The internet, smartphones, and virtual assistants. All of these tools have changed the way many of us live, work and connect with one another in an unprecedented way. This century's technological advancements have already had an immense impact on virtually every aspect of our lives - including one that you may or may not be totally aware of: how we name our children.
That's right - baby names have undergone a massive shift in recent years, and this can be chalked up largely in part to various advancements in technology. For example, thanks to the internet, we are now exposed to a wide array of baby names from all around the world - directly at our fingertips. Believe it or not, baby name trends also come and go according to the rise - and fall - of popular technology (think 'Siri' and 'Alexa'). Finally, a recent study has even found that millennial parents are actually naming their children based on available domain names.
Baby Name Globalization
According to Pamela Redmond Satran, co-founder of the popular baby names website Nameberry, technology has allowed for parents all around the world to access a community of sorts when choosing a baby name. This means being exposed to names we have never heard before, and also being able to chat with fellow parents on online forums from anywhere in the world.
"Expectant parents can ask for opinions on forums, build polls asking people to vote on their names, trade ideas and debate the ins and outs of specific names,” Satran said.
Hey Siri, Can You Name My Baby?
It's no coincidence that in recent years, baby names like Siri and Alexa have enjoyed a huge surge in popularity. The emergence of Amazon's virtual assistant, Alexa, and Apple's Siri have proven that name publicity equals popularity.
But like with any names that are aligned with brands, this type of popularity has a shelf life. Nearly as quickly as they rose, both names fell from grace since these two technologies became more commonplace.
"As with any first name that becomes closely associated with a brand, the effect of technology on these names has been negative,” said Satran.
Unsurprisingly, technology is even influencing parents' baby name choices in the form of available domain names. That's right, a recent survey found that 20 per cent of parents would change or consider changing their baby's name based on available domains.
The reason? Identity.
According to Melissa Schneider, trends expert at GoDaddy, more than ever, it's essential to own your own identity on the internet - which some believe sets kids up for success down the line. Think SEO and job applications, says Finbarr Taylor, co-creator of an online tool that allows parents to explore baby name options based on domain names that have yet to be been purchased.
"It’s important to give your child a unique name so that people, like potential employers, will be able to find them easily in the future," Taylor said.