Blockbuster video, the '90s, pagers

Blockbuster video sign and pagers.

In “Back to the Future,” teenager Marty McFly goes back in time 30 years, from 1985 to 1955. But what if the film were made today and he went back from 2021 to 1991? I think the culture shock of a modern teenager going from a post-to-pre internet world would be much greater than the one that Marty experienced in the original film.

Would a kid from today be able to dial a payphone? Read a clock with actual hands? Look up directions on a Thomas Guide map?

A lot has changed since the dawn of the new millennium so a group of Redditors marked the changes in a post entitled: “What is something that was used heavily in the year 2000, but it's almost never used today?”

Here are 17 of the best posts.


1.

"Geocities, neopets, livejournal, kazaa," — PapaWeir

GeoCities is definitely one of those things that was everywhere and then suddenly disappeared. At its peak, GeoCities hosted millions of websites, but its popularity declined after it was purchased by Yahoo and web hosting became cheaper.

2.

"If you had a big screen TV it was probably a ridiculously thick rear projection TV," — ParoxysmAttack

Before plasma TVs came around, if you had a big screen it was also a seriously deep-screen TV.

3.

"Re-writable CDs. I used to burn so many mix cds after downloading from napster, bearshare, limewire, frostwire," — Shittinwithmykitten

Napster created a music revolution overnight, but where were we going to save all of that new, stolen music? Rewriteable CDs were all the rage before the iPod came along and put 'em in the palm of your hand.

4.

"Payphones. (Yes I know payphones still exist. Also, I am now very aware payphones are free in Australia, thank you for informing me.)" — Adreeisadyno

Kids these days have never had to walk five blocks to make a phone call.

5.

"Dial-Up.

weeeeeeeee WOOOOOO_OOOOOO_
E E E E E E E EEEEEeeeeee
eee
eee URRRRRRRRRBEDULUDOLEDULUDOLEEPEEPEEP
R R R R R R R R R R R R RUMMMMMMMMMMMM,"
— Martini_Man_

Those of us who lived in the dial-up era will never, ever forget the whizzing, belching sound that we had to sit through to experience the World Wide Web.

7.

"Indoor smoking. My young-ish kids marvel at the fact that people used to sit in restaurants and smoke," — TurdFergDSF

People used to smoke on airplanes, in hospitals, at restaurants ... pretty much everywhere.

8.

"Blockbuster card," — larrythetarry

It wasn't Friday night in the '90s without a two-liter of Pepsi, a large pizza and a stack of VHS tapes from Blockbuster video.

9.

"VCRs," — Murtamatt

Want to feel old? In 2016, Funai, which manufacturers the VCRs in China for Sanyo, announced it would produce its final VHS player, making it the last one ever produced.

10.


"AOL," — PacMan8112

"Welcome!" "You've got mail!" AOL was the leading internet provider in the late '90s but soon lost its relevance after merging with Time Warner, Inc. in 2000.

11.

"Calculators; teachers kept saying 'you won’t have one with you all the time,' look who’s stupid now?! Both of us…" — elika007

A calculator was a luxury item in the '80s. In the '90s, a Texas Instruments graphing calculator could cost you $90. Now, it's all on your phone along with a million other apps.

12.

"A/S/L" — Smart_North_3374

Anyone who's a proud member of Gen X knows the "age/sex/location" question. It's the first thing you asked in an AOL chatroom when people used to try to hook up online. Of course, nobody answered it honestly, but that was half the fun.

13.

​"JNCO jeans," — ccherry124

In the 2000s everyone wore skinny jeans. But in the 1990s, people wore the baggiest jeans possible. The award for baggiest jeans goes to JNCO, the manufacturers of raver pants that fit two legs and a few kilos worth of MDMA.

14.

"Pagers," — skaote

The pager was one of the most popular status symbols of the '90s. Nothing said "cool" like having a pager that was constantly blowing up. (Does anyone under the age of 40 know what it means for a pager to "blow up"?)

15.

"'Wanna Cyber?'" God . We were awful," — icanbeafrick

Back in the AOL days, the closest you could come to getting it on while online was through cyber sex. There were no pictures or video so you just exchanged dirty messages until the other person logged off. The typical cyber session began with, "What are you wearing?"

16.

"Limp Bizkit," — Timmah_1984

Unfortunately, they're back.

17.

"Travel agencies. Now I can do everything on my phone," — whatdoineedaname4

If you can belive it, before there was Priceline, there was a person sitting at a desk with a rotary phone who booked your seven-day trip to Europe.

Connections Academy

Wylee Mitchell is a senior at Nevada Connections Academy who started a t-shirt company to raise awareness for mental health.

True

Teens of today live in a totally different world than the one their parents grew up in. Not only do young people have access to technologies that previous generations barely dreamed of, but they're also constantly bombarded with information from the news and media.

Today’s youth are also living through a pandemic that has created an extra layer of difficulty to an already challenging age—and it has taken a toll on their mental health.

According to Mental Health America, nearly 14% of youths ages 12 to 17 experienced a major depressive episode in the past year. In a September 2020 survey of high schoolers by Active Minds, nearly 75% of respondents reported an increase in stress, anxiety, sadness and isolation during the first six months of the pandemic. And in a Pearson and Connections Academy survey of US parents, 66% said their child felt anxious or depressed during the pandemic.

However, the pandemic has only exacerbated youth mental health issues that were already happening before COVID-19.

“Many people associate our current mental health crisis with the pandemic,” says Morgan Champion, the head of counseling services for Connections Academy Schools. “In fact, the youth mental health crisis was alarming and on the rise before the pandemic. Today, the alarm continues.”

Mental Health America reports that most people who take the organization’s online mental health screening test are under 18. According to the American Psychiatric Association, about 50% of cases of mental illness begin by age 14, and the tendency to develop depression and bipolar disorder nearly doubles from age 13 to age 18.

Such statistics demand attention and action, which is why experts say destigmatizing mental health and talking about it is so important.

“Today we see more people talking about mental health openly—in a way that is more akin to physical health,” says Champion. She adds that mental health support for young people is being more widely promoted, and kids and teens have greater access to resources, from their school counselors to support organizations.

Parents are encouraging this support too. More than two-thirds of American parents believe children should be introduced to wellness and mental health awareness in primary or middle school, according to a new Global Learner Survey from Pearson. Since early intervention is key to helping young people manage their mental health, these changes are positive developments.

In addition, more and more people in the public eye are sharing their personal mental health experiences as well, which can help inspire young people to open up and seek out the help they need.

“Many celebrities and influencers have come forward with their mental health stories, which can normalize the conversation, and is helpful for younger generations to understand that they are not alone,” says Champion.

That’s one reason Connections Academy is hosting a series of virtual Emotional Fitness talks with Olympic athletes who are alums of the virtual school during Mental Health Awareness Month. These talks are free, open to the public and include relatable topics such as success and failure, leadership, empowerment and authenticity. For instance, on May 18, Olympic women’s ice hockey player Lyndsey Fry will speak on finding your own style of confidence, and on May 25, Olympic figure skater Karen Chen will share advice for keeping calm under pressure.

Family support plays a huge role as well. While the pandemic has been challenging in and of itself, it has actually helped families identify mental health struggles as they’ve spent more time together.

“Parents gained greater insight into their child’s behavior and moods, how they interact with peers and teachers,” says Champion. “For many parents this was eye-opening and revealed the need to focus on mental health.”

It’s not always easy to tell if a teen is dealing with normal emotional ups and downs or if they need extra help, but there are some warning signs caregivers can watch for.

“Being attuned to your child’s mood, affect, school performance, and relationships with friends or significant others can help you gauge whether you are dealing with teenage normalcy or something bigger,” Champion says. Depending on a child’s age, parents should be looking for the following signs, which may be co-occurring:

  • Perpetual depressed mood
  • Rocky friend relationships
  • Spending a lot of time alone and refusing to participate in daily activities
  • Too much or not enough sleep
  • Not eating a regular diet
  • Intense fear or anxiety
  • Drug or alcohol use
  • Suicidal ideation (talking about being a burden or giving away possessions) or plans

“You know your child best. If you are unsure if your child is having a rough time or if there is something more serious going on, it is best to reach out to a counselor or doctor to be sure,” says Champion. “Always err on the side of caution.”

If it appears a student does need help, what next? Talking to a school counselor can be a good first step, since they are easily accessible and free to visit.

“Just getting students to talk about their struggles with a trusted adult is huge,” says Champion. “When I meet with students and/or their families, I work with them to help identify the issues they are facing. I listen and recommend next steps, such as referring families to mental health resources in their local areas.”

Just as parents would take their child to a doctor for a sprained ankle, they shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help if a child is struggling mentally or emotionally. Parents also need to realize that they may not be able to help them on their own, no matter how much love and support they have to offer.

“That is a hard concept to accept when parents can feel solely responsible for their child’s welfare and well-being,” says Champion. “The adage still stands—it takes a village to raise a child. Be sure you are surrounding yourself and your child with a great support system to help tackle life’s many challenges.”

That village can include everyone from close family to local community members to public figures. Helping young people learn to manage their mental health is a gift we can all contribute to, one that will serve them for a lifetime.

Join athletes, Connections Academy and Upworthy for candid discussions on mental health during Mental Health Awareness Month. Learn more and find resources here.

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