Stuff From Back In The Day That Today’s Teens Just Go ‘HUH?’ To

By lgentile - May 29, 2019

Kids these days have no idea what life was like back in the day. Look, we are not even that old, but when we grew up there was no such thing as texting your friends to say “what’s up.” Say what!? We are talking about the days before DVR was invented. When you had to be home to catch your favorite TV shows. We are talking way before Spotify and even before iPhones and iTunes were even an idea.

We want to take you back, before laptops and Google and Google Maps and all the other kinds of technology we use all day, every day and can’t live without. Somehow, many moons ago, we lived without all of it. And not only did we live without it, but we were still happy and we still survived. It is crazy to think about, isn’t it? Here are 20 things from back in the day that today’s teens just go “HUH” to.

Introducing CDs


Hey kids! We would like to introduce you to these weird things you see called CDs, short for compact discs.

Each one of these held just one album and in order to travel with all your music, you had to put all your favorite CDs into a CD book like the one you see here.

Then you put in one CD at a time into a CD player to listen to a few songs or a whole album before you ejected it and put in the next one. Can you believe that this is how we listened to music once upon a time?


Your Pockets Are Full


And once CDs went out of style, before the iPhone, Apple invented the iPod as a new way to listen to music.

The iPod allowed you to carry around all of your favorite music downloaded into a device so small that you could stick it in your pocket. The iPod blew our minds.

So then we had our flip phones in one pocket and our iPods in the other and we were the coolest kids around.



Do you still catch yourself typing “WWW” before putting in a web address? If the answer is yes, then you are old AF.

You know that you don’t have to do that right? You can just put in the rest of the link and the world wide web will figure it out for you.

Technology is amazing, isn’t it. Now excuse me. I have to go log into my Myspace account and rearrange my top friends.

Flipping Through The Channels


When looking for something to watch on TV, you had two options. You could flip through the channels and see what was on or you could wait for the list of shows to scroll on the guide channel.

The problem was, once you missed your favorite channel’s listing, you had to wait for it to go around again.

But by then you would be so over wouldn’t even remember what you were looking for!

Watching VHS Tapes


Before DVDs and Blue Rays, which are now considered to be outdated and ancient, we had VHS tapes. They were big and clunky and they could only hold so much tape inside.

For TV series or longer movies like the epic movie Titanic, you had to watch more than one VHS tape in order to see the whole film.

If you lost one of the tapes, you were screwed and you’ve never find out what happened to Rose and Jack in the end. Spoiler: It didn’t end well.

Baby Netflix


Before Netflix became the most amazing invention on the planet, it was a much different product.

When Netflix was introduced to the world, you had to actually rent DVDs from a list of movies.  You picked the ones you want and then they were sent to you in the mail.

In order to rent more movies, you had to send them back to Netflix. And when we say “send them back” we mean via snail mail. Yeah, streaming was not a thing until way later down the line.

The Convenience Of Map Quest


Before Waze and Google Maps and the iPhone, we had a silly little thing that we couldn’t get anywhere without called Map Quest.

You got an address and then you typed it into your giant computer. Then Map Quest gave you directions that you either wrote down or printed out.

Then you have to take the directions with you and if you got lost in any way there was no such thing as rerouting. You just had to figure it out for yourself. Fun times.

Rolling Down The Window (Literally)


When we were young whipper snappers, rolling down the window took some serious elbow grease.

It was exhausting. You would have to crank this little lever thing so hard it would actually feel like a strenuous workout.

And if it started to rain or a creeper was coming up to the car and you wanted to roll up the window, you had to crank so fast you felt like your arms could potentially fall off.

Snapping A Selfie


Before we had cameras inside of our phones, we always had a disposable camera in tow.

The disposable camera was the best because you snapped away and you had no idea what the picture would look like until you got it developed.

Yup. That’s right. You had to go to a store with the camera and pay for it to be developed. Then a day or two later, you would get your pictures and only then would you see how they turned out. Baller.

Downloading For Life


If you were downloading something back in the day, you knew you would be there for a while. Like a loooooooooong while.

You would download and then take a shower, get ready for school, leave the house, go to school, go to soccer practice, eat dinner, shower and do your homework and it still wasn’t done downloading.

And then someone would accidentally disconnect you and you would have to start all over again. MOM!!! Get off the computer!!!!!

Listen To Music In The Car


Now when we want to listen to some tunes in our car, we don’t even need to plug anything in. We just connect our phones to the bluetooth and let technology do its thang.

Way back when we needed one of these alien looking things to plug into our iPod to listen to Back Street Boys or the Spice Girls.

The tape went into our tape deck obviously because CDs weren’t around just yet. If you had one of these, you were way ahead of your time.

Rewinding And Fast Forwarding


And you think that you need to worry about spoilers now? When we used VHS tapes, rewinding and fast forwarding was a spoiler waiting to happen.

If you had to rewind or fast forward, you had to close your eyes and cover your ears to make sure you didn’t accidentally see or hear something that would ruin the movie or show for you.

Also, the screeching of the tape moving was so horrible it could mak your ears bleed, so yeah, there’s that too.

Writing On Someone's Facebook Wall


Once upon a time. Before political garbage, petitions, self promotion and pictures of kids grandkids, Facebook was for socializing and for socializing only.

One of the ways to do that was to write on each other’s walls. That’s it. Writing a message on someone’s wall.

And while we still get messages on our walls for our birthday, now we tend to post on our own walls and hardly ever post anything on anyone else’s. If someone besides Aunt Nancy posted on our wall it would feel creepy. Wouldn’t it?

Things Going Haywire


When we were young, messages like these popped up and you knew that your computer was on the fritz and it was time to walk away.

You knew that your computer was being a diva and needed a minute… or 15. Hey, she’s busy. Give her a break.

Now, if our computer doesn’t do as we say immediately we would tweet about it and Apple would give up a new one. My, how the times have changed.

Signing On


Remember signing onto your AOL account? If you are a teenager, this is WAY before your time. But your mom will know exactly what we are talking about.

When you signed onto AOL, you took up a landline and if anyone picked up the phone, you would get kicked off and there would have to be hell to pay.

You made sure that everyone knew that if you were on the computer to back off. You were in chat rooms and you didn’t want to be bothered.

Waiting Until You Got


Not only did you have to wait until you got home to check your Facebook messages, but once upon a time people had to leave actual messages voice on your answering machine at home too.

You raced home from school to see if anyone left a message on your answering machine, your Facebook, your Myspace or your AIM.

Now we are attached to our phones and can’t get away from our messages. My how things have changed. Can we go back?

Hell To Pay


And you may remember that time when you had to label everything so your favorite shows wouldn’t get taped over.

That’s right. Just because you recorded something on tape, didn’t mean that your jerk of a little brother couldn’t tape over it because he wanted to record some GI Joe BS. You know what I’m talking about, right?

If someone taped over the New Kids Christmas Special concert on MTV there would be hell to pay.

A Nightlight For Your Gameboy


Now everything with a screen lights up. We couldn’t use them half the time if they didn’t.

Our phones, our watches, kindles and more. But before light up screens, we needed a special nightlight for our Gameboys so we could use it at night.

This was perfect for when you wanted to play Mario Brothers under the covers in the comfort of your own room. Remember those days? Look, we needed a little Tetris before bed. Those were the good old days, weren’t they?

Free Nights And Weekends

Credits: Gigicel

I know this is going to blow your mind, but before cellphones we had to use a landline in our actual homes.

And while these landlines were expensive, they had a deal for free nights and weekends that would kick in at 9pm on weekday nights.

So, we would all wait until 9 pm to call our friends and we would stay on the phone for hours and hours. What mom? Leave us alone. It’s free!

No Space


When we were first introduced to text messages, to say the technology was limited would be an understatement.

There was hardly any space to type, and once you did send and receive a few messages, your phone could only hold a few at a time.

You would have to keep erasing them over and over to get any more incoming messages. Now we only communicate via text and this would never ever be acceptable today.