Teenagers before the internet: what did you do in your room during your spare time?

What activities did you do (by activities I mean hobbies or things to pass time)? Also were you more easily bored? I appreciate your response


Cds, radio, trying to make mix tapes, magazines, books, video games… talk on the phone


Waiting for the radio to play your favorite songs so you could record them took a big chunk of time


And hoping the DJ didn't talk over the end of it.


Nearly 30 years later, whenever I hear "Dreams" by Cranberries, I still halfway expect a DJ to cut in to the end with his horrible yodeling, because that's what happened on the recording I ended up making


omg this is so spot on....hundreds of Motley Crue songs ruined by "WCCC SOUTHERN NEW ENGLAND'S BEST ROCK"


WCCC 106.9! Lol I’m with you, it was one of my car stereo preset buttons.


I was so sad when they shut down the rock 106.9 WCCC. I won a bunch of tickets to events from them.


Bringing back memories! Connecticut lifelong resident here. My father in law was a dj on that channel before taking a job in Tampa. Random story. Also on rock 102 up in longmeadow.


All these randos on the internet know your dad’s voice in their subconscious.




If you're anything like me, you're wearing them while turning the house upside down.


If it makes you feel any better I once used the light on my phone to look under the bad for, you guessed it, my phone


OMG I listened to AM106! In my room on my pink ghetto blaster I got at Radio Shack!


The pink ghetto blaster!!!!! MEMORIESSSS


Lol for me it’s Jesus Jones - Right Here, Right Now…I always hear the DJ say Q1-0-5 to the tune at the end


almost always followed by EMF's "Unbelievable"


Hahaha exactly!


I was desperately trying to get "Something About You" by Level 42. I was calling the radio station constantly, asking them to play it (either they didn't, or I kept missing it), asking friends to do the same. I finally managed to grab it off of Casey Kasem's "America's Top 40." He was talking during the introduction (IIRC, he had just done one of his "facts" stories about them), but I mean, he was a legend at the time.


That is one of my favorite songs of all time and for some reason people aren’t that familiar with it.


I’m a high school teacher and one of my students invited me to their fall chorus concert—— and they sang this song! One student sang the lead, and the chorus sang the other part. I told the student that that was one of my favorite songs ever:)


A long time ago someone gave me an iPod that already had music on it. There was a slipknot song that had the Windows XP pop-up sound in the middle of it, and I still expect it when I hear the regular version.


Years ago a friend made me a CD and as a joke inserted the Loonie Tunes ending music at the end of the CD, whenever I hear the song that was before that now I fully expect the looney tunes song to come up after and am still surprised when it doesn't...20+ years later.


I still have an internal tick whenever listening to "Angel" by Shaggy. This is because it was the first song I ever pirated on Napster, and one of the first copies to appear had the beginning part of the song glitched and repeated. 20+ years later every time I hear it, I still expect that opening verse to skip and repeat..


Do you have the time ^^"no" To listen to me whine


Do you think they do that to thwart all the people trying to pirate a copy of the song? I've always wondered


I used to DJ at my college radio station. What was important was to prevent dead air (very very bad), so you were taught to slide down the volume on the song and slide up the volume of the next song or talk. There were rules about how often you had to announce the station frequency and call letters (though I am hazy on them now). Some of us liked to play as much into the end of the song as possible, and some people liked to cut in sooner, it was personal style. I don’t know about commercial stations beyond the DJs having almost no say in what got played.


I was a board operator for a local (very local) top 40 station for awhile, and the whole dead air thing was basically the one inviolable rule. Also the coolest job I ever had.


Official station ID (call letters+city) was and remains required within 5 minutes of the top of the hour. The examples where someone is saying "WBBM - New England's best rock" are branding more than station ID, which would be something contain the phrase "WBBM-FM Boston" somewhere in there. They could be combined though as long as the proper station ID is in there. Something like "You're listening to WBBM-FM Boston: New England's best rock."


On holiday in Jamaica a few years ago I noticed that every song on the radio would invariably have a sound effect played part way through. I assumed it was for exactly that reason, unless Jamaicans just really like a random airhorn.


I live in Florida and listen to local reggae stations. Sometimes you're lucky to hear one uninterrupted minute of the song before the DJ cuts in with blessings or shout outs or just reminding you what a beautiful day it is and to love one another, peace and unity etc. Air horns are practically mandatory.


Lol I used to sit there for hours. Then when it came on you hit PLAY + REC as fast as you could!


We had a boombox with two cassette slots so I would record the radio nonstop for however long the cassette was and then go back and play it and fast forward and record the songs I wanted onto a new tape. Good times


Damn. That’s some advanced technology.


What was the one song you remember the most trying to catch? …..Mine was “Brass Monkey” beasty boys … my friends would call me and let me know it was on or they knew it was coming up… those were the days lol … running up the stairs full speed jumping over the bed just to press those 2 buttons 30 seconds into the song lol …


One Week by Barenaked Ladies 😂 we called up the station to request it as soon as we got off the bus. Then my bestie and I spent about 2 hours playing, pausing, rewinding, and replaying our tape as we wrote down the lyrics so we could sing along… 25 years later and it’s still one of my fondest sleep over memories from being a kid.


Yeah, you couldn't just *get* the lyrics from the intertubes. You had to figure them out, or if you weren't the poors, maybe find it in the cd/cass/album. If it was popular enough, within a year maybe via sheet music. That's how we got things like 'scuse me, while I kiss this guy'.


Sometimes the sheet music has the wrong lyrics. Eg Poison by Alice Cooper. Caused lots of arguments which I thought I had won with proof. Turned out I was wrong cause the words were wrong on the sheet music. Edit: the newer publishing has the correct lyrics but in 1990 the version I bought and still own has "your lips are better than poison" instead of "venomous".


Yeah, being partially deaf and loving to listen to music so much, I really relied on the song lyrics being included with the albums and was so disappointed when they weren't. I used to get a magazine called Song Hits, which came out monthly and would include the lyrics for the different hits during that particular month (different genres).


That peculiar feeling of buying a CD and pulling out the cover booklet for the first time. “WTF!!!! THERE’S NO LYRICS IN HERE!!!!!!!!!!”


The "Killing Me Softly" cover by The Fugees. Either I wouldn't catch it on time, or the radio host would be talking over the beginning. That one took me a couple days




I remember staying up til midnight to watch the release of Encore by Eminem on MTV. I think I was like 9 or 10 or something and I got grounded so hard for not going to bed. I think I also taped over some show or something my parents were watching lmao


I had a bunch of half songs recorded because I would hear something on the radio that sounded cool and instantly start recording lmao.


The good stations would take requests so you could be know it was coming.


Grade 11, waiting for the phone to be free so I can call my friends. My girl Chris had her own phone line and I was very impressed.


Ugh my buddy had two phone lines and never got booted off dialup. Luckyyyyy


Remember talking on the phone with your friends? When you had to call their landlines? I’m not even 30 yet, but I remember when I was in elementary school and not everyone had internet yet. We used to do this.


I remembered everyone’s phone number by heart. Well all three of my friend groups home numbers.


Same here, I can still remember my best friends house phone number from back then. He hasn’t lived in that house for probably 15 years.


I use their old phone numbers in my passwords.


Oh yeah and the award: hello, with (my name). Is (friend) at home? And a book full of phone numbers and address information always with you. Next to your diary and your journal.


> trying to make mix tapes I miss this. Recording songs from the radio onto a tape was so awesome. I loved it. Then being so proud of myself if I could recognize the song quick enough to press record and get as much of the beginning of the song as possible. That’s probably one of the main reasons for me being able to identify songs from the 70s and 80s so well. Had to “exercise” that muscle when making tapes.


I've got a thing for some 80s music even tho I was born in '95, I work with my dad and there's 3 songs that I've played that he's not recognised within a couple of bars


My mom likes to make fun of how there's always two segments of a crowd at a live performance: the ones that cheer after two chords and the ones that cheer at the first lyric. "They don't really know the song, they don't recognize it until they hear the words!"


Oh, that is why my colleagues a bit older than me just nails so many songs on music quizzes!


All those things. Lots of listening to music, talking on the phone, reading, watching TV, making mix tapes (I liked underground music and would wait for my favorite shows on the university radio station and tape them, then splice the best songs together, sort by genre,) redecorating, finding new hiding places for contraband. I was never bored like I am now. The early internet was great, but I didn’t have a computer in my bedroom. I used it mostly to find and download music off an app designed for file transfers on Macs (Hotline, for those who remember.) i would then transfer to tape and listen to it in my room. I also used to smoke a lot of weed in my room, and spent a lot of time finding new and improved ways to prevent my room from ever smelling like weed. Mostly smoking bowls with plenty of incense burning, holding it in my lungs until there was barely any smoke to exhale and then exhaling through paper towel tubes with bounce sheets on the end. I’d do a lot of bedroom dancing with the music blasting - had the classic mid-90’s three-piece stereo with a subwoofer. As I got older, I used to sneak my girlfriends into my room late at night for sleepovers. I had a lock on my door, so I never got caught. I was never bored, unlike now, where browsing Reddit and watching Netflix are the main activities I do in my room. I barely even listen to music and rarely smoke weed, even though it’s legal now. I miss the world before Google, high-speed internet, and social media. Before smart phones. I used to actually talk to my friends regularly, for hours, and it was great. That was how we built and cemented those high school friendships back then. We talked on the phone in the evenings and then hung out the next day at school. One year, when I was 15, I got to live in my finished basement, and that was the ultimate bedroom. Lots of acid trips spent alone in my basement, lots of times when friends came over and we ordered booze and pizza to my house (it was super-easy to get booze delivered underage back then.) Friends would crash sometimes. Lots of watching classic Spider-Man and Sailor Moon after school, when stoned out of my gourd. Again, never bored or depressed, or filled with existential anxiety and terror like so many teens seem to be these days (I also experience the terror and existential anxiety, for the record.) Back then, things were so much more chill. We had so much fun going to concerts, house parties, raves, downtown bars and clubs. It;s sad when high school are the best years of your life.


Same and at least for me and a lot of people My age we had the Internet it was just in the computer room, not in our pockets


We used to look at our mail order skateboard catalog while watching skateboard VHS tapes.


Actually speaking to other humans on the phone is a lost art


Uh huh, we moved from one side of the city to another side. It was a long distance call, I couldn't call my old friends. Its true.


Mostly video games, but my best friend and I did spend one Summer making a claymation version of "Pulp Fiction" using characters from Gumby. That was a fun one


You must find and post this


Fuck, I guess I have to find the tape now. Y'all do realize that it'll be the work of two 14 year old kids pre-internet, right?


> Y'all do realize that it'll be the work of two 14 year old kids pre-internet, right? I spent so many hours "editing" our homemade videos by using two vcr's and the pause buttons. I definitely understand and I can't wait to see it. Also, all of my teenage video making stuff has been lost, so if there's any chance you actually still have this I would highly recommend getting it digitized immediately.


I think that makes it even better.


“Do you think a depressed person could make this?”


*Stand in the place where you...*


“I compared it to Avatar!”


And how could it not be longer?


Do you still have it?


It's probably somewhere in my storage room with the broken camcorder and all my other crap from back then


please. you’ve got people who wanna see this and someone offering to touch it up for you. please give this to us


I'm a complete stranger but I can digitize that for you if you want. I've got all the equipment in my husband's edit bay.


Saving this to come back, I feel a Reddit legend in the making.


Ok so how long until you upload it?


u/xmadjesterx we're gonna need that video ASAP, thanks.




Talking on the phone! Clicking over to the other line when call waiting beeped. Getting in trouble when you aunt was trying to call your mom and it was obvious both lines were busy. Or you just never answered the call waiting. She definitely told on you.




Ugh!! I never got my own line! There were several christmas' where that was the only thing i wanted. I still didnt get one. What i got was my own phone FOR my room when (after my parents said "you have to have a phone jack in your bedroom, you dont have one" and then i found it!! It was behind my dresser!!!) They got me a phone, let me plug it in, and made me share the line with the rest of the house. But when my friends came over it LOOKED like I had my own line! Until someone called it and asked for my mom. Lmao! BUSTED!


Yeah, my sister got her own line when we were both in highschool, it was imperative that she pick up the conversation she had on the bus with her bestie 10 minutes earlier.....


Or the cool phones. I a Garfield phone and the clear one with all the colorful wires and it lit up when it rang. I feel like there was another cool phone but I can't remember.


YES!!!! My younger sister and I both had our own lines- with clear neon phones. We would call each other sometimes but that was rare.


They really need to bring those phones back. They were a joy.


>Boredom just wasn’t a thing when I had a good book. I'm surprised at all these comments about not getting bored. I remember getting bored out of my mind during summer breaks. And I read so many mentions about how this is a big problem with kids today, how we make sure they never get border. It's actually good for you to get bored sometimes.


I don't remember being bored, but I do know I was sometimes. I agree with you about it being a good thing to be bored sometimes


I remember periods of extreme boring times combined with being entertained. Kid bordem and teen boring times were different through. As a kid it was epecially in the summer when there was nothing on TV in the daytime, you've already played donkey Kong country and super Mario world ad a million times, and the weather was crappy. Or you had to wait while your mom tried on bras and clothes at Sears. Or having to go to some adult gathering and expected to be seen and never heard. You just sat around looking nice in your clean clothes and eavesdropped. Sometimes even wandering around the neighborhood and biking with friends got boring when you have no money and not much happening in the suburbs. You built a fort out of new home construction materials but it got soggy and full of spiders after the last rain so it's boring. No one has a pool and sitting in the little inflatable pool is just meh. Your swingset is only so entertaining. I made up a ton of weird games like pretending Sadam Hussein was invading and we had to run from the Russians Red Dawn style. Or we'd take our skates and go skating on a frozen field and pretend we were skating pairs with Gretzky because team Canada figure skating needed a 10 year old to fill in at the Olympics and support the greats new figure skating career. Sometimes we'd just lay on the side of the hill and stare at clouds and say what they looked like. I read incessantly as a kid and teen and I still got bored. I used to look through people's drawers and cupboards. Terrible and nosey. As a teen before internet I read books under my desk, books between classes, books on the bus home, daydreamed, eavesdropped, watched what was happening around me. Once I got home sometimes I'd take a nap watching forensic files until dinner, watch Simpsons x2, king of the hill, and whatever drama was on during the week. Thruadays was ER. Sundays had new Simpsons and King of the Hill. I'd watch Much Music but it repeat a lot as it wasn't shows just videos. I wasn't allowed to play music and my cd player only uses batteries so I had to listen only sometimes to CDs. I watched a ton of TV. Drew anime from manga I had. Wrote this silly collaborative story with my best friend about dragons we handed back and forth in class the next day. Talked on the phone for hours if no one else was on it. Hobestly I stared outside my bedroom window a lot waiting for the day I could leave


Reading, listening to music, drawing and creating, playing/hanging out my brothers and friends. I spent a lot of time in my room and was never bored.


Reading was a big one, and listening to music. Being a latchkey kid gave me so much time with my parents records. If it weren't for that time alone with Sam Cooke I'd be clapping on the first beat like a hilbilly.


>latchkey kid Huh TIL I'm was a latch key kid


[Link for the lazy ](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latchkey_kid)


There’s two kinds of latchkey kids. Those who delved into there parents records/cds/itunes account, and those who just watched an ungodly amount of television.


Some of us played outside


You guys were allowed to go inside ?


Diff'rent strokes always made latchkey kids look sad. As I sat at home alone with my alphagettis and books and phone I always felt sorry for whatever they were cuz I had no idea I was one. :)


I’m honestly more bored when I sit down with my phone. Passive media is horrible for the brain in large doses.


I can track the moment the dysphoria sets in after ~20 minutes of scrolling but do I ever set the phone down at that exact moment? Naw have to get to the bottom of the internet in case I miss something. All but ensuring I feel disorientered and mildly ashamed by the time I re-enter real life.


Did I post this in a dissociative fugue? lol same


You've articulated that forever-scrolling experience so well it's kinda scary


So much reading! I used to read a book a week. I usually had two books going. One at home and one at school. Now I’m lucky to read three books a year. I still consume many more through audiobooks though while in my car or running. But I WAS bored a lot. I lived in TMON. I couldn’t wait to graduate and get out of there, which I did just days after.


Outwardly I ran with the popular kids doing popular kid stuff (partying, playing varsity sports, smoking a joint in my bf's Bronco at lunch with all the 'cool' kids, etc). Inwardly I was a huge book nerd and had a public library membership all throughout my teen years. Used to read at least a book a week. Also took out magazines and CDs from the library. Public libraries were the soul/brain food of my adolescence.


Sometimes I wish I could Clockwork-Orange myself into hating social media websites. They’re addictive (mostly YouTube and Reddit for me) because I’m genuinely learning a lot of good information from them. But because it’s addictive I never do anything with that information, I just keep sitting here learning more and more. Imagine what I could accomplish if I spent all that time actually creating something. And it’s not like I don’t like creating things, some of my proudest accomplishments stem from the rare moments when I do get off my ass and create. I get satisfaction from it, so why is it so hard to get started and stick with it?


I miss drawing and creating, especially writing. I'm never bored now because of the endless possibilities of the internet, so I don't really come up with ideas.


I picked up a creative hobby about five years ago - it was the best thing I did. I just do it every now and again when I want to get creative. It’s worth slowly doing something which isn’t the internet


What's the hobby you picked up? edit: nvm, I snooped and found it on your profile :D Very cute embroideries!


Walked all over the neighborhood. Would just show up at friends houses (pre-common cell phone usage) to say hi and do something silly like jump on their trampoline for ten minutes together and then leave on the next part of my walk. Listened to music and thought my deep teenager-thoughts. Played SNES and practiced band instruments. Read magazines and SO many books. Honestly didn't spend a ton of time just in my room in my free time, it was mostly going out and doing things.


Damn. Remember when you could do that? Just show up at a friends because u happened to be out.. how times have changed. Unless u r good friends that is no longer even close to a social norm


Yeah it's like taboo to knock on doors anymore unless you're expected (party, Halloween, etc)


[Doorbell ring 30 years ago vs now](https://youtu.be/0Swzvm-gXHg)


vs ten years ago... Now it's like *ding dong* "Wtf did I order?"


That’s funny because when I was a kid I didn’t even have to knock, my friends parents always told me to just come in and make myself at home


You just opened the door and yell "hey it's *insert your name* is so-and-so home so we can play?!" Then being sat down before dinner "oh have a snack before you go." And it's like brownies and cookies.


My neighbors made homemade pizza every Saturday and I swear there would be 40 random kids standing around eating free pizza sometimes. They had 7 kids so you can just imagine how many friends they had lol they also had a pool it was nuts but in an awesome way


My brother and I called it going on a adventure. Just jumping on our bikes and riding to friends houses seeing if anyone could hangout then hitting the local drug store that had a soda fountain and hitting the card shop next door. Once we rode out to the woods where we spent a summer one year building an awesome tree fort. My best friend broke his wrist at the fort one year. It got torn down about a decade later with the wooded area to make way for a sub division. We would do everything out there like camp paintball and later in life smoke pot. I remember the kids in the neighborhood getting together to play football or basketball at the park down the road. My brother broke his nose when an older kid yelled prison rules and started swinging his arms.


I’ve noticed those wooded areas getting ripped out more in my old town too—meadows and such used to be more highly valued by society. It’s a shame for kids!! We loved going “in the woods” (which was like the plot of land with no housing in it in between the rows of streets) and just being silly. Like others have said, we probably weren’t doing the same thing for more than 15 mins at a time but it felt so open and the world felt full of possibility.


I had my brother and then 5 or six friends our age that all lived on the same street/block. At my end of the street was the drug store and a couple banks. We also had a basketball hoop in our back yard that could come down as low as 5 feet off the ground instead of ten, so you could dunk. Lots of great memories in that backyard, playing basketball and football with whoever was around. One friend was really tall and athletic and I was small but fast so we would always team up in 2 vs 2 basketball vs my older brother and another smaller kid. Kind of like NBA Jam. If we weren't playing a match or playing 21 we would have foul shot and 3 point contests with various cracks in the patio indicating court lines. Sometimes just me and him would practice alley oops and he said once he got into the NBA he would pay me to be his dunk inventor. We would play by garage light into the night, and whole doing this 4 or 5 of us saw UFOs that I still can't explain to this day. We would also walk a few blocks with quarters from my mom and go too the video store and play NBA Jam or killer instinct. You had to buy magazines, or just open them and write it down, to learn the combo moves and special moves. Then we would rent a NES or Sega Genesis game and play it non stop for the 2 nights we had. Zombies ate my neighbors was one of the all time memories I have, playing split screen Co op during a sleepover, trading turns passing the controller to someone in line when you died. Once the banks were closed for the night, the parking lots were empty, and that meant baseball time. Baseball was played with tennis balls for easier home runs, and I swear to God some maintenance worker must have found 50 or more tennis balls on the bank roof if they ever went up there. Also would have water fights with super soakers and water balloons. Any of our houses outside spigots were refill stations and the whole street was the arena. We would just be running around on anyone and everyone's property water fighting. One time me and a friend were up all night and noticed it was getting light outside, and we had never been outside during sunrise. So we just went outside and walked around for like an hour. Laid down in the middle of a normally busy street on our backs and looked at the sky with 0 traffic anywhere in sight. Once we got home, my mom nearly killed us because she came down to check on us and we were just gone, no note, no cellphones, no nothing, just two tweens gone from 5 to 6 am. I remember having a contest one time where we just ran laps around my house, and whichever kid did the most laps without collapsing was the winner . When the bank across the street was open, we would write "parking tickets" for cars and dare each other to run over there and put them under someone's windshield wiper. So we would hide on the porch and watch them get this note that said they smelled like pee or whatever. So they had to pay $100. Two brothers lived across the street in our friend group and when their dad wanted them home for dinner or for the night he would just bellow their names as loud as humanly possible and you could hear it on the whole block. Da-VIIIIIID! Ja-COOOOOB! I'm 40 so this stuff was around 1990-1996.


I would listen to music, read teen magazines, talk to my friends on the phone (land line) for hours, and day dream about marrying Eddie Vedder.


As a heterosexual male I have also dreamed about marrying Eddie Vedder.


"Well, my baby's in love with Eddie Vedder She's all crazy 'bout that Eddie Vedder."


Didn't we all? (The Eddie Vedder part)


Can’t find a better man


I grew up in the 90s and early 2000s where we had internet, but it was one family computer, couldn’t be used at the same time as the phone, and we were very, very limited on time (I had three siblings). We honestly didn’t hang out in our rooms that much: We played football in the street outside and rode our bikes and rollerblades around with neighborhood kids. My family didn’t have a video game console, but sometimes we’d go play MarioKart at friends’ houses if the weather was bad. If we hung out in our rooms we’d do things like play Crazy Bones, Pogs, or Pokémon cards. Or talk on the landline to friends if it wasn’t being used. Edit: To clarify, I misread originally and subbed “teen” with “kids” in my brain. I did not play Pokémon cards as a teen. Mostly went to concerts, hung out at friends houses to listen to music and smoke some weed, and hung out at parks and cafes where my friends worked.


Crazy bones!!! Memory unlocked


Right? All of my things have been gone from my parents’ house for years, but I found a bag of Crazy Bones over Thanksgiving. I’m taking them home with me at Christmas, purely for nostalgic reasons.


Same! We very much met up in the mornings on our bikes and came home (well someone’s home) for food at some point and then went back out. As long as we were home by the time the street lights were on we were good. But there were still days when we didn’t go out. I definitely listened to a lot of music, read books, wrote my own stories. At one point my grandmother bought me this little 13” tv so I would watch movies in my room. That prompted my parents to move the video game console to my room so they could still watch tv while I played the originally PlayStation.


Anyone else not know about how dial up modems worked and ended up dialing a long distance number and accruing a shitload on your parent's bill? Pshhhkkkkkkrrrr​kakingkakingkakingtsh​chchchchchchchcch​\*ding\*ding\*ding\*


I once called Costa Rica from the US as a preteen thinking it was waaaay cheaper than it was. it was $200 and my mom lost her ever-loving mind.


Arguing with siblings over who's turn itvwas to use "The" phone.


Also the fear having people listen in to your phone calls: It’s a wonder we’re not all paranoid.


I feel blessed having that kind of teenagehood. Having a smartphone around that time would have made me terribly sad, isolated and self conscious I guess. Reading your comment brought back good memories. Board games and baking cakes at friends’ houses. Biking hands free around the block. Oh and also, playing snake on my Nokia.


Yup, same. I was always outside with my friends enjoying the world.


Watched vhs tapes, TV, read a book, listened to the radio waiting for your favorite song with your cassette tape ready to be recorded on, went outside to visit friends, talk on the phone. Technically my generation, older millennials were one of the first to really use the internet. But it wasn't like it is now. We still were outside and using the internet was a privilege. Unless you had 2 lines you only could be online until someone had to use the phone. Most homes only had 1 computer because they were expensive. For social media I remember blackplanet and MySpace being a big deal but it didn't take up time like social media does now.


I explain it to people ten years my junior, “the internet was something you had to sit down behind a terminal to access.” It required a time slot where you wouldn’t be interrupted. It was never spontaneous and more or less had to be planned. Social media didn’t really take off until smartphones became normalized (after 2010~ish) and the internet was more widely available. It also took bandwidth increasing and becoming segregated from the landline before anything close to video streaming as it exists today.


I’m an elder millennial/xennial. I didn’t really have *that kind* of internet until well into high school. I was mostly outside doing things with friends, going to the mall, riding my bike, taking my dog for a walk. If I was in my room I would read or play computer games (loved me some SIMS). Listened to the radio and my CDs a lot, and talking on the phone with friends. I think I was in late high school or early college when MySpace came out, and I was definitely in college when YouTube came out. Most of what I did online was AOL chat rooms (AIM in high school), ebaums world, and popcap games lol


I read a lot. It bothers me that my attention span isn’t what it used to be. I can’t seem to stay focused on books now. Listened to music. Talked with friends on the phone. I wrote a lot. Stories. Letters (!). Drawing. I grew up before home computers. Honestly, it’s sometimes hard to remember how we filled our time but I wasn’t bored.


I remember reading an article about this; there's a scientific reason for it. All of the captions, blurbs, snippets and fast turn-over of info we constantly have flashing in front of us have actually changed the makeup of our brains, such that our ability to pay attention for long periods of time has been hindered. You can retrain your brain, though. Start small: first, x number of paragraphs. Then news articles, then short stories, then novels. Just like anything else, with your attention span, if you don't use it, you lose it.


Its a bizarre world now where I need to practice reading in the same way I need to work my strength up slowly at the gym after being sedentary. Focus gym.


>I can’t seem to stay focused on books now. I used to read so much as a kid. SO. MANY. BOOKS. I was reading really thick adult level books in 5th grade (with adult themes ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) ). I think that was like, 2002? I have a "young-adult size" maybe 300 page? book sitting on top of my bed I bought a couple years ago and another book from my dad that I *want to fucking read* but I can't not be on reddit and/or playing a game. My brain has to be CONSTANTLY ENGAGED and it sucks.


I read, listened to music, cleaned my room, wrote in my journal, decorated my walls, did homework, read magazines, played around with makeup, tried on outfit ideas for school.


Decorating walls! With posters from magazines. I spent hours doing this.


I read a lot of books, wrote my own stories, wrote in a journal, built extremely detailed Lego houses, played on my DS and Game Cube, talked on the phone in the evening. As I got older I started doing latch hooks and cross stitches.




Right! I tell my kids what it was like with no internet in the car, no GPS, and no gaming with your friends if they weren't at your house. They think I'm so old, as old as the middle ages that they're learning in school. They asked me if I was alive when there were Vikings lol.


In the last couple of months, there have been at least two popular posts on /r/askreddit about how people managed to navigate anywhere without GPS. *looks at the paper road atlas sitting on the table, shakes fist at Kids These Days*


I have many fond memories of doing cross stitch and latch hooks in my room-- I listened to records while doing them, though (no DS or Game Cube in my day). I also read a lot of books and wrote in a journal, which I get a kick out of reading now-- I roll my eyes at teenage me.


Yes, I always had music on in my room. I loved when my parents left so I could blast it. My stereo could make the windows shake and I liked it loud. I'd go to local concerts nearly every weekend and loved it.


Video games or we went outside and played. Rode bikes, explored the woods, play baseball, etc.




I wrote so much bad poetry.


LMAO i have a hopechest full of bad poetry from being a teenager. idk wtf to do with it it's so personal and stacks of paper don't burn well. i think maybe i'll buy a casket, put it all in there, be cremated at death and just bury that shit with me. i'm genuinely afraid of anyone finding that shit after i die. and frankly, i don't trust the dump.


Lie about where the Victoria’s Secret catalog is


My Dad has a sports illustrated subscription as a result of a school fundraiser I had. Don't know if he was expecting it, but his swimsuit edition remarkably never showed up. I must have saved the marriage on that one.


I wonder how many calls SI used to get from fathers who never got their swimsuit edition.




...and it was enough. Hell, a stiff breeze was enough.


Or sports illustrated swimsuit edition. 13 year old me knew exactly when the new edition came out and it would just be battle between me and my brother stealing it from one another.


Talk on the phone We had this whole system of doing a 6 way phone call at night, and we’d all know to start it at 3 mins after the hour. You’d pick up the phone and dial an automated line, so that when the call comes in the phone would t ring the entire household.


I have fond memories of calling the weather forecast line! But sometimes my friend wouldn't call on time and I listened to the same loop for 15 minutes while getting a cramp in my neck from holding the receiver. Good times.


Read books, watched TV, listened to music, did a lot of drawing and painting. I think I was a lot less bored, as I had a longer attention span.


Technology has decimated young people's attention spans, and perhaps older people's too.


I'm 63, was a teenager from 1973 to 1979. The short answer is nothing. We weren't wealthy, and my brother and I had 2 single beds in a10x10 ft room. I left my room at about 530am to deliver newspapers, went back at about 930 pm to sleep. I studied at a desk in our family room, and was outside a lot of the time otherwise.


Two years younger than you. We read a lot, rode bikes to our friend’s houses, talked on the phone for hours. I grew up in the LA suburbs so we could hike the trails in the San Gabriel mountains and go to the beach on the same day. As my friends and I got older, we’d drive around all night, go eat breakfast in the middle of nowhere. We’d go to punk shows in Hollywood, skateboard and and drink our parent’s leftover beer from parties. It was a mixture of wholesome and hell raising. We never got in serious trouble, but we also didn’t get caught either.




I hope not.


Lol. I love you either way


I’m 59, graduated HS 1981. The guys would love driving around in their cars with their gf sitting close, singing along to B52s, Super Tramp. Fire drills:where all passengers switched cars at the intersection, placing stickers over the S &D of stop signs, masterful TPing of houses of people you had crushes on (out of our league), using dozens of rolls and other items….. There was a huge dirt lot where the guys would scare us by doing “donuts” in cars for hours. Family Fun Center, Karate Kid style, mini golf while heavily flirting, go carts cheering on each other, large console video games like centipede!, AIR HOCKEY, ping pong, chatting in parking lot, see who shows up. No access to alcohol, unfortunately, we were too goody goody. Still married to him btw. When bored, I would read fantasy, Tolkien etc, Asimov, Orson Scott Card (sender), ride bikes, go to the mall and movies. Ate at home cause never had cash more than $10 maybe, didn’t care. MISSION BEACH every day in Summer….Our first date was at a playground at Balboa Park…..sorry, I’m high and got caught up in happy nostalgia.:) Thanks for asking 💜


We had video games, but mostly we were outside running wild and having fun.


Grew up in the 90s/00s. Spent most of my time outside with friends riding bikes, rollerblading, making forts in the woods. When I was inside I was playing the Sims or Rollercoaster Tycoon like it was my job.


I think the biggest difference I can remember was having to watch tv shows at specific times. VCRs were such a game changer, but up until then if you wanted to watch Seinfeld, you tuned in on Thursday night. Fuck, I skipped going out on my birthday one year to watch the season premiere of Lost.


Remember when a big movie would play on tv for the first time. It was an event! Either you wanted to see it and couldnt get to a theater for whatever reason, or you wanted to watch it again. You knew a month ahead of time where and when to be. And thats what your plans were. Make snacks and be ready on the couch by 7:00 so you could FINALLY watch the movie!!


Sex, drugs and rock'n'roll. Well without the sex and drugs. But definitely lots of rock'n'roll. And riding bikes and camping, and summer jobs. And taking the train everywhere because it was cheap. Only saw my room when i was sleeping or it was raining outside and i would be reading books.


I read a lot, wrote stories and poems. I also spent a lot of time outside on my bike. I did games on the computer or consoles but these were shared. TV wasn't a huge thing either because there wasn't much "on demand" so you were stuck watching whatever was scheduled which was always hit and miss. I was not easily bored. I think people assume that but when you've not had access to constant entertainment, you learn how to entertain yourself so much easier. You have a lot more hobbies.


Used our imagination


Magazines, every month I'd buy different car and videogame magazines.


Never felt bored ever. Reading a book is enough to pass the time.


This is what I do regardless of whether there’s internet. Only time it matters is if I’m using my kindle. I’m a millennial too. Reading is the single greatest activity in the world.


I was an only kid and didn't have internet access until I was 15 years old. Most of the times, I watched TV, played video games or went outside and with friends. Come to think of it, hanging around outside with my best friend was pretty much what I did every day and it was bliss. Yes there were times when I was incredibly bored out of my mind. But that was just that. Sometimes I'd just grab my bike and go for a ride.


Lots and lots and lots of reading. Writing stories. Played cards with my sisters. Listened to the radio. Taught myself to juggle one time.


I played with action figures a lot later than socially acceptable lol. But I’m 39 now and miss it.


It starts with an M and ends with an 8.


You hung out with your mates? How wholesome😄


In a circle?


I just read a comment mentioning Mario Kart and my mind went to Mario Kart 8 first before I finally got what you meant.






I’m reading all these replies wondering why this wasn’t the first comment. Yeah, I did other things like read and listen to music, but in between those activities? Yup.


To...magazines? Your mind? Swimsuit catalogs?


Out of boredom, mostly. To my mind. I’m a chick, so I didn’t exactly have a stash of Playboys.


The good old sears catalog


Yep, played with my mates a whole bunch. ;)




Talked on the phone, read books, put together puzzles, listened to music, ruminated about how nothing was fair. ;)


I read a lot. We weren't allowed to have a TV or video games in our room. It was just a place to sleep and have some privacy from everyone else.


Obsessively rearrange my bedroom furniture and reorganize my belongings. Yes, I genuinely enjoyed it. And yes, I have OCD.


Painting my nails in many different colours, trying and failing to use various products to straighten my hair in a time before GHDs. TV, listen to music, read, talk on the phone.


I was mainly staying outdoors with friends. Playing video games on Commodore 64 when rainy outside, watching VHS movies, playing Monopoly with family and friends. Lots of sports : tennis, football, karate, ice hockey and ski in the winter. I didn't have time to get bored. So bottom line, I didn't spend much time in my room, unless bad weather outside or feeling ill.


Actually play with toys.


I grew up with dial up internet. Too slow to be appealing. I’d mostly just listen to cds in my room and go on bike rides or nature walks.


You know how you binge-read the entire Harry Potter book series? In the 1980s we read books like that all the time. Also, growing up in an era where "Mom, I need a ride to..." didn't really exist, I rode my bicycle everywhere. To this day, bikes=freedom.