A Teenager’s Life Before The Rise of Smartphones

Smartphones are so essential that even children and teenagers own one. With its features, parents can easily entertain them during trips, contact them while outdoors, and track their location for safety. It’s also a young person’s way to stay connected with their peers and keep special memories with them. Smartphones are undoubtedly an item that’s always in their hand, but it’s saddening that kids and teenagers didn’t get to experience life before smartphones. Due to modern technology, there’s a huge difference between a teenager’s life in this generation and decades ago.

Photo: Pexels/Mart Production

That’s why, when older adults see their children have too much screen time, they can’t help but tell their stories that made their teenage life more interesting, even without smartphones. They can say that it’s a life with many memorable experiences and real interactions. Going outdoors was everything for them — life isn’t all about watching various content from a screen. It’s fun to reminisce about those days, which you’ll read in the comment section of an AskReddit post. AutomaticAnt5635 wrote, “What did teenagers used to do in their free time before smartphones were a thing?” Every answer will give you a fresh wave of nostalgia, and here are a few of those comments.

Photo: Pexels/Brett Sayles

Jump Bikes on Ramps

Teenagers were more active outdoors, as they engaged in physical activities such as bike rides. Almost everyone had bikes of their own — driving through the streets and joining others in a park. The trend back then was to jump bikes over ramps. BlueJeansBreezy wrote, “Jump bikes over sketchy homemade ramps.” Teenagers who can do tricks on seemingly dangerous ramps are deemed cool. Different friend groups bond over the activity and would sometimes share tips on how to properly execute a routine. Also, sharing an interest in jumping bikes can build new friendships.

Listening to Cassette Tapes

Today’s teenagers can easily listen to their choice of songs through music platforms such as Spotify. But way back then, you had to listen to songs from cassette tapes and LP records. Friends would hang out in a room to listen and react to their favorite artists. It’s also exciting to visit record stores to purchase a cassette tape or discover new artists as you browse each aisle. Although albums still exist these days, teenagers prefer listening to their phones through earphones. Most of them won’t understand the excitement of finally buying your copy so you can listen to it every day or add the tape to a collection.

Photo: Pexels/cottonbro studio

Reading Books

Physical copies of books are still available in stores, but you can now opt for an eBook. As long as you have a smartphone or your Kindle, you can read the book wherever you go. Back in the day, you had to search the bookstore nearby to find the novel you always wanted to read. Teenagers could also borrow one from the library and finish it so they could quickly return it. Finishing a good book was an achievement for a lot of teenagers back then. Friends could also exchange books and personally share each other’s opinions. Sometimes they’d talk over the phone that was hooked to the wall.

Photo: Pexels/cottonbro studio

Hang Out with Friends

Although teenagers these days still do hang out, the only difference is that back then, they’d spend time together almost every day after school. Since smartphones can help you quickly talk to your friends, you don’t find the need to hang out with them everyday. Before smartphones, friend groups would go to each other’s houses, hang out in the mall, engage in recreational activities, or spend time in parks. They always have a fixed schedule after classes and meet at the same place daily. Redditors have shared how they all hung out before, which will make you miss your old circle of friends.

Drive Around

Teenagers like to travel from one place to another as long as they have a car and a designated driver. Friends would go on road trips and listen to a cassette tape back in the day to sing their favorite songs — making a simple bond a special one. They’d end up in forests, malls, beaches, and most of the time in parking lots. As long as you have a good topic to talk about, stopovers won’t be boring even without a smartphone. Your friend group’s bond becomes closer with each daily hang out — talking about the future, especially life after high school. They’d engage in fun and deep conversation until their curfew or even when the sun was already up.

Photo: Pexels/Mizuno K

Teenage life might sound boring to the current generation, but they won’t know how liberating those days were. People lived their youth with wonderful experiences — whether they came from a good or bad memory. So better put your smartphone away for a while and go outdoors with your friends for a change. See the beach, explore forests, ride bikes again, or buy a physical copy of a book. You’ll discover many things, especially about yourself if you choose to live in the now rather than watching from your phone screen. Read the whole discussion in the comment section below OP’s post. And if you are from the generation before smartphones, you’ll definitely enjoy the conversation. Reminisce about how simple life was back then — you might find yourself sharing your days of youth as well.

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