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Generation Gap Wider Than Ever

woodstockWoodstock symbolized a young generation’s embrace of music that was definitely not in their parents’ record collections.  And rock and roll was just one of source of friction between the generations back in the 1960s and 70s.

In the 40 years since Woodstock, what has happened to that generation gap? Apparently it’s bigger than ever, according to the Pew Research Center’s Social & Demographic Trends project. The survey finds a sizable gap between parents and their grown children in values, use of technology, work ethic, and respect and tolerance for others. Some good news: the survey found that parents and children have come to terms by agreeing to disagree, so to speak.

But this modern generation gap is a much more subdued affair than the one that raged in the 1960s, for relatively few Americans of any age see it as a source of conflict — either in society at large or in their own families. –from the survey

The biggest gap is in technology, especially when the survey compared the over-65 generation with the under-30 group. While younger set text, talk on their cells and surf the web constantly (and sometimes all at once), Grandma and Granddad might occasionally tap on the computer but rarely use their cell phone—if at all–to text.

If you’ve seen your child’s iPod playlist you can guess that the one area where generations agree: rock music. Chances are you’re both listening to at least some of the same tunes as you pound the treadmill or travel to school and work. Two-thirds of respondents say they listen to and prefer rock as opposed to other genres. Back in 1966 another survey found that almost half the adults said they disliked rock. Maybe rock helped us realize that “All We Need is Love. All Together Now.”

How Different Are the Generations?

Percent saying young vs. old are “very different” in

  • their use new technology…73 percent
  • their taste in music…69 percent
  • their work ethic …58 percent
  • their moral values…54 percent
  • the respect they show others…54 percent
  • their political views…43 percent
  • and their religious beliefs…41 percent
  • their attitudes toward different races and groups…34 percent
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