Written by Emma Vetriano • Published 14th October 2011

 A couple of weeks ago, AXA released an interesting study about how children are engaging with social media. Unsurprisingly the results demonstrated once again that young people are growing up in a world where Digital PR skills are second nature.

Not only are a staggeringly high percentage of children using social media sites on a daily basis, 86% of them are said to be consciously building up ‘brand me’ by editing and arranging information about themselves to make sure that their online image is just how they want it to be.

When questioned about their social media use, 1 in 5 children aged 11-12 reported that, in their opinion, using a professional photograph as their profile picture would help to improve their personal image online, and 12% admitted to exaggerating the details of their social activities in order to present a more positive image of themselves to their online communities.

All of this might seem like fairly standard stuff, but consider the fact that when most of us were 11 years old, Facebook wasn’t a word in our vocabulary. The meteoric rise of social networking has been sudden, unexpected and literally, world-changing. From the way we talk to friends, to the way we interact with businesses and are entertained, social media has entered our daily routine like no other web phenomenon before it. There is a generation of young people who are a lot better at it than us who will soon be entering the job market.

As well as a saturated job market for the digital world, this is also going to mean a new generation of consumers and customers who expect to be able to communicate with brands and corporations in an entirely different way!

A friend of mine with a four year-old son recently told me a brilliant story – his son had been nagging him for ages about their broken TV. Bewildered, my friend tested the TV and couldn’t see anything wrong with it at all, until his son walked up the screen, put his hands on it and attempted to scroll to a new programme. ‘Look Daddy,’ he said wide-eyed, ‘it doesn’t move. It’s broken!’

Forget Back to The Future – we don’t need a time machine to see all the digital developments that will change the world – they’re already here! And if you aren’t thinking digital, then you aren’t thinking next generation!