Children just as obsessed as adults by Brexit, Ronaldo and Trump, experts say

10 June 2019, 17:58 | Updated: 11 June 2019, 15:49

Brexit has been dubbed the "children's word of the year" after it was used more than 400 times by youngsters entering a short story competition.

And in another sign that they share their parents' obsessions, superstar footballer Cristiano Ronaldo is the top mentioned real person, followed by US President Donald Trump, Adolf Hitler and England captain Harry Kane.

Brexit cropped up 418 times in entries to BBC Radio Two's 500 Words competition for children aged five to 13.

That was an increase of more than 300% on 2018, while mentions of Theresa May, the outgoing prime minister, went up from 118 to 287.

It prompted Oxford University Press, whose experts analyse thousands of entries each year, to make Brexit the "children's word of the year".

Oxford University Press director of publishing operations Helen Freeman said: "What is an extremely complex and difficult issue for some of the finest political minds has inspired children's creativity and inventiveness in a really interesting and smart way."

Given that titles include The Cat Who Solved Brexit, Aliens In Brexit and A Unicorn Called Brexit, it may be that their entries are low on real-life solutions, however.

Ms Freeman said Brexit was "mostly referred to as a boring subject parents talked about, as something in the background" in 2017 and 2018.

"This year it is a very different picture," she said. "Brexit is front and centre of the action, with children swooping in to help Theresa May in a proactive, empowered and fun way."

Even Brexit must tip its cap to sloths, however, as the animals were mentioned 1,100 times, while unicorns ride roughshod over the world's slowest mammals with 15,000 mentions.

Technology is clearly big in youngsters' lives, as illustrated by the frequent mentions of digital assistants such as Alexa and Siri.

Veggie and vegan were also used more, and plastic, the 2018 word of the year, saw a further rise.

This year's competition, hosted by Zoe Ball's Breakfast Show with Oxford University Press, received 112,986 entries.