7 Ways My Kids Childhood is Different Than Mine Was

Back when I was kid…

Back in the good old days…

Not to give away my age, but my childhood was 30 years ago. I know my childhood was vastly different than my parents’. There were no dinosaurs. I didn’t have to help build pyramids or a Great Wall. I didn’t have to choose sides in the Civil War, either. I didn’t have to walk to school barefoot in the snow uphill both ways.

Looking at my own children’s childhood, I can see it’s as vastly different from mine as mine is from my parents’.

atari2600The first thing that comes to mind is Atari. They may know Pitfall, Space Invaders or Missile Command, but they won’t know it by way of the infamous joystick and single red button. That was back when things were simpler. Video games weren’t complicated by unnecessary buttons. That didn’t happen until Nintendo came out.
nintendo blowIf you’ve ever owned a Nintendo you know the cause of a scrambled screen. They render games unplayable. My kids will never know the joys (or innuendo) of blowing into a Nintendo game cartridge to make it playable again. You can blow on a Wii or X-Box, or PS CD all you want, it’s not going to fix it like it would a Nintendo Cartridge.

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My kids will never know the comfort of parachute pants. I, myself, owned several pairs and wore them constantly. They were the comfort of pajama pants and the style of… of whatever style the 80’s were. I could have been one of those models in the photo, especially with my neon colors.

 

cassette and pencilKids these days don’t understand what it used to be like trying to find a favorite song on a cassette tape. You would inevitably fast forward too far then rewind it stopping every two seconds so you didn’t rewind too far. Eventually, you would just give up and listen until the song you wanted came on. And God forbid if the tape got stuck or unwound and you didn’t have a pencil to fix it.

walkman
The only way to listen to those beloved cassette tapes was on your Walkman. Makes no phone calls. Has no GPS. No Candy Crush. Held only 14 songs and required you to flip the cassette over to listen to side B. Unless you had a mixed tape you recorded off the radio, you listened to a band’s whole album. There was no choosing just the songs you liked.

4552193f30ff122636929c8640503fceSpeaking of phone calls and GPS and Candy Crush, we didn’t have cell phones back then. Or at least the general public didn’t. They did exist, but they resembled tanks. They were behemoths. Our parents knew where we were because other parents would tell. Or rather, I would ask/tell my parents which friend’s house I was going to and when I got there, their parents would call to let my parents know I was there. It took a village. And we always came inside when the street lights came on.

I can’t imagine any of these making a comeback. You might find them on 80’s day at school or at a retro throw back party. Except the parachute pants. I would still wear those. However, the toys from that decade are starting to reappear. The Fisher Price toys in particular. The phone. The record player. The view finder. I even found the Movie Viewer!

I am proud to say I still have that original Movie Viewer. My aunt and uncle were wise enough to not let me sell it at a yard sale. But they’re making a come back and can be found on store shelves again. I wonder if they’re still as indestructible today as they were 30 years ago?

There’s so much more from the 80’s that could be discussed here. He-Man and She-Ra. My kids don’t ride my back like a horsey, they ride like Battle Cat. There was also big hair, shutter sunglasses, fish head shoes (jellies), acid washed jeans, Cabbage Patch Kids, Koosh balls, and music on MTV. There were many others, but these 7 were my favorites.

What are your favorite memories from that weird age?

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60 thoughts on “7 Ways My Kids Childhood is Different Than Mine Was

  1. Gah, I feel terribly old now after reading this. But childhood was pretty amazing for our generation, not to discount what kids have today, I just think kids today are missing out on something we did well and that was NOTHING at all because we had so little compared to now.

    Awesome post Eric!

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    • I choked a bit when I typed that my childhood was 30 years ago. I seriously had to double check my math. We certainly didn’t have less, just different. I think it would be fun to let them play with the toys we had 🙂

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  2. Dude – Star Wars.

    Plus, I split a pair of parachute pants down the back while playing football at recess. I sat in the office bathroom while a teacher sewed them up. Good as new.

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  3. I love this post. Brought back some good memories. I had almost all these except the movie viewer. My cousin and I spent countless hours playing the Atari. I still think some of those games were awesome. 🙂

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  5. Our children will never know the terror of listening to your favorite Duran Duran song on the Walkman and having the batteries start to go bad. Simon LeBon’s perky voice would be transformed into the auditory version of a Salvador Dali print. “Her naaaaammmmmee isssss Rrrrrrriiiiiioooo….”
    So yeah. Duran Duran.

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    • Bonus points for Duran Duran. Extra credit for remembering the sound the Walkman makes when the batteries are dying. It’s equivalent to today’s songs skipping (for those of who listen on scratched CDs)

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  6. Except for the parachute pants which probably didn’t make its way to Asia, the rest…oh! Man! Brought back memories. Cassette tapes! Walkman! Joy stick! All of those so nostalgic. Don’t forget vcrs too. L.A gear shoes with neon coloured spirals. And one of my favourites Animaniacs!
    Awesome post, Eric!

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    • HAHA Animanics! I didn’t include the LA Gear shoes because I was part of that fad 🙂 Do they make games with joysticks any more? VCR’s were great. They were the cassette tapes for movies. And if you rented it you better rewind it before you take it or you’ll be charged.

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  7. Silk shirts (with shoulder pads), Hypercolor, Pogo balls, Best Friends necklaces, Caboodles, my little pink boom box, spiral shoelaces, bike spoke clackers!

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  8. Parachute pants? There are some things you should never share 😉

    We had an NES. I still have it, although it’s currently not working since I took it apart to fix something on it and never put it back together. I do have a knock off I bought online that plays all my old games, though. LM calls it playing “old school games.”

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    • If parachute pants was as bad it got, I’m doing good. LM’s right. NES is old school 🙂 As is the PS2 Crash wants me to set back up. You should get it put back together so he knows how hard we had it back then.

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      • Nah, PS2 isn’t old school. The first system I bought myself couldn’t possibly be that old. 😀 LM plays the games on the other thing I bought and loves it just as much as the games on our PS4 and XBOX. He’s a cool kid 😀

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      • He’s an awesome kid if he likes those games. I’m assuming if he likes the pixilated Minecraft then NES is on par or possibly a step up.

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  9. Well, Eric, we’re about the same age, so I remember a lot of the same things. I had Atari 2600 and played Pacman a lot. I also had that Movie Viewer thing. But the big thing for me were Transformers. I had the old Generation One Transformers, back when it was amazing. I also got into MASK a bit. Even younger, back when it was around 1983, I had a Speak and Spell. It’s so simple now that it seems archaic. Technology has come a long way!

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  10. Your post gave me serious nostalgia! I laughed out loud thinking about rewinding cassette tapes and using blank tapes, waiting for my song to come on the radio and then scrambling to record it so I could hear it again. Great post. #FabFridayPost

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    • Those were the good old days, weren’t they? Our kids will never understand (much like we don’t understand what it ws like for our parents whe they were kids). Though with the Fisher Price making a come back they’ll get a taste of it 🙂

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  11. Oh wow this brings back memories!!! Parachute pants :)))) All seems so dated now, but I remember thinking my Walkman was SO cool! #FabFridayPost xx

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  12. Here’s to the 80’s I say! … But the parachute pants? Really? haha I thought only Mc Hammer does it? lol! p.s. Evelyn has the dial phone toy too. Got to give the girl some 80’s vibe too. 🙂 Thank you for linking up with us on #FabFridayPost

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