If you are an adult today, you may be full of fond memories of an internet-free childhood. It might be hard for kids today to understand but there was a time when people got by just fine without social media, email, and other luxuries. Kids now live in a completely different world. I thought it would be fun to take a trip down memory lane so I’ve compiled this list of 10 things that kids today just don’t do. Get ready to feel really nostalgic
1. Use Dial-Up Internet
90s kids are so familiar with the notable dial-up internet sound, it might as well have been the soundtrack to the 90s. Most of us probably don’t miss that noise or the insanely slow internet speeds. But the worst part? You couldn’t use the home phone while connected to dial-up internet because you would disconnect whoever was online. This was pretty inconvenient and led to household disputes everywhere. Kids now are so fortunate to have Wi-Fi pretty much wherever they are, even on a plane!
2. Write in Cursive
Maybe I should just say “writing, period” but some schools actually don’t require that students learn cursive anymore. I remember practicing all of my cursive letters in elementary school with intense concentration and actually looking forward to the opportunity to put my cursive to good use whether it be by way of writing a penpal (another thing mostly long gone) or writing little notes to my family members. These days, you don’t see a lot of kids practicing their cursive. Why would they when most writing will be done via a keyboard anyway?
3. Use Phonebooks
Remember flipping through the giant, yellow phonebook intentionally looking for funny names or looking for friends to prank call? No? Yeah, me neither… But seriously, kids now will never know the tedious task of having to skim through a huge phonebook in order to find the number to a local pizza place. Phone books are now mostly ignored and you can even order on-demand lawn mowing and snow removal online without flipping through dozens of pages. Twenty years ago, just this concept alone would seem incredibly futuristic. The future is here!
4. Use Paper Maps
Once upon a time, people purchased paper maps to bring on their road trips or to navigate unknown places. This might seem incredibly bizarre to kids today but GPS and Google Maps simply were not an option. If you were crossing more than one state, additional maps would be required. Also, trying to navigate a paper map while your parents drive is not an easy task for an uninterested teen and often times parents would rather just pull off the road and navigate the map themselves. Those were the days.
5. Rent VHS Tapes
Remember heading down to Blockbuster on the weekend with your family to rent a couple VHS tapes for family movie night? I sure do. Grabbing a new release from the sprawling wall of VHS tapes was one of the highlights of my childhood. The concept of going to a store to rent movies, let alone VHS tapes is practically nonexistent today (with the exception of Redbox). Although, there are still a few places you can go to rent movies, you’ll have to really work to find them. This concept has been rendered almost obsolete thanks to on-demand movie services like Netflix and HBO GO.
6. Use Portable CD Players
There was a time when people didn’t have all of their music loaded up onto either their cell phone or mp3 player. In order to listen to music while out and about, you would need a portable CD player and your favorite CD. If you were feeling really adventurous, you could tote around a portable binder full of CDs in case you have a change of heart. These portable CD players were all the rage in highschool with the Discman being the go to. Just about any kid who grew up in the 90s will be familiar with this concept but kids now might laugh at the idea of carrying your CDs around, or even having CDs for that matter.
7. Use Encyclopedias
I’m talking about actual, physical encyclopedias. Before the internet was widely used to obtain knowledge, people would purchase sets of encyclopedias from Encyclopedia Salesmen (yes, this was an actual occupation) and grab the volume with the appropriate letter in order to look up information by flipping through alphabetically listed pages. Encyclopedias were essential for finishing up homework assignments and learning about the world around us. The only alternatives were talking to someone knowledgeable on the subject or trekking over to the local library. Now, there is a little site called Wikipedia which makes finding the answer to almost any imaginable question a cinch.
8. Answer the Phone Without Knowing Who it is
Most kids these days not only have cell phones, they always know who is calling them. Things weren’t always so easy—there was a time when caller ids were not the norm and the only way to know who was on the other line was by picking up the phone. I know my family let the phone go to voicemail on more than one occasion because we weren’t in the mood to take our chances and get stuck on a phone call with that dreaded relative or salesperson (or Encyclopedia salesperson for that matter). On the same topic, home phones were pretty standard in every home and cell phones were a rarity.
9. Use Disposable Cameras
Now days most people take pictures with the camera built into their cell phone. Before that, it was digital cameras. Before that people purchased disposable cameras. These cameras usually came with an allotted number of allowed photos and required that you bring the camera to your local drug or convenience store once finished to get the photos developed. Waiting usually took a day and getting the photos back was like Christmas morning because you never really knew what to expect. They don’t make much sense now but I kind of miss them sometimes.
10. Play Baseball
Typically when we think of things that have changed in the past 20 years, we think about things like technology but sports are another thing that is not immune from becoming out-of-date. Little League Baseball used to be a big deal—most kids played or knew kids that played in a Little League. It’s becoming more rare to see kids join Little League teams, even though sports like basketball and football continue to flourish. Though Major League Baseball is still going strong, the young player is starting to disappear. Youth participation is dropping drastically every year (see chart above) and this could mean America’s first favorite pastime is in trouble.
Phew! Sorry if I made you 80s and 90s kids feel old. Trust me, you are nowhere close to being old—but a lot has changed in the past couple of decades, most of it for the better. Speaking of things kids don’t do anymore, when was the last time you were able to get your kids to mow the lawn or shovel the snow? We feel your pain but fortunately on-demand lawn mowing and snow removal is easier to order than ever, we’ll take care of you!