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Each era carries its treasured childhood memories and unique peculiarities. The rapid advancement of technology has ushered in swift changes with the onset of every new decade, giving rise to a markedly different childhood experience for our current generation, courtesy of the exponentially accelerating pace of modern life.
One community forum reflected on how the childhoods of millennials were much different than today’s generation. “What’s something millennials experienced as kids that kids today will never understand?”
1. Driving without GPS
Many people were still without smartphones or a built-in GPS a decade ago. Writing down directions and keeping a map handy are a thing of the past.
One comment summarizes this perfectly, “They will never know just how hard it was to deliver pizzas until you knew the town up and down, front to back. No GPS, no phones. Just a crappy Honda Accord and a dream.”
2. Unsupervised Playtime
Kids these days are (most often) tethered to a phone so that their parents can text, call, or GPS track them to make sure they’re where they’re supposed to be.
“We used to go out for hours with no way our parents could reach out.” Says one writer.
3. One Computer Per Household
Most households these days have multiple ways to access the internet (that is SO fast compared to decades past- who remember dial-up?)
“There was only 1 computer in your home, and it was usually kept in the kitchen.” One writer recalls.
4. Call the Landline
Do households even have landlines anymore?
“If we wanted to get in touch with a friend, we had to call their house and usually had to speak to their parents on the phone for a bit first.”
5. No Hyper-targeted Ads
Kids were intrigued by the internet, but the internet itself wasn’t so pushy and invasive.
“A free, open internet where everyone wasn’t trying to squeeze you for money, targeted ads, clickbait, spyware, or begging for your email address for spam.”
6. Old-school Chatting
Who remembers AOL? Where kids had to sit around all day waiting for their friends to jump online to the sound of an opening door.
One person recalls AOL fondly, “I miss AOL.”
7. Page Load Speed
Who remembers pages loading one pixelated line at a time?
“And you couldn’t make a phone call while waiting minutes for a page to charge.”
8. The Battle of the Phone vs. Internet
For most households, the phone and internet couldn’t work at the same time.
“The amount of fights I’ve had with my siblings for either me or them picking up the phone while we were using the computer….”
9. Having to Wait a Week for the Next Show
There was no recording, rewinding, or binge-watching favorite shows two decades ago.
“The “emptiness” between episodes on linear TV. You have a favourite series? Awesome. You watch it every thursday at 8PM, super excited. And yes – you must be ready at that time, because there’s no pausing, rewinding, or streaming. Thursday at 8PM is what you get.”
10. Memorizing Top Phone Numbers
Can kids these days remember any of their friend’s or parents’ numbers? They’re likely saved in their phones instead.
“Remembering all of your family and friend’s number by heart.”
11. Going to the Library for Research
Before Google had the answers to all of life’s questions, there was the library.
“We remember having to go to the library for information that wasn’t on the internet.”
12. There’s a Subscription for That
In decades past, subscriptions were not the norm. These days, there’s a subscription for just about anything- toothpaste, dog toys, fashion, etc.
“… remember when subscriptions weren’t the business model for everything.”
Before YouTube, Spotify, and Amazon music, kids would have to listen to the radio all day, hoping to hear their favorite song. The song could be recorded off the radio with a tape cassette to combat this. There was nothing like a mix tape to hear favorite songs or share with friends. Just make sure no one records over it!
14. Blockbuster Movie Nights
Only one blockbuster left in Alaska has been preserved as a historic site- not because it’s still renting videos.
“They will never see something like having to rent a VHS or DVDs” walking the rows of videos to see what’s in stock that night to rent for a day.
15. Collect Calls
These days kids have cell phones if they’re out (or at least have access to one). “Collect call from “mom the movie’s over I’m ready for a ride” will you accept the charges?” Writes someone. This is definitely no longer a thing.
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