From food to photos, video games to music; childhood today is almost unrecognizable compared to just 20 years ago. Here are 17 things that show just how much things have changed from when we were kids.
1 / 17
Walking to school
In this day and age, kids are — more often than not — driven to school as their parents battle it out in the kiss and ride (if their schools have a kiss and ride, that is). Kids, their two feet and their heartbeats getting to school has become a rarity.
2 / 17
Taking public transportation
Like walking to school, we started taking buses and subways way earlier than kids do now. Back in the day, if we wanted to get somewhere, it was our responsibility. Is it an issue of safety nowadays? Probably. But also, kids are increasingly coddled and are getting dropped off and picked up whether it's to the mall or the movies.
3 / 17
Getting penny candy
Going to the store, grabbing one of those little paper bags, filling them with treats like Coke bottles and sour keys that you would grab from the displays of loose, unwrapped candy that anyone before you could've touched was a part of childhood. Looking back, it's totally gross but at the same time, germs didn't seem like such a big deal then.
4 / 17
Kids don't have the gang from the Polka Dot Door teaching us about the small and big hands of a clock. Now they have phones and devices that tell them the time.
5 / 17
In the early '90s, few people had a cell phone and the only way kids even knew what they looked like was from watching Saved By The Bell. If you wanted to talk to your friends, you had to call them. When you made plans with your friends, you had to show up. And we all had a superhero-like ability to remember the phone numbers of every one of our friends, relatives and neighbours.
6 / 17
Having a phone conversation
Now that selfies and typing out abbreviated words are the norm, have you ever witnessed kids attempting to hold a phone conversation? A lot of long pauses, uncomfortable silences, no hellos or goodbyes. Cringeworthy.
7 / 17
Learning to write cursive
You practised, had a set of always-sharp pencils and even had your favourite letter. Good penmanship was a badge of honour and being told you had nice handwriting was a gift—like being good at dodge ball.
8 / 17
Practicing your signature
Aside from doodling, we, as kids, would also practice and develop our signatures. But since learning cursive and decent penmanship is practically a thing of the past, young people's signatures are going to be a fascinating thing to behold.
9 / 17
Sure, there were dads who took their kids to baseball, showed up to school concerts and the like, but dads pushing strollers or wearing baby carriers were few and far between. Sadly, there were even fewer fathers who were stay-at-home dads.
10 / 17
How we thought about food
There was no shame in going to McDonalds. Pizza night was so rare, it was worth bragging about and Kool-Aid was a staple in the fridges of all your friends...and nobody knew what gluten was.
11 / 17
Remember when people used to say, “Well, I guess we’ll never know”? If you don’t, then you were definitely born in a post-Google world. If you didn’t have an encyclopaedia, wise relative or teacher nearby, there are some things you’d resign yourself to never finding out. Something that’s totally unthinkable today.
12 / 17
Going to the movies with friends
Toonie Tuesdays were everything, especially when you could convince a cute teenage couple to pretend they were your guardians to watch Terminator 2. You’d beg your parents to bring you to the video store and were pumped when they’d still have copies of the latest must-see available. Other than that, you relied on a flip through the TV Guide to plan all your movie watching.
13 / 17
How we listened to music
From the walkman to the radio, the music of our youth was limited and that simple fact somehow made it feel important and special. If there was a song you wanted to hear and didn’t own it, your only hope was to call in to your local radio station, put in a request and then cross your fingers that they’d actually play it. Oh, but when they did, there was nothing sweeter.
14 / 17
Photos were only taken on special occasions. You’d fish out the camera and pray that the batteries were still good. Everything was developed and had no flattering filters. Our version of deleting was to rip it up or scratch out the bad bits.
15 / 17
Being forced to play indoors was punishment. Like for real punishment. Being grounded meant you weren’t allowed to go outside and it was torture. There was also a universal law of outside play: go home when the street lights come on.
16 / 17
You woke up with the sun to catch a few precious hours of cartoons on Saturday mornings, before your parents woke up and definitely with a side of the most sugary cereal imaginable (ideally one that would colour your milk a dreamy shade of pink or brown). And if you missed your favourite show, tough luck. You just had to wait for the next time.
17 / 17
Super Mario I, Duck Hunt, Sonic the Hedgehog—these were the two-dimensional video games of '90s youth. Not everyone had their own Nintendo, so we’d all congregate in the basement of our video game-owning friend and play as a group. If you were lucky enough to have a GameBoy, you were assumed to be filthy rich.