Older generations share what they did for fun before the internet age and it’s a nostalgic trip.
Many shared that a large part of their day involved simply hanging out outside with their friends and family.
Today, almost everyone spends most of their time online, and the younger you are, the more time you spend in front of a screen. Given how indispensable the Internet has become, it’s easy to forget that there was a period when it simply…didn’t exist. But if you’re of a certain age, you remember those pre-Internet days very well, and possibly very warmly, despite how crazy that may seem to many young people today. A Reddit user you/_mayor13_ asked: “Teens before the Internet: What did you do in your room during your free time? What activities did you do (by activities I mean hobbies or things to pass the time)? Did you get bored more easily?”
Over 9,000 Reddit users chimed in to discuss their childhood whims and fantasies. Here are some of the best answers we found:
1. Boredom was never an option:
“Reading. A lot. Watching movies. Talking on the phone. For hours at a time. That’s assuming I was home in my room. Which wasn’t much… I was at the mall with friends or hanging out at their houses, going to the movies, arcades, etc. I was never bored. Even when I was home alone in my room. Boredom just wasn’t a thing when I had a good book.” — you/we-feed-the-fire
2. Mixed tapes and muscles:
“I miss this. Recording songs from the radio onto tape was amazing. I loved it. Then to be so proud of myself if I could recognize the song fast enough to hit record and get as much of the beginning of the song as possible.” . That’s probably one of the main reasons why I can identify songs from the ’70s and ’80s so well. I had to ‘exercise’ that muscle by making tapes.” — u/-DementedAvenger-
3. We love “Pulp Fiction”
“Mostly video games, but my best friend and I spent a summer making a claymation version of ‘Pulp Fiction’ using Gumby characters. That was fun.” —u/xmadjesterx
4. Hello, it’s me
“It’s hard to overemphasize to younger generations how much time we spend on the phone. Hours. HOURS at a time. So much so that phone companies started offering ‘teen lines,’ which were just second phone lines installed in your home. so the kid wouldn’t be hogging the phone all day and no one could call you.” — u/vespidaevulgaris
5. The boy with the latchkey
“Reading was very important, and listening to music. Being a latchkey kid gave me a lot of time with my parents’ records. If it wasn’t for that alone time with Sam Cooke, I’d be clapping at the first half like nonsense.” — u/Academic_Snow_7680
“I wrote in my journal, decorated my walls, did homework, read magazines, played with makeup, and tried outfit ideas for school.” — u/fingers on the lips
8. Tom from Myspace?
“I watched vhs tapes, tv, read a book, listened to the radio waiting for your favorite song with your cassette tape ready to record, went out to visit friends, talked on the phone.
Technically, my generation, the older millennials, were some of the first to really use the internet. But it wasn’t like now. We were still outside and using the internet was a privilege. Unless you had 2 lines, you could only be online until someone had to use the phone. Most households only had 1 computer because they were expensive. As for social media, I remember Blackplanet and MySpace being a big deal, but it wasn’t as time consuming as social media is now.” — you/jolietia
9. Do you remember outside?
“I read books/comics, listened to music, watched TV, smoked weed, played video games, played on my computer (Commodore 64, Apple II), talked on the phone or CB. I guess sometimes I got bored like any teenager.” Also, there was a thing called ‘outside’. Riding bikes, hanging out at 7-11, Arcade or Bowling Alley (which was basically an arcade) or even the pool hall (they had pinball machines) back in the day.” — u/without fear747
10. Crackhead Barbies:
“When I was a teenager, I had the internet, but I also did other things. This is what I did:
-Drawing (digital and traditional) I did this A LOT.
-Listen to music (I had an mp3 player from another brand that was stolen a long time ago). He did this very often.
-I played single player games on my Windows Vista laptop and on my tablet and phone.
-Went to my sister’s house to play a game of ‘Knock-headed Barbies’ (which is just us playing Barbies, but I make my Barbie act like she’s in s*** and do weird things. Sometimes I We (I would film doing this on my old flip phone. I still have the phone and the videos, but they get corrupted when trying to transfer them to other devices.)
I think I did other things too, but I can’t remember them in my head.” — u/Present_Half_9398
11. Just enjoying the vibe:
“Talking on the phone, driving and shopping/eating out, walking, playing video games, doing sports activities like playing basketball or soccer, hanging out hoping to make out, watching movies or going to the movies, sneaking in someone’s pool or hot tub. Later we partied a bit with drinking games. We were also almost all involved in some kind of extracurricular activity that we could practice together with our teammates. We weren’t bored because eventually we found something to do.” . — u/Temporary-Dot4952
12. Always be organized:
“Talking on the phone endlessly, arguing endlessly about whose turn it was to talk on the phone, putting up posters on the walls with magazine clippings, toys, pictures, puzzles, rewinding all the tapes you just heard, altering your clothes, practicing the makeup, putting on lip sync shoes for your pillows/stuff stuff. Oh stickers! In sticker books! Organizing all your stickers.” — u/Sorry_Engineer_
13. Neanderthal style
“I remember doing stupid things like a couple of friends and going to the woods and picking a tree, picking up rocks, and seeing who could knock down the biggest piece of bark from about 30 feet away, all the while arguing about whose power. Ranger was the best or something like that and he wasn’t bored at all for hours. I feel bad for everyone who never got to experience that kind of thing.” — u/Zachary Shade
14. Listen deeply
“One of my favorite things was what I called ‘deep listening’ to albums. Either a band I liked was releasing something or I’d just pick one of my favorites, smoke a good joint, put on headphones, lay in bed and absorb the whole album from beginning to end. Every note, every word. I loved it. Also, even though I wrote songs and poetry, practiced my singing (screams) like an aspiring leader, read tons of books (all Stephen King as a teenager ), playing video games, talking on the phone for hours with girls. If I’m being completely honest, I’m sorry for the loss of the world before the internet. Before our attention and data became a commodity.” — u/Live_For_A_Living
15. Turn to page 394
“You know how you binge read the entire ‘Harry Potter’ series of books? In the 1980s, we read books like that all the time. Also, growing up in an era where ‘Mom, I need you to take me to.’ ..’ It doesn’t really exist, I was riding my bike everywhere. To this day, bikes = freedom.” — u/CapnScrunch