19 Things ‘90′s Kids Remember But Our Kids Can’t Identify

Talk to your kid about “Frozen” or Facebook, and they follow right along. But try bringing up just about anything you experienced as a kid in the 90s, and today’s children give you a blank stare. Remember how you had to actually dial up the Internet? Or go all the way to Tower Records to buy your favorite songs on CD? Our kid can’t even dream of how hard we had it way back in the day.
For a peek at just how much of your own childhood has fallen to the wayside, check out this list of things every ‘90s kid experienced that would leave our kids scratching their heads. Some are no doubt for better, others for worse, but all in all they’re testament to how much things change from one generation to the next! We really miss #6, but #16? Good riddance!

The Sound of Dial-up Internet


Ah, that creaky, static-y sound of a 14K modem. It would drive kids bonkers today, but back then it was our ticket to the World Wide Web – not to mention a ton of fights with your siblings trying to kick each other offline so they could call someone. Those were the days!
Image via YouTube

The Flying Toasters Screensaver


There’s just something about chrome kitchen appliances fluttering across your computer screen alongside buttered toast: They made those book reports you were typing up seem a bit more bearable.
Image via Microsoft Windows

Blowing Into Nintendo Game Cartridges


If your video game wasn’t loading, all you had to do was huff and puff into that cartridge, re-insert, and presto! Zelda is on. While the jury is out on whether this trick made any difference, it doesn’t matter to our kids.
Image © iStock/SimmiSimons

Disposable Cameras


In an era of camera phones, it’s pretty strange to think you’ll ever be without a camera. But back in the 90s your parents didn’t want you carting the family’s one (expensive) camera on the field trip, which is why disposable cameras were the perfect fill-in.
Image via sergo iv/shutterstock

CD Singles


There was a time when nothing beat playing hooky from school and heading to Tower Records to buy a CD single of your favorite song – not to mention unwrapping the plastic packaging (which was notoriously hard to take off). Now, kids just download songs off iTunes – which is a whole easier, but a whole lot less exciting, too.
Image via Diego Cervo/shutterstock

Koosh Balls


These shaggy rubber balls were invented by a dad who wanted something easy for his 5- and 8-year-old kids to hold and throw. They felt so ah-mazing, they quickly caught on – nothing kids have today comes close.
Image via K Tempest Bradford/flickr

Finding a Movie at Blockbuster


There was a certain thrill and frustration to trolling those aisles with the kids, hoping to find the perfect Friday night family movie – not to mention panic when you realize you’ve racked up a week’s worth of late fees.
Image © iStock.com/RiverNorthPhotography

MapQuesting Your Family Road Trip


At the time, it was a huge step forward in technology and it sure beat squinting at maps … but then again, accessing GPS on your phone today beats squinting at MapQuest directions.
Image via Gil C/shutterstock

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Fax Machines


In the 90s, these gadgets were staples in any school or pediatrician’s office, and it sure beat snail mailing your kids’ immunization records and other paperwork where it needed to go. Today, faxes probably serve as doorsteps at best; emailing scans or PDFs is so much easier.
Image via Voronin76/shutterstock

Getting Your Favorite Songs on HitClips


First introduced at McDonald’s playing *NSYNC and Britney Spears, HitClips quickly caught on from there. Fine, so they could only play about a minute lo-fi stereo, but they were awesome at the time … that is, before iPods eclipsed them out of the market.
Image via Tiger Electronics

Using *69 To Find Out Who Called


Because back in the 90s, we didn’t have cellphones that I.D.’d every caller. Instead, people would call and hang up … and what if it was your high school crush who lost his nerve? *69 allowed you call him right back!
Image via Sergii Korolko/shutterstock



Yup, slamming “slammers” into a pile of discs and keeping those that fell face up was low-tech entertainment at its best. Who needed Angry Birds when you had Pogs as an outlet?
Image via James Burk/flickr

Recording TV shows with a VCR


In the days before DVR, you actually had to insert a clunky tape into a machine to make sure you get to see Dawson’s Creek … and risk accidentally recording over your sister’s dance recital (oops).
Image © iStock.com/ScantyNebula

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Crying Over a Dead Tamagotchi Pet


Because no matter how much you feed and walk those digital critters, sooner or later their time is up.
Image via j bozzie/flickr

AIM Instant Messenger “Away Messages”


Whether it was an announcement like “Nature is calling and I’m answering” or “My dog ate my away message,” you couldn’t leave your computer without warning everyone back in the day. Now your kids’ take their Facebook messaging everywhere they go on their phones.
Image via AOL

Lugging Around Portable CD Players


Sure, it was nice to have your music on the go, but try putting that in your pocket while you walk, or in an armband for a jog! It was just not happening. Aside from the size, any tiny jiggle would make your tunes skip. So while we may wax nostalgic about certain things from our past, this isn’t one we necessarily need our kids to experience, is it?
Image via smoxx/shutterstock

Music Clubs


Long before MP3s made downloading music a breeze, pretty much every kid begged their Mom and Dad to let them join a music club. After all, those Columbia ads for “10 CDs for one penny!” were just too tempting to ignore … that is, until you were knee-deep in monthly automatic mail orders of Sir Mix-a-Lot CDs you didn’t want.
Image via Columbia House

One Hour Photo Shops


Yup, there was a time when, rather than seeing your photos instantly on your phone, you had to drop the film off and sometimes wait days – days! – to see your best friend’s funny faces. One Hour Photo shops cut that wait down to a merciful 60 minutes. It may seem like light years today, but back then it was great!
Image via Rob/Flickr

Bag Phones


Before cell phones became ubiquitous, there were bag phones: Think of them as cell phones so large, you needed a sack to carry them around. Fine, it was portable, but barely … and texting your friends or surfing the web weren’t even imaginable.
Image via Master of Telxons/shutterstock

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