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Can television be the common ground when it comes to getting teens to open up?

Evidence points to yes, according to Netflix survey results released Tuesday. This research shows the majority of parents and teens agree TV shows are a generational connection point.

Netflix surveyed 1,275 parents of teens and 1,275 teens aged 13 to 18 in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, Mexico, Brazil and Italy. Data in each country was weighted to ensure equal representation of age and gender.

Of those surveyed, 70 percent of parents and two-thirds of teens also say “they wish they had more to talk about with one another.” Among parents, 80 percent said they watched a show their teen child watches “just to feel closer to them.” In turn, teens welcomed this, with 74 percent indicating they were interested in talking to their parents about shows they watch.

Many shows that are popular among teens are actually favorites of adults, such as “Orange is the New Black” and “The Walking Dead.”

Parents (93 percent) and teens (78 percent) say making a conscious effort to watch the same shows creates conversation. It also creates understanding and “builds a bond,” say 89 percent of parents and at least 70 percent of teens.

The recent release of Netflix original series “13 Reasons Why” has highlighted more reasons for parents to initiate delicate and awkward conversations with children and teens. The majority of both teen and parent survey respondents say watching the same shows helps start tough conversations.

It makes sense parents and teens might bond over TV shows.

Consider just the popularity of Netflix. With more than 100 million subscribers in nearly 200 countries, it’s the world’s largest internet TV network. Its members watch in excess of 125 million hours of TV shows and movies per day on internet-connected screens.

Add in programming from other platforms, and it becomes clear entertainment can be an important tool in getting teens to open up. If you have teens in your life, it’s important to show an interest in things that matter to them.

Survey results come on the heels of the Netflix release of “13 Reasons Why,” an original series based on a novel of the same name. The highly rated series depicts a 17-year-old girl’s suicide, its causes and the fallout. The 13-part show includes graphic scenes, and schools in several countries urge cautious and conscientious viewing. offers “13 Reasons Why: Beyond the Reasons,” which explores the show’s themes. JED Foundation offers suicide prevention resources for teens and young adults, including “13 Reasons” talking points and more at

Golden writes The Courier’s weekly faith and values column. Email her at


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