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5 Reasons Being a Teenager Was Different Before 1995

Kids today have a lot of cool stuff we didn’t have in the nineties. While our kids are snapchatting and learning a new Tik Tok dance every week, we were singing along to “Steal My Sunshine” and lining up at Blockbuster to rent all three Mighty Ducks. Still, being a nineties kid was pretty great, even if today’s kids can’t relate. So, how was it different?

So Much Phone Time

And by phone time we mean using a phone as a phone and not as an all-in-one app machine. Yeah, kids in the nineties weren’t sending thousands of texts per month, but phone obsession was a real thing. Plenty of kids got home from school, picked up the phone, and then spent hours on the line with friends. If you had more than one kid in the household, you’d expect a fight over the handset—or at least a sharing arrangement negotiated by your parental units. Of course, at that age the best possible birthday present was your own line.

Disposable Cameras

Criticizing today’s teens for taking a lot of pictures seems a bit strange. After all, we snapped plenty of pictures in the nineties. The main difference is we had to wait a couple weeks (which is like a million years in high school time) to get the pictures developed. But getting the pictures back was part of the fun—you got to relive the experience. Unless you or one of your friends was cool enough to bring a Polaroid to the party.

Internet Infancy

One of the best things about being a nineties kid (that we certainly didn’t appreciate at the time) was that you weren’t expected to always be online. Look, we love the internet. But we can’t help but think it’s a bit rough for kids today when they can’t get away from whatever is going on at school because it’s all online, too. We didn’t have to deal with so much FOMO in the nineties. And we never had to deal with the horror of our mothers sharing baby pictures on Facebook, so that’s a plus for any teenager.

Sticking to Plans

If you agreed to meet with Marissa and the gang at three o’clock outside the Orange Julius at the mall, you just . . . had to be there. No one could text that they were running late. No one could cancel a half hour prior because they had something else fun come up. There wasn’t really a way to change, alter, or cancel plans, so short of a real disaster, you basically had to keep them.

No Cell Phones, No Problem

In the early nineties, rich people might have a car phone the size of a brick and that’s as mobile as phones got. But as much as cell phones have made lives so much more convenient, the nice thing about not having a cell phone as a teen in the nineties is that you could spend your time the way you wanted without worrying about Mom or Dad checking in every hour. And Mom and Dad generally didn’t, since being a helicopter parent was more difficult before cell phones. You could go from the game to the mall to the movies to a friend’s house and only be expected to check in when the street lights came on. Sure, maybe a pre-smartphone world was less convenient—but there were a lot of good points, too.

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Posted on:
July, 23 2021



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