Things Students Experienced in the 80s That Would Confuse Today's Youth

The way teenagers are brought up today is very different from the era in which their parents and grandparents grew up. Angry Birds and iPhones have replaced Red Rover and grass stains in today's culture. However, even though Lisa Frank's folders and other remnants of a good education in the 1980s may not have a place in today's schools, they will continue to exist in Generation X memories. 

There are various activities that '80s students were familiar with that would be just plain weird to today's youth. The world has evolved over the years and what was common then would be out of place now. Keep your eyes fixed to learn at little about these changes.

Things 80s Students Did That Are Incomparable to Those of Today's Kids

Here is a list of the activities experienced by the 1980s students that aren't relatable to students now:

Reading Actual Books to Get Information

In the '80s, students of all levels including college had to read books for information. Essay research was a struggle with no Wikipedia and no way to learn anything "online." If a student needed to write an essay, they had to find their way to the library and perhaps find an encyclopedia. Students now can quickly get information online and use the Fixgerald plagiarism checker with percentage to check for uniqueness. This is unlike the time when books held all the information you needed. You were either going to find what you needed to learn or you were going to beat yourself up trying to figure out where it was being kept. Also, there was no luxury of a copy-and-paste function nor access to a delete button. Instead, most students wrote with a good old ink pen and paper.

Walking to School

Since parents can be penalized with "unsubstantiated neglect" for allowing their children to walk alone, fewer children are walking home from school. Back in the '80s and beyond, walking home was the joy of going to school. Students would team up with a group of friends and walk together. But now, that seems almost out of place. Most parents now drive their children to school if the bus isn't an option. Other parents even make their their children studying in the vehicle leaving almost no time for fun or those side adventures kids had walking home from school.

Listening to Music on a Walkman

The ability to listen to music on the go is now commonplace, thanks to smartphones. However, using a Walkman for the first time in the 1980s was akin to experiencing nothing less than a revolution. Now, today's youths can't relate as they can listen to music while traveling the world. They could do it in privacy without imposing their personal musical preferences on the public. Also in the old days, to listen to music you either turned on the radio or played records or cassettes that were purchased from a record store. Now, students download music online.

Watching Movies and Television

The agony of going to a video store, trying to find the video you've been waiting weeks to see. Then, realize with horror that it's only available on VHS, and your family only has a Betamax player. Today's children do not know that anguish. 

Media now is just a click away and the thrill of waiting all week for Saturday morning cartoons is something that today's youths will never know. They will never know the joy of that day when, for just five short hours, the TV was devoted entirely to kids and they had it all to themselves.

Playing Outside

For starters, there was no social media at the time. If you wanted to make friends, the best way to do it was to head outside. Students found pick-up games of football or baseball with the other kids. They also rode bikes or skateboards together. Consistently, there were groups of children playing outside. Parents didn't appear overly concerned about where kids were as long as they came home in time for supper. Now, youths are just stuck up with their phones and their eyes staring at a screen all day.


People tend to be too quick to write off the 1980s. They think of the decade as being synonymous with synth-pop and parachute pants. It's as if everyone alive during that decade acted as if they were extras in an MTV music video. But for those who came of age during the 1980s, it had a more profound sense of import. The music that people now consider "cheesy" can still make '80s kids shed a tear. The milestones of the decade were some of the most important landmarks in the history of the entire planet. But even the everyday things children of the 1980s experienced are now taken for granted by today's youth.

Author's Bio

Michael Stoddard

Michael is a content writer and a journalist. Having experienced what life is then and now, he expresses the changes over decades through his writings. Michael's essays meet the standard because of his writing style.

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