adults. In the process, experts have termed this KGOY phenomenon as ‘death of childhood’ or ‘shrinking childhood’.

If you want to, have to dress up like older kids/ youngsters, PAUSE and THINK, do you want to? Or you are simply, mindlessly following a trend set by marketers to earn more profits.

And Remember: In a few years, you will be a 14 year old if you are 10, or an 18 year old if you are 14 now, but you can never be a 10 year old once you are 14 or a 14 year old once you are 18. Enjoy the age and stage you are today for it will soon pass.



Reader Interactions


  1. I reached this page after just having learned about the term KGOY. What happens at each age is changing over time. However, the last sentence in this article bothers me just a bit. A 10 y/o may be enjoying things that a 14 y/o would have a generation ago, but this doesn’t mean that the 10 y/o can’t be “enjoying” his/her current age. I saw in another article that Barbie dolls used to be marketed to 10 y/o girls, but now they’re marketed to 3 y/o girls, because the older ones have already moved on to other things. If the 10 y/o is now “into” computers and other technology, she is still being a 10 y/o, although a more “modern” one. However, I agree that the 10 y/o doesn’t need to “wish” s/he was older; many things available to those 14 y/o can be available to those 10 y/o (within reason, of course), too. If kids gain sophistication at an early age (and are taught appropriately), this may help them avoid some mistakes and problems later because they will already understand more.

    • Thank you for your comment, Bob. A very valid point there. There is no issue if kids gain sophistication of thought and understanding. As you write and I quote, ‘If kids gain sophistication at an early age (and are taught appropriately), this may help them avoid some mistakes and problems later because they will already understand more.’ And this is being demonstrated to us time and again by enterprising kids and teens with startups/ research/ patents/ who graduate early or who volunteer, raise awareness about environment.

      This post is an effort towards gaining that sophistication of thought and understanding on the aspect of consumption – how marketers and advertising is exploiting the natural instinct to ‘grow’, fanning it to sell their products, apps and services to young kids and teens with more power than ever to purchase or influence a purchase decision.
      It is natural to look up to those older than us, even want to be like them, their age – if you see books for kids/ YA, the protagonist us always the oldest age of the reading group or even a year older (e.g. if the recommended reading age is 9-12 years, the protagonist is 12 yo or even 13). The problem is when this natural instinct manifests in mostly outwardly way by consumption – fashion, accessories, social media apps, consumer electronics, music, lingo, idols, movies/ other content on streaming services. My study reveals that girls are more prone to this than boys.

      Finally, the (intentionally) bothersome last sentence in the article is targeted at the commercial implication, leading to social (peer pressure) and psychological (loneliness, confusion, depression, even) implications that come in at an earlier age too.