Yo Gen Z'ers, I’m really happy for you, and I'mma let you finish, but Gen Y'ers had the best childhood of all time. But for serious, Gen Y'ers aced it. The sad truth is that childhood as we know it is gone. Kids these days come out of the womb wired for Bluetooth and scanning for WiFi, with fiber optics coursing through their bodies. Before they can walk, they can swipe, and before they can speak, they can tap the app store. The more parents use flat screens as pacifiers, the more their children can’t deal. They literally cannot function without devices that didn’t even exist when we were kids.
While we were busy figuring out how to entertain ourselves on road trips and in our TV-less bedrooms and on play dates in the woods, kids today are plugged in, downloading their way to adulthood. They’re totally uninterested in how necessary and magical a real, scrappy childhood is. While Gen Z'ers might all be running startups by the time they hit middle school, us '90s kids know how to interact and entertain ourselves without an Internet connection. (Good luck surviving in an electricity-less apocalypse, Gen Z'ers!) And maybe it took us longer to become adults, but we certainly lived the hell out of childhood.
With scrapes on our knees, Giga Pets in our pockets, and colored rubber bands on our braces, we did childhood right. Here are 17 things that the iKids are missing out on (explaining why they’re stunted, and will never be as cool and quirky as we are).
We Blew Up Our Own Furniture
You Gen 'Zers and your thousand-piece IKEA purchases. You'll never know the triumph of creating a couch out of air!
We Picked Out Movies In Person
And we actually watched those movies, rather than scroll through Netflix until we gave up and fell asleep.
We Had Algorithms To Determine Our Futures
With only four options, life was much, much simpler.
We Got Our Hands Dirty With Squishy, Delightful (Maybe Poisonous?) Gak
If you squeezed it just right, it made a perfect farting noise.
We Had The OG InDesign.
A few shapes and a paint can were all we needed.
We Were Sea Monkey Breeders
Though we still might not know what they are, they enriched our windowsills and lives greatly.
We Could See In 3D
No stupid glasses necessary.
We Got To Play Poker Without Rules Or Money Or Stakes
Low risk, high reward.
We Brought The Stars Inside
You Gen Y'ers and your crazy projectors. These adhesive stars could enchant even the most water-damaged ceiling.
We Ran Beanie Baby Farms
Collecting gave us purpose. Sharing gave us pleasure.
We Had A Comical Platform For Misplaced Foul Language
Mad Libs made road trips highly tolerable in a way a smart phone never could.
We Could DIY Anything
You got time? Klutz books have got directions to make literally anything by hand. (Good luck surviving the zombie apocalypse, Gen Z.)
We Got To Wear These Dope Wildlife-Friendly Shirts
We might not have known what WWF stood for, but we were so down with these shirts.
We Could Kill An Hour With A Piece Of String
Jacob's ladder was so boss!
We Learned About Business And Marketing
A fuzzy, a shiny, and a scratch and sniff for one oily. It's only fair.
We Made Our Own Jewelry
Because we were crafty and patient.
We Could Play Therapist/Psychic With A Piece Of Folded Paper
Blue. Seven. You're going to have three children. Instead of letting One Direction and Chipotle run our lives, we were the masters of our own fates.
Images: Mikael Wiman, Nina Helmer, JEM, Eliot Phillips, Sheila Sund, Michael Sheehan, Mixy Lorenzo, Jade, Michael Lehet, Burkazoid, Eva, MIKI Yoshihito, Wei Tchou, Dominic Alves, Jamie, Devon Hollahan /Flickr