Almost everyone these days lives most of their lives online, and the younger you are, the more likely you are to spend your daily screen time.
With the Internet so central to life, it’s easy to forget that it once simply didn’t exist.
But as cruel as it may seem to many young people these days, if you’re of a certain age, you remember those pre-internet days well—probably too fondly.
Reddit users look back on life as teenagers before the internet.
On Reddit, people dug up those halcyon analog days in a thread in the NoStupidQuestions subReddit, in which someone asked what “teenagers before the Internet” did in their spare time.
The answers are a real trip down memory lane for many of us and a reminder that we all lived in a very different world.
Mixtapes… many mixes…
The most popular answers to the question of what teenagers did before the Internet had to do with music — specifically the rough construction of mixtapes.
Today, people slap on a Spotify playlist for nothing, but did it have to be done before the Internet? Well, that’s a *project* – especially if you have to tape songs from the radio, which many redditors remember doing.
As one person said, “It took a long time to record your favorite songs on the radio, waiting to be recorded.” It certainly came after a long process of “constantly calling the radio station and playing their favorite song.”
When you actually got ready to record the song, you ran into another problem: “I hope the DJ didn’t talk at the end of it.”
In fact, many Redditors have deeply embedded memories of DJs doing just that — erasing their mixtape records over the track with their jabber. As one described:
“Almost 30 years later, whenever I hear The Cranberries’ ‘Dreams,’ I still expect a DJ to stop halfway through with his terrible yodeling, because that’s what happened to the record I just finished,” recalled one user.
When malls were the place to be.
Redditors called out many of the activities they engaged in before the Internet, and a visit to their local mall topped many people’s lists.
Nowadays we tend to think of malls as… well played — places we go only as a last resort when we can’t find what we need on Amazon or countless other online shopping platforms.
But for pre-internet kids, there were malls The A place to see and be seen. Tons of Redditors have fond memories of wandering America’s shopping centers, blowing their allowances on cookies at the food court.
One redditor recalled that if they weren’t at home, they’d be “out at the mall with friends” talking on the phone for “hours.”
It was important when it was MTV.
Music videos are now exclusive to the Internet, with artists maintaining their own YouTube video playlists for fans. But there was a time when shows like “Catfish” and “Teen Mom” were a twinkle in anyone’s eye, when MTV as a channel didn’t just play music videos.
Related stories from Your Tango:
Like the whole mixtape debacle, pre-internet kids spent hours in front of their televisions waiting for their favorite videos to play. As one redditor recalled:
“I stayed up until midnight watching Eminem’s encore release on MTV. I think I was 9 or 10 or something, and I was pushed really hard for not going to bed. I think I recorded some shows or what my parents were watching”
Yes, the steamy drama that ensues when you accidentally tape your mom’s “Murder She Wrote” episodes with the latest installment of MTV’s “Total Demand Live”…kids these days don’t understand!
John Sandholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.