Nickelodeon Study Finds Generation Gap Is Vanishing

Values, tastes converging among families’ different generations.

Last Updated: November 12, 2009 @ 1:51 PM

The generation gap is a thing of the past, according to Nickelodeon research study “The Family GPS,” released Thursday.

Today’s increasingly multigenerational American families are united by an expanding set of values and converging tastes, the study says.

New cultural attitudes, technology and the current economic climate are drawing today’s American families closer together and changing how parents raise, and regard, their children compared with how their parents raised them, the study says.

Nickelodeon’s “The Family GPS” study was conducted as part of an ongoing partnership with Harris Interactive in which the companies will study the changing face and role of the family in the U.S. Harris Interactive conducted the study via online interviews between July and August 2009, surveying 1,010 U.S. grandparents, 1,880 U.S. parents with kids 2-21 and more than 2,100 U.S. 8- to 21-year-olds.

“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, in that staying together and playing together are the top priorities among everyone in the household,” Ron Geraci, senior VP of Nickelodeon Research, said in a statement.

“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, as well as embracing new value systems of tolerance and acceptance,” he added.

Today’s families are increasingly multigenerational — kids, parents and grandparents together in one household or in close proximity. They also are closer-knit, even sharing the same interests and tastes.

The Nick study says it is a top priority for families to seek and create opportunities to spend more time together, preferably in the home, which currently serves as the main hub for free time as well as family life:

– 83 percent of parents spend at least some time each week just hanging out and talking with their kid; and 86 percent eat dinner together at least once a week.

– 51 percent of parents worry a lot about spending enough time together as a family, on par with their concern about their own or their family’s health (53 percent) and paying their bills (51 percent).

– 76 percent of parents of 2- to 21-year-olds say they feel extremely close to their child today, while only 25 percent of grandparents reported that they felt close to their own child. Today, 49 percent of parents have one of their own parents living within 30 minutes from them; and 10 percent have a parent living with them in their home.

– Today’s first-time grandparents are an average age of 48 (source: AARP), and have a central role in day-to-day family life.

– 56 ercent of sons 8  to 21 years old share the same taste in movies as their fathers, and 48 percent enjoy listening to the same music. 64 percent of daughters 8-21 share a similar taste in movies as their mothers, and 44 percent share the same sense of fashion and clothing as their moms.

– Technology is a core family member, as parents and kids spend time together using various media. 82 percent and 77 percent of families are watching TV or movies together at home, respectively, each week; 41 percent of parents and kids are listening to music together; and 36 percent are playing games together (source: Nickelodeon 2008 Family Study, OTX US data).