15 Things the Younger Generations Are Missing Out On According to People Who Grew Up Without the Internet

Growing up without the internet is vastly different from the experience that young people have today. In an online discussion, people who grew up without the internet shared the things they believe the younger generation is missing out on; the following are the top fifteen.

1. Having Your Mistakes Forgotten

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There was once a time when children could make mistakes, be silly, or be embarrassed without the fear that it would be forever memorialized on the internet. One woman said, “I did silly stuff when I was a kid, and luckily, there weren't any cameras (either security cameras or phones) to capture it and publish it online for eternity to judge.”

2. Discussing What Was on TV the Night Before

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Streaming platforms, reaction videos, and movie commentary content creators have changed how people consume media. People used to bond over talking about what they'd watched on television the night before. Someone said, “Everyone was talking about a TV program the next day.” Another person agreed, “It gave a shared social continuity.” 

3. Listening to Someone's Phone Call

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One woman said, “Listening in on someone's phone call secretly because you have more than one phone in the house.” Landlines were a staple in every household before everyone had their cell phone. If your house had multiple phones, you could easily eavesdrop on a family member's conversation. 

4. Playing Outside with Friends

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Do kids play outside anymore? Before the internet, children would spend most of their free time playing outside with their friends, going from one backyard to the next until it was time for dinner. One man commented, “Playing outside with friends every day until the street lights came on (because you had to go home when they did). Life was good, man.”

5. Knowing How to Be Idle

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We are constantly connected and on the go lately, people appreciated quiet times much more before the internet. One man said, “These days, everything is immediate. I miss the quiet times, even when we just sat around, bored on a rainy day because there was nothing to do. You had to create your own entertainment and use your imagination, and sometimes you just had to sit and be idle.” 

6. Spontaneity

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Spontaneity was also a lot more common in the past. One parent said, “When I was a kid if you wanted to get together with friends, you got on the phone and set it up. Or you went to their house and knocked on the door. My teen daughters assure me that calling someone on the phone is now considered rude and arriving at someone's house unannounced is a war crime.”

7. Riding Bikes

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Before the internet, almost every kid owned a bike and would spend hours riding with their friends. One woman said, “I don't see kids on bikes anymore. It was great to have the freedom to take off and cruise the neighborhood or go down to the local store. Then you would spend half a day building a ramp and jumping it with your friends until your parents called you in for dinner.” 

8. Physically Talking to People

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Have you been out recently, and everyone around is on their phone? Before the internet, people would socialize a lot more. Someone said, “Remember going to lunch at work, and people would talk to each other. Now it's just dead silence, and they all stare at their phones.” 

9. Reading the News

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A certain enjoyment came from the simplicity of reading a newspaper. Most news outlets have focused on their virtual presence rather than physical papers. One man shared, “Reading the newspaper to find out what's going on. Getting the Sunday morning paper to see all of the sales ads. Check the sports page to see what's happening that wasn't mentioned on the nightly news.” 

10. Movie Nights Before Streaming

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Kids these days will never know the excitement of racing down to the Blockbuster with friends. Movie nights before streaming were also more exciting. Someone said, “Going to Blockbuster with your friends to pick out a movie, and then 7/11 to pick up snacks.” 

11. Having a Longer Attention Span 

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Everything has become so fast-paced these days that our attention spans have suffered. One man said, “Nowadays, people get frustrated (myself included) at having to watch a 15-second advert on a YouTube video because you can't skip it after just 5 seconds. Back in my day, you had to watch about five minutes of adverts every 15 minutes for a 1 hour TV show, and you couldn't skip, pause, or rewind, but it never bothered us.” 

12. Going Off the Grid

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Going off-grid was more common and much easier in the past. An anonymous commenter shared, “Not being plugged into all of the world's happenings ALL the time. Bad things happened before the internet. But you weren't constantly drowning in articles and reaction videos.” 

13. Spending All Day With Friends

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Children would spend hours with friends or at a friend's house daily. One man said, “Disappearing for hours on end with my parents not knowing or even really caring where I was. We'd eat breakfast, then leave. Eat lunch at our friend's house, or come home for it. Then leave again and not be home until dinner.” Nowadays, kids all head home and chat with each other online.

14. Magazine Subscriptions

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Before the internet, people would read magazines for fun. One woman said, “Opening a never-before-read new issue with brand-new perfume samples, unanswered quizzes, and games! My folks used to let my siblings and I subscribe to several new magazines every few months.” With so many magazines going digital, it's rare to see a physical magazine anymore.

15. The Magic and the Mystery

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There was a certain magic and mystery that existed before the internet. One man reminisced, “The video game had a cheat code; if you get it right, they will come and steal you away. Riding your bikes in the night air, cool and free. The summer was yours. The streetlights told you dinner was ready, and yes, your friends could come over. Santa Claus was real, for sure 100% real, and his magic is verifiable. The cookies would disappear, and the sleigh would carry gifts for all good girls and boys. You explored the world with yourself, touch, taste, and body. You didn't know until you lived it. And you lived it all.”

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