I am 40, you kids had it easy.


If you were a born in the 1960’s or 1970’s, what are some things that are common now in 2010 that they did not have when you were a kid.

OK, I am a member of …Generation X. How I hate this term. Absolutely. I want to beat the person who coined this phrase. My generation fought the Gulf War. Our generation got jobs and raised children. We did not do so bad for ourselves. We are now about 40.

OK, you are 40, what is some stuff that your kids have now that we didn’t?

As a child in the 1970’s, there were only three options, ABC, NBC and CBS.

Because of this, if there was a movie out, you pretty much had to see the movie in the theater. Maybe, if the movie made enough money, it will be eventually on television, usually edited for content. If the movie sucked at the box office, you did not see it again.

There were no cell phones for the general public. There were phones, but they were prohibitivly expensive for most people and the size of bricks. If we needed to make a phone call, we had to find a pay phone or find someone who wasn’t a dick to ask if we wanted to make a local or long distance call.

There was no internet. Well, there was experimental internet, but on internet for the general population. I wish to hell I had internat back in the day. We didn’t.

I remmeber seeing the first CD player in a car. We thought it was the coolest thing. Before, we had to use tapes in cars. Tapes suck and had a low shelf life.

VCR’s. Nobody uses these things anymore. Back in the 1980’s, these were revolutionary and we could tape whatever show we wanted to see later.

We had to actually buy music. Now, I can listen to music on the internet. If there was an internet when I was in High School, I could saved several hundred dollars on music.

Keep adding on post 1960’s generation. I could say Generation X, but that term makes me puke like a kid after a punch party. The 21st Century sucks, but the tech is good. How is the tech better now or how is life different than the heady days of Reagan and Van Halen?

You think you had it bad? We had two channels, and one of them was French. :smiley:

I’ve started calling the current generation Generation Borg. Just an FYI.

Born in 1971. The major change is the Internet. It’s a life-changing technology in the First World. I’d be hard pressed to list everything it’s changed since I was a kid.

Cell phones probably come in #2, but a distant 2. It’s all about the Internet.

Even VCRs are kind of new to me from the point of view of this thread. I was already a young adult when they became popular. When I was a kid if you wanted to watch a TV show you had to watch it at the time when it was broadcast, or you didn’t get to see it.

I spent quite a few evenings sneaking out of bed at midnight to catch something on the TV in our basement.

Piffle. I had it better than today’s kids growing up in the 60s/70s, because I could run amok at will, STDs weren’t a worry, conservatism was still, at least for the time being, a silly notion held by weirdos. Drugs were fun, drinking was a joke, etc. Kids today have an awful, commercially-driven shitworld they’re growing up in. I don’t envy them one bit.

Very true. Just one example that people can’t even imagine today: When doing research about some news item, I used to have to look into the hard copy “Readers Guide to Periodical Literature” to get a (very incomplete) list of articles that discussed that subject over a certain period. Then I’d have to look up those articles individually. It was exhausting. Compare that with searching on Google today.

Only stores had air conditioning In summer the whole family laid in front of fans in the windows unable to sleep until one or two in the morning because of the heat and humidity. After a week you would kill to get some sleep.

There was no over the counter sinus medicine worth taking. You had to have a doctor’s prescription for most of what is over the counter now.

Having easy allergy relief and air conditioning are the two biggest improvements for me over my childhood.

Getting a watch as a kid in the 60’s was expensive and a milestone.

I purchased my first calculator in 1975 for about $70 and it did exponents. The display showed all the internal operations so numbers flowed across the red glowing LED display until the final answer popped up. This was cool. I still had to to use a slide rule for some science classes in 1977 because the teacher was ancient and retiring the next year. His spiel was you will have to know how to use this slide rule, because calculators will not be available in most places you will work. I thought that’s OK I’ll bring in mine.

I still have a vast collection of magazines - hobby magazines, technical journals, political journals, etc. They used to be my reference library before the internet. If I needed a circuit for something, I’d think “wait a minute… I’m pretty sure I remember a BCD counter with a buffer stage in Popular Electronics, maybe five years ago!” Then I’d pull out my box of Popular Electronics, and start leafing through issues looking for it. I spent an awful lot of time before 1990 thumbing through old magazines looking for stuff.

The lack of cellphones is a big thing, but I don’t think my generation (I’m 47) really learned to use the cell phone the way the younger generation does. I never text anybody. My cell phone sits in its little holster and rarely gets used other than to call my wife to tell her I’m on the way home, Maybe some of you older guys have managed to work into the core of your existence, but I sure haven’t. It’s just a convenience. But for people under 30, it seems like their whole social world is more connected and cell phones and texting are an integral part of their lives.

I was involved in computers very early (I had a TRS-80 model I in the 1970’s), so my entire life has been spent in front of computer screens. I was also on the internet back when it was still the domain of universities and scientific research. So I guess I’ve kind of taken that for granted.

Not all the changes have been positive. Manned spaceflight was terribly exciting back then. Our sense of optimism was much greater. We all thought we’d have flying cars and moonbases by now. Some thought we’d have giant colonies in space by 2010, housing tens of thousands of people each. Aviation was much cheaper, and much less entangled in bureaucracy and regulations. We weren’t so concerned with controlling our neighbor’s health (and they with controlling ours), and we tolerated more risk as a society.

On the other hand, clothes were really ugly, and hair styles were embarassing.

One thing we take for granted now is high-quality audio and video. Most people have big screen TVs and high-definition sets. The audio quality from even a cheap stereo or a reasonable set of computer speakers is far better than the crap most people had in the 1970’s and 1980’s.

Cars run much better now. Back in the day of carburetors, it was common for cars to be running a little rich or lean, and the fuel-air mixture was inconsistent so you’d get stumbles and vibration. Cars today run smoothly and seem to last a lot longer. And bodies are much stiffer, so cars have fewer squeaks and rattles and parts falling off them.

Having a washing machine was common, but dryers were less common. Our apartment complex when I was a kid had square aluminum rotating clothelines in front of each door, on Saturydays the whole place looked very different because of all the clothing hanging out in front of each apartment.

Ovens were generally not self-cleaning, and refrigerators were generally not frost-free. So there was always stove cleaning and refrigerator cleaning, and many commercials on TV extolled the virtues of various oven-cleaning compounds.

Another vote for “It’s tough for kids today.”

It was a lot easier to be poor, for one thing. There were just fewer ‘things’ that every one else had.

And line-dried sheets are illegal in a lot of places now.

And parents are much more likely to be au courant, with fashion and technology.

We used to be able to be kids.

Disneyland had A through E tickets, and you needed a separate ticket to ride each attraction. None of your fancy all-access passes for us!

43 and agree 100%. Kids played in the street then. My neighborhood is a ghost town after school with all the kids in their safe, structured activities <shakes fist.>

Blame Douglas Coupland.

Well, I’m only 37, but I distinctly remember seeing a PSA as a kid about STDs. Of course, back in the day, it was known as “VD.” The ad even had a little jingle: “VD! It gets around!”

Anyone remember calling the reference librarian if you needed to know a factoid? Such an idea is utterly alien in the age of the Internet.

I remember seeing a TV show that discussed the newfangled invention, the VCR. They looked so cool, but it was sad because normal people could never afford one for their house or anything. It was something used in Hollywood, or giant companies or something.

Speaking of, I still remember my dad bringing me to IBM and showing me the giant room-sized computer, and the punch cards used with it.

And I for one am not going to praise the good ol’ days too much. A lot of the “overprotective” stuff we do with kids now is due to our societal success at eliminating things that hurt and killed huge swaths of children, so that each year we wind up addressing more and more marginal risk. It is a *good *sign, helicopter parenting aside.

Number 3? Pay at the pump at gas stations. I truly feel sorry for residents of Oregon and New Jersey who cannot enjoy this modern technological marvel. Imagine having to wait for somebody else to pump your gas!

I was gonna point that out. If you (general “you”, not Rain Soaked you) haven’t read it, you should. IIRC, it was also the source of “McJob”.

For me, it was the first place I ran into the (supposedly common) dread of nuclear war in the 80s (remember Claire freaking out when Dag drops the jar of nuclear-melted glass beads?). Granted, there was The Day After and Reagan in the White House to inspire that feeling, but I was a politics-ignorant teen and our family didn’t have a TV (much less cable…imagine that now).

We’ve gone from that to terrorist attacks; hell, that’s another difference – for members of our generation, plane hijackings were pretty much gone to Cuba, not being rammed into buildings. :frowning:

The characters in “Generation X” are so ridiculous that they really can’t be used as a guide for what people of that age are like.


80 - I remember sometimes at Christmas, if Ma and Pa had had a good year, we’d get an orange in our stocking. What a treat that was!

60 - We’d buy a dozen oranges at least once a month. If Mom was feeling generous, sometimes just for special, we’d get to waste a few by squeezing them for fresh orange juice.

40 - An orange a day for Vitamin C, but I would have rather had a juice box.

20 - You want me to peel that thing? Eff that thit! Gimme a Red Bull.


What the freak are you complaining about? I was born in 1949 and we only had TV in black & white. No color. And if you wanted to change the channel you had to get up off your fat ass and go to the TV and turn the knob.

I had a transistor radio when I was in junior high (they didn’t get cute and call it middle school then). It was smallish–little bigger than an iPhone–but it only had one earplug not two.

There was no such thing as driver’s ed in high school. You wanted to drive your Dad taught you. And I LIKE living in NJ where I do not have to get out of the car in bad weather to pump the freakin’ gas and get my hands all gas smelly, thank you. Oh and when I learned to drive gas was 33¢/gal.

I was born in '77, which may or may not make be a Generation Xer, depending on who’s defining it. Regardless, I grew up with older siblings who were firmly Gen X, so that influenced things too.

Anyways, absolutely the greatest change is the internet. It has changed everything. I went back to university 5 years ago as a mature student, and even though I was less than 10 years older than my classmates, they genuinely could not remember a world without the internet, which I definitely do. Now I teach first and second year students and occasionally regale them with tales of life before internet - some of them find the idea of going to the library completely unimaginable.

Having said that, I really don’t think that kids have it either better or worse than we did, just different. Sure, the world has changed, but kids are kids - I don’t believe they really change that much.

Yeah, the library – before the Internet, it was the only place you could go if you wanted to get any information about ANYTHING, if you didn’t happen to have it in your house. I used to go there several times a week at least. Now I hardly ever go there.