Nick Survey Reveals Generation Gap Shrinking

You’d think the generation gap is like gravity, an unseen but unstoppable force that keeps parents and their children in their own isolated pens. But a new Nickelodeon/Harris Interactive study called "The Family GPS" shows that gap shrinking, most surprisingly in regard to entertainment consumption.

According to the study, 56 percent of sons age 8 to 21 share the same taste in movies as their fathers and 48 percent enjoy listening to the same music.

You read that right -- nearly half the boys questioned said they enjoyed listening to the same music as their dads. An important follow-up question: Are dads listening to more Jonas Brothers or are kids listening to more Journey? Or is it all about The Beatles (which is a huge generational crossover in my family and many others)?

The study also reveals that 64 percent of daughters age 8 to 21 share a similar taste in movies as their mothers and 44 percent share the same sense of fashion and clothing as their moms. Does that mean teenage girls are wearing "mom jeans"? Scary thought.

A similar 2008 Nickelodeon study found that 82 percent of families are watching TV together at home each week; 41 percent of parents and kids are listening to music together; and 36 percent are playing games together. While I certainly don’t recall my parents watching Super Friends with me on Saturday mornings, we did gather around the tube for our weekly fix of The Six Million-Dollar Man. These days, I see families watching all kinds of reality shows together, especially American Idol (Rock of Love and Battle of the Bods -- not so much.)

Researchers say this shrinking generation gap and increasing “family fusion” represents a big change from years past. In the scholarly words of Ron Geraci, Senior Vice President, Nickelodeon Research, "As Millennials become parents and Baby Boomers become grandparents, today’s families are different from what we’ve seen and come to expect from previous generations… Instead of being divided by tastes and clashing over values and things like music and entertainment choices, today’s parents, kids and grandparents are being drawn closer together by them."

This is good news, because closer families are indeed stronger families, even if the conversation focuses primarily on who’s holding the remote.

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