Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Family Consumer Human Development

Committee Chair(s)

Randall M. Jones


Randall M. Jones


Scot M. Allgood


Troy E. Beckert


Elizabeth B. Fauth


Renee V. Galliher


Empirical investigations concerning generational differences between parents and adolescents were prevalent in the 1960s and 1970s. Interest in generational differences has resurfaced with the advent and evolution of technology. This study examined perceived generational differences between late adolescent and parent knowledge about interactive technologies. A sample of late adolescents (N = 605) reported their own interactive technology knowledge and perceptions of their parents’ technology knowledge via online questionnaires. Paired t tests and Cohen’s d were used to compare late adolescents’ self-reported knowledge with their perceptions of their parents’ knowledge. Perceived digital generation gaps were identified in the knowledge areas of video chat, cell phones, general social networking, Twitter, basic email, and advanced email. The differences remained constant when paired t tests were conducted separately by male and female late adolescents.

Patterns between perceived parent-late adolescent relationship characteristics and perceived generational differences in technology knowledge were examined using Cohen’s d. Differences in perceived parent-child quality time were found among male late adolescents when there were generational technology knowledge differences in the areas of email, Twitter, and social networking. Parent-child conflict was most related to perceived generational technology differences in Twitter, video chat, and general social networking knowledge. Finally, perceived generational technology knowledge differences in the areas of video chat, Twitter, email, and general social networking were most related to differences in perceived parental-knowledge of late adolescents’ behaviors.




This work made publicly available electronically on September 20, 2012.