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METRO Thursday, January 19, 2006

Generation game They say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree but many urbanites see their parents as technological dinosaurs, says SARAH HILLS o matter how much we love our parents, few of us want to end up just like them. Their immortal lines, such as ‘turn that noise down’, and annoying habits provide plenty of material for us to moan about over the years. So Metro invited readers to let off steam about their folks in an Urban Life survey. The results showed that some worn-out stereotypes still ring painfully true and proximity breeds contempt. More people in their 20s than ever before are living at home as they struggle to get on the property ladder in Britain’s major cities. But even those who have flown the nest find there is no escape from their parents. Urbanites whose family home was in the countryside had particular cause for complaint. One said their gripe was their parents ‘being excited that I have “made it” working in the city for a huge salary when I am in a boring job, have a long commute and move documents around all day’. Another said: ‘Now that I live and work in London my mum thinks I’m rich. She expects presents and treats every time I go home like I’m the prodigal daughter.’ Most urbanites polled shared the view that parents and modern technology, such as e-mails and texts, don’t mix. There were several groans from grown-up children who had bought their folks a computer and subsequently became 24-hour help-desks because their mum and dad did not know how to work it. Complaints were also made about



Importance of family ties


Attitudes to bringing up kids


Religious beliefs (or lack of them)


Urban Life is Metro’s award-winning study of ‘urbanites’ – young, full-time working professionals in Britain’s major cities. Each year we research the opinions, attitudes and lifestyles of 4,000 Metro readers across 13 UK cities, asking for readers’ views on everything from current affairs to cool brands; environmental issues to must-see movies; mobile phones to multiculturalism.

What do I get out of it?

Attitudes towards marriage

We’re genuinely interested in your opinions on the key issues of the day and you can share these views with Metro’s editorial team. The results from our surveys fuelled more than a dozen stories in Metro last year – such as the one on this page today. As if that wasn’t enough, we’re also giving away £55,000 in prizes – hundreds of £20 HMV vouchers and one £1,000 cash prize after each of our main surveys. And if you stay with us the whole year and complete five or more of our six main surveys, you will be entered into our prize draw for one £5,000 cash prize.


The political party you support The newspaper you read at weekends

So, what is it all about?

23% 18%

Attitudes towards sexual relationships


None of the above


I just don’t know


What’s involved? mobile phones. One reader said: ‘Apparently, these are for their emergencies only! The rest of the time they are switched off to save the battery.’ The rules of communication were called into question by another reader who said: ‘My parents seem to forget that the phone can work both ways.’ ore than half of British men aged 20 to 24 – almost 1million – still live with their parents, according to the Office for National Statistics. More women in the same age group have flown the nest, with just over a third of women remaining at home. Overall, the number of


Now, tell us what YOU think and...


British 20 to 24 year olds living with their parents has risen by 50 per cent in the past decade, making today’s relationships between parents and their grown-up children particularly pertinent. But the generation gap hasn’t discouraged urbanites from being parents. One said: ‘I can’t wait to have kids so I can use the same immortal lines: “You’re not going out looking like that. You treat this place like a hotel.” And, of course: “Turn that bloody racket down.”’ Nearly two thirds of those polled said they considered themselves financially successful when compared with their parents. And 54 per cent said they thought they

had lived up to their parents’ expectations and made them proud. However, 14 per cent of urbanites said they had made their parents proud ‘but they never expected much anyway’. Another seven per cent had ‘been a disappointment’ to their folks; four per cent admitted to not making their parents proud because ‘they expected too much’; and 19 per cent said they did not know what their parents expected from them in the first place. There was also praise for parents. ‘My parents were great,’ said one urbanite. ‘If I can be a parent to my kids like mine were to me, I’d feel I was doing an excellent job.’

in cash and prizes is up for grabs

Taking part is easy. Urban Life is comprised of six main surveys, the first one in February and then one every six weeks. All surveys are online so you can do them any time of the day or night that suits you (within our survey periods). We’ll e-mail you when each one is ready to complete. Each one should take you around 15min to do.

Sign me up now If you are interested in taking part in Urban Life 2006, please go to the website and follow the instructions there. Spaces are limited on the project – last year we had twice as many volunteers as we needed, so please register early to avoid disappointment.

Come and take part in our 2006 survey by logging on to