Edited By Carol J. Bruess
20. Digital Generation Differences in Parent–Adolescent Relationships
← 425 | 426 → Digital Generation Differences in Parent–Adolescent Relationships
J. MITCHELL VATERLAUS
Montana State University
Utah State University
Generation gaps are presumed differences between adolescents and their parents in terms of values and attitudes. Generation gaps between parents and adolescents received copious research attention during the 1960s and 1970s (Smith, 2000). The 1950s were marked by general adolescent conformity, whereas the 1960s and 1970s saw movement away from rigid societal roles (Falk & Falk, 2005; Vaterlaus, 2012). Generation gap research emerged during a period of social change (e.g., legalization of the contraceptive pill, more liberal political views, ongoing war and military draft, illicit drug use; Falk & Falk, 2005; Maga, 2003). With the onset of these dramatic social changes, many believed dramatic differences in parent and adolescent attitudes and values also emerged during this period. However, generation gap research indicated the presence of only small or insignificant gaps when investigating actual gaps (i.e., comparing adolescent beliefs with parent’s beliefs; Jacobsen, Berry, & Olsen, 1975). When researchers then examined perceived gaps (i.e., what adolescents think their parents believe compared to what adolescents believe) noted differences emerged (Acock & Bengtson, 1980).
As communication technologies have changed, research has attempted to document societal changes in how people interact, spend time, and find entertainment (Jones, 2009; Vaterlaus, 2012). Technology is no longer limited to ← 426 | 427 → noninteractive media (e.g., television or movies); rather, opportunities...
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