Happy N00b Year: British parents baffled by their kids’ gaming slang


  • 72% of parents admit they are confused by the language of gaming
  • A third see online video games, such as Minecraft or Fortnite, as a way to bond with their kids
  • ‘N00b’, ‘lag’ and ‘nerf’ among most commonly misunderstood phrases
  • TalkTalk network data reveals huge increase in online gaming during pandemic

28th December: As scores of excited children enjoy their new Christmas consoles, new research from TalkTalk has revealed that parents up and down the country are baffled by the gaming phrases that often come with them.

A study of British parents with children aged seven or older*, undertaken by connectivity provider TalkTalk, shows that nearly three quarters (72%) admit to not understanding gaming jargon being used by their children, as terms such as ‘n00b’, ‘boosting’ and ‘camping’ become commonplace around the dinner table.

A further 45% of parents rated their knowledge of gaming as either poor or terrible, while 28% said they are intrigued by the language of gaming and wish they understood what the phrases meant.

Gaming has skyrocketed in popularity in 2020 as the pandemic led people online in search of entertainment. Internet usage on TalkTalk’s network increased by 50%* this year and online gaming led to some of the provider’s highest ever network data peaks, as gamers across the country rushed to download new releases and updates from gaming franchises such as Fortnite and Call of Duty.

Meanwhile, the launch of the new PlayStation 5 in November contributed to a new 24 hour data usage record for TalkTalk, with TalkTalk’s entire customer base using enough data to download the entire catalogues of Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Music (170 million songs) every 20 minutes.

The vital role that online gaming plays in keeping children engaged has not gone unnoticed by their parents, with 37% saying a fast, reliable internet connection is more important now than ever before.

But while gaming language is lost on many parents, it has not dampened their enthusiasm to get involved. A third (32%) said they love playing video games with their children as it’s a great way to bond, while over a quarter (26%) want to join in but can’t get their head around how to play. One in ten (11%) even admits to trying to use gaming language in front of their kids to look cool.

Although the gaming lexicon is vast, it appears there are certain phrases that are causing confusion more than others. The top five most regularly heard pieces of gaming language in UK households are:

  • N00b/noob (34%) – A new or inexperienced gamer
  • Bot (31%) – A computer controlled character that simulates the behaviour of a human
  • Lag (27%) – When game is slow or glitchy due to a poor internet connection
  • Nerf (27%) – When a game developer weakens a weapon due to lots of players using it
  • Face roll (22%) – An easy victory over an opponent 

Gaming journalist and TalkTalk ambassador, Ellie Gibson, sympathises with parents struggling to understand gaming slang: “As a parent I understand the world of gaming can be daunting, but once you learn the lingo it’s so much fun. Gaming with your kids has loads of benefits, such as improved communication and creativity, and some of my happiest memories with my sons are from playing games together. Just make sure you have a fast and reliable internet connection though, otherwise a tantrum might be just round the corner.”

And that’s why TalkTalk has teamed up with Ellie and professional gamer Ali-A – who has more than 17 million subscribers to his gaming YouTube channel – to help parents make sense of the language of gaming

Ali-A said: “One of the things I love most about the gaming community is its never-ending ability to come up with a new word or phrase for every facet of gameplay. While it may seem intimidating, gaming can be very sociable, and I’d encourage every parent to give it a go. Finding new ways to connect online has never been more important and I’ve loved teaming up with connectivity provider TalkTalk to help parents make sense of gaming language.”  

Gary Steen, Managing Director of Technology, TalkTalk, said: “While online gaming has been growing in popularity for some time, 2020 has seen it hit new heights.

Fast, reliable connectivity is more crucial than ever before, that’s why we’re investing in new technologies that deliver even faster speeds to homes across the country. Our network has been designed to deal with absolute peak traffic which means you can be confident in your connection when gaming, even if you don’t have the same confidence in your ability to understand the language that comes with it”.

For more information on TalkTalk Fibre Broadband: www.talktalk.co.uk/shop/broadband/fibre

Notes to editors

 *Average data usage increased by 50% from November 2019 to November 2020 – data sourced from more than 700K TalkTalk consumer customers.