30 Outdated Things These Days Kids Won’t Even Know Existed
Kids these days are dumb and annoying. It’s not their fault though, they just didn’t grow up with the real struggles that turned us into troubled adults. If you come across a kid and tell them about the following outdated things, you will see their eyes gloss over as they go back to looking at their iPhone.
I remember running off the bus after a long day at school to get on the corded home phone in the kitchen. Try duct-taping your teenager’s smartphone to a bungee cord to your dining room wall today to relive this nostalgia.
Remembering Phone Numbers
Now you might need to incorporate a desk under or next to your wall-mounted phone for this one. Phones in the ’80s and ’90s didn’t store phone numbers and you definitely couldn’t ask Siri to call your BFF. Back then you had to remember your best friend’s phone number by heart or use a Rolodex!
Finally, let’s reach way back to obscure toys from our childhood. Telling your kids about your tiny digital pet on a keychain will surely bring laughs around the dinner table someday. I’m sure when they tell their kids about Hatchimals, it will have the same effect while your grandkids are feeding a live, uniquely designed pet they produced from their home 3D printer.
Is there a vape section at restaurants? 20-year-olds, let alone kids today, don’t even remember having smoking sections in restaurants. I didn’t mind it. Back then I think it added a distinct, nostalgic, smell to the memories of Sunday mornings going to the diner after church. There were even cigarette vending machines in the entrances! If you really need to see people smoking everywhere, just go to VEGAS BABY!
Believe it or not, even food used to be different. Certainly, there was different food science but I’m talking about food RULES. We used to be able to bring cupcakes to class. We used to bring peanut butter sandwiches to school. Now because allergies are like taking over the world I have to send my daughter to school with cream cheese and jelly sandwiches just to avoid sending peanut butter into a public environment!
I’m pretty sure my kids will look back at analog clocks as some quaint antique. I remember having an analog alarm clock where I’d have to wind the arms a certain magical way to set it…or maybe I’m just imagining that at this point?
Before Instagram people used to have photo albums to browse through family photos. Remember going on vacation with your manual camera and having to wait to use up all the clicks, then carefully taking the film out without exposing it to light! Man! Finally, if that was successful you could take it to the 1-hour photo place and get your precious pictures developed!
Laptops and desktops are still extremely common but the more kids are growing up with smart phones and tablets in their hands, the more they’re going to think that every screen is a touch screen. And maybe in the next decade that will already be true!
Once you scrolled away from AOL you would probably be going to MySpace. The best feature on MySpace was always choosing what three songs you wanted playing in your background!
If you were bored with Instant Messaging your friends or got sick of the chat rooms on AOL you could always talk to your best friend…Smarter Child! I’m pretty sure Smarter Child and Ask Jeeves were like the grandparents of Siri and Cortana and Google Assistant. Go ahead and ask any question and he’ll always have a witty response!
Growing up a little and finally getting internet brought a new aspect to online social life. Instead of running home off the bus to grab the phone, we were now racing to get on AIM. Remember how so many pharmacies and convenient stores had free AOL CD-ROMS on the check-out counters!? What was up with that? Trying to craft the perfect “Away Message” was almost better than Facebook statuses.
Before easily accessible internet anyway, we still had to use computers for some practical things like writing an essay on Word. Instead of emailing your homework we would have to save it onto a floppy disc. This was such a regular thing that clicking the little picture of a floppy disc was the shortcut for the “save” function. Imagine your kids seeing this floppy disc in their Google Docs or on their iphones today?
I even have to think way back for this one. Even before dial-up internet, I remember doodling in “Paint” on the mac in my dad’s office. I even remember the smell of that gray plastic blowing out from the side fan when you power-up and the gears start turning.
Before the digital age, my favorite cartoons took hours of painstaking effort to animate. Today’s cartoons are just quick, digitally animated blobs that are nothing like the Pinocchio and Snow White that I remember. I swear the change in graphics is going to lead to more cases of ADHD and our easily distracted culture. Nothing like those soft pastels and slow-paced animations.
Movies on Tape
The amazing thing about movies coming out at BlockBuster was not like today when you can buy a movie on itunes 3 weeks after it’s out of the theater. No, back then you had to wait at least 6 to 12 months for your movie to come out on VHS! I think the suspense of having to wait added a lot of value.
While you’re out cruising with your CDs, the ancient form of Netflix and Chill was to go to BlockBuster and see what popular movies they still had in stock. You could really impress your date if you found the perfect movie and were old enough to have your own BlockBuster card. I still remember meandering through the maze of candy and popcorn on the way to the check-out counter… Seeing the returns slide down into the return bin from the outside receptacle. They are still alive and well in Alaska ’cause of the poor internet conditions, but no one cares about Alaska.
Another car essential in the window compartment next to your CD wallet or in your glove compartment was a tri-state map. You had to actually refer to street signs and printed lines on folded paper back in the day to get to your aunt’s house. I’m pretty sure this would be worse for distracted driving than trying to find alternate routes while getting around on Google Maps these days.
Moving on to music that doesn’t skip when you’re running or get uncoiled in a tape player, MP3’s were revolutionary. iPods were it. There were many other horrible attempts at MP3 players but nothing could beat the iPod. Now that streaming music from smartphones is seamless, these things have been phased out. One day even streaming music from a smartphone will be passé.
Going even further back than my No Doubt phase, I remember having to rewind music on my cassette tapes. Back then I would have Beastie Boys on repeat but I’d have to wait like 5 minutes rewinding my tape if I didn’t want to always listen to the B-sides. When it got jammed? No probs dude, just use a pen and rewind it manually!
Unwrapping a CD
Ahhh the smell of streaming music… wait, no. Spotify doesn’t have a smell! Remember the glory of unwrapping crisp cellophane from around a new jewel case. The smell and glint of a shiny new CD was a treasured moment. I still remember unwrapping my No Doubt CD, Rock Steady.
Speaking of the 87’ SAAB my kids will never know… they also will be missing out on the arm workout it was to roll down your window on those old cars. Imagine having to use simple machines to get things done in life. Our kids will probably just have to say, “Hey Honda, roll down my left window to 50%” in order to get some fresh air when they’re driving.
Once VHS tapes got phased out they were replaced by digital video discs. This meant you got to go to Best Buy or Circuit City and pick up a sweet DVD tower to hold your entire movie collection! Now if you buy a DVD, it usually comes with a code to download a digital copy of it too.
A little better than DVD towers (but maybe not so much) was CD folders. I remember having like 300 CDs in the passenger seat of my SAAB! Chicks would flip through it and see what kind of guy you were. No Smashmouth CDs, please.
If you really wanted to plan out your evening you would need to find the TV guide on your coffee table or hiding in the couch cushions and see what was playing. I remember mapping out what to watch after the Simpsons. Imagine if our kids had a weekly printed guide for Netflix!?
If you found a movie on the TV guide that you just couldn’t miss but you weren’t going to be home, you could always set the VHS recorder to tape it for you! After rewatching whatever movie you missed you could even record over it again with a couple of other shows!
VH1 and MTV
Another great way to start the day or veg out after school was to flip on MTV or VH1 for actual music videos. This was a personal highlight for me. Now MTV is pretty much Tosh.0 or Ridiculousness on repeat I think…?
Staying home sick from school and got the antenna positioned just right? Of course, the Price is Right was a regular go-to game show to pass the time! Imagine kids today don’t even know this icon of our youth! If you haven’t watched it yet, go watch Happy Gilmore. The Adam Sandler / Bob Barker fight scene is worth it.
TV antennas are kind of still a thing if you don’t want to pay for cable but you want to start your day with the Today Show or Kelly and Ryan in the morning or daytime TV like The Price is Right… without Bob Barker. Trying to position the antennas just the right way to get the perfect signal just doesn’t convey the same atmosphere like today’s Netflix and Chill culture. I’d be so pissed if you messed with my antenna configuration.
While you’re duct-taping the phone to the wall, go ahead and plug a tape-recording device to your phone at the same time. When you miss a call the little tape will start recording the message! We still have voicemail today but it was nothing like having to rewind that tape to write down the info from the message or skipping through the messages flashing on the digital screen, if you had that level of technology.
Now that you have a desk with your wall-mounted phone and a Rolodex on top, you’re going to find a thick yellow book in the lower cabinet door. This is a phone book, it has all the personal and local business phone numbers for your town or county. I actually still remember these as recently as like 4 years ago! Now they are mostly used for phone book ripping competitions.