Remember when mobile phones used to flip open and didn’t feel like a necessity?
Growing up in the 90s was to exist in a time when the world was on the cusp of a huge change.
These days we hear of babies attempting to zoom in on printed photographs because of how accustomed to using technology like iPads this generation is from an early age.
But if you were born in the late 80s or early 90s, you’ll have spent many of your formative years tech free, only discovering the internet as a teenager. Since then, of course, the world has become tech-obsessed with nearly every aspect of our lives, from shopping for a new outfit to paying for our morning coffee, having a digital element.
So, let us hark back to a time when a laptop seemed like a clunky, slow nuisance that would probably never catch on, or when we couldn’t imagine being able to watch The Simpsons at any time other than 6pm after school on Channel 4.
That’s exactly what Reddit user DeadbyDawn93 did when asking the Reddit community to share memories of technology that they really weren’t sure about when it first hit the shelves.
They wrote: “Those who were teenagers in the 90s, what piece of technology took you a long time to adapt to during the turn of the century?” And the responses came in thick and fast.
We’ve picked out some of our favourite answers to give you a dose of nostalgia and jog your memory to what life was like before Apple Pay was a thing.
When being contactable ALL THE TIME via mobile seemed like a wild idea
It’s fair to say that nowadays we struggle to get through even an hour without looking at our phones; in fact, there even apps to help you get your screen time down. But when mobiles first came onto the scene, it actually felt unnerving that we could be reached at any time (mainly by our mums, we’ll admit).
“I didn’t want a cellphone because ‘I didn’t want to be reachable, all the time,’” says BarcodeNinja. “Well, that’s no longer allowed.”
DeathSpiral321 agreed: “I waited to get a smartphone until almost everyone else my age had one. I always used to say that I don’t need to have the internet with me all the time. Once I made the switch though, there was no looking back.”
Always being taught to hide your details online
There was a time when even putting your real moniker in your MSN name seemed like a breach of privacy, with most of us favouring the cheesiest song lyrics we could find instead. Now this couldn’t be further from the way we conduct ourselves online, with everything from dating app profiles to LinkedIn pages stating our full names, ages, work places and location.
“The concept of not hiding your identity online. ‘Always lie when asked ASL’ was drilled into me. So the idea that someone can just mosey on over to Facebook and find your personal information is wild to me,” said LuuluSoul.
When you had to wait for your favourite show to be on TV
Back in the day if you fancied watching something on TV, you were at the whim of the channel gods, which meant a lot of unsatisfying channel flipping. Come 2019 and the likes of Netflix means we can watch whatever we want, whenever we want.
“The constant availability of a seemingly endless stream of entertainment, in any form. I still can’t adapt. I should be sleeping right now,” says thebeaglebeagle.
Thinking laptops would never live up to desktops
Remember when laptops used to weigh a tonne and be so slow you’d need to load a URL practically a day in advance?
“I remember the old ones my dad would have for work, and how they really sucked compared to the desktop we had. Once they started having them in schools, I still thought they sucked. I guess I knew that they would naturally get better, but the idea that a laptop would ever be powerful enough for things like gaming, serious computing ability, or small enough to be carried conveniently? Yeah right. Not any time soon.
“Looking back, I know how dumb it was, considering people have had the same feelings for everything from electricity to the telephone. But at the time, my aversion to them and being dismissive about them really put me at a disadvantage for a few years,” says ShoddyBiscotti1.
When texting felt slower than just giving someone a call
If you’re anything like us, when you get a phone call you’ll immediately think something bad has happened. But calling used to be the easiest (and most personal) way to speak to someone. In fact, texting felt a bit pointless.
“I remember telling one of my buddies ‘why would I text you when I can just call you? It’s much faster’ and I now I never pick up a call unless it’s family or work,” says Removepower.
“Yep. Same here. I thought texting was so stupid, just a fad. How wrong I was,” agrees YeOldSpacePope.