Many shared that a large part of their day consisted of just hanging out with friends and family.
Almost everyone spends most of their time online these days, and the younger you are, the more likely you are to spend most of your day in front of a screen. With how indispensable the internet has become, it’s easy to forget that there was a time when it just… didn’t exist. But if you’re of a certain age, you remember those pre-internet days all too well—and perhaps very fondly, despite how crazy it may seem to many younger people today. One Reddit user u/_starosta13_ asked, “Pre-internet teenagers: What did you do in your room in your free time? What activities did you do (by this I mean hobbies or things to pass the time)? Did you get bored more easily?”
Over 9,000 Redditors have signed up to talk about their childhood whims and fancies. Here are some of the best answers we came across:
1. Boredom was never an option:
“Reading. A lot. Watching movies. Talking on the phone. For hours at a time. That means I was at home in my room. Which wasn’t much… I was out at the mall with my friends or hanging out at their houses, going to the movies, arcades, etc. I was never bored. Even when I was home alone in my room. When I had a good book, boredom just wasn’t a thing.” — u/we-feed-the-fire
2. Mixtapes and Muscles:
“I miss this. Recording songs from the radio to tape was so amazing. I loved it. Then I was so proud of myself when I could recognize the song fast enough to hit record and get as much of the beginning of the song as possible.” . This is probably one of the main reasons I was able to identify songs from the 70s and 80s so well. I had to ‘exercise’ that muscle when I made tapes.” — u/-Demented Avenger-
3. We love “Pulp Fiction”
“Mostly video games, but my best friend and I spent one summer making a clay version of ‘Pulp Fiction’ using characters from Gumby. That was fun.” —u/xmadjesterx
4. Hello, it’s me
“It’s hard to overemphasize to the new generations how much time we’ve spent on the phone. Hours. HOURS at a time. So much so that the phone companies started offering ‘teenage lines’ which were just the second phone line installed in your home. so the guy all he didn’t pick up the phone for a day, no one could call you.” — u/vespidaevulgaris
5. The boy with the key
“Reading was a big event and listening to music. It gave me so much time with my parents’ records as a little kid. If it wasn’t for that alone time with Sam Cooke, I would have clapped like a hillbilly on the first beat.” — u/Academic_Snow_7680
“I wrote in my journal, decorated my walls, did homework, read magazines, played with makeup and tried on outfit ideas for school.” — u/lips of fingers
8. Tom from Myspace?
“I watched videotapes, TV, read a book, listened to the radio and waited for my favorite song with a tape ready to record, went out to see friends, talked on the phone.
Technically my generation, the older millennials were some of the first to really use the internet. But it wasn’t like now. We were still outside and using the internet was a privilege. If you didn’t have 2 lines, you could only be online until someone had to use the phone. Most households only had 1 computer because they were expensive. In terms of social media, I remember blackplanet and MySpace being a big deal, but it didn’t take the time that social media does now.” — u/jolietia
9. Do you remember outside?
“I read books/comics, listened to music, watched TV, smoked weed, played video games, played with the computer (Commodore 64, Apple II), talked on the phone or CB. I think I was bored at times like any teenager. Plus there was this thing called ‘the outdoors.’ They would ride their bikes, hang out at 7-11, Arcade or Bowling Alley (which was basically an arcade) or even the pool hall (they had slot machines) back then.” — u/Fearless747
10. Crackhead Barbies:
“When I was a teenager, I had the Internet, but I did other things. I did this:
-Draw (digital and traditional) I did it a lot.
-Listen to music (I had a non-standard mp3 player that was stolen a very long time ago.) I used to do this very often.
-Played single player games on Windows Vista laptop and tablet and phone.
-I went to my sister’s house to play ‘C****head Barbies’ (which is just us playing Barbies, but I make my Barbie act like she’s f***ed and do weird shit. Sometimes He filmed (I would like how we do it on my old flip phone. I still have the phone and the videos, but they get corrupted when I try to transfer them to other devices.)
I think I did other things, but I can’t remember them off the top of my head.” — u/Present_Half_9398
11. Just bask in the atmosphere:
“He was on the phone, driving around and going shopping/eating, walking, video games, athletic activities like shooting hoops or throwing a football, hanging out and hoping you could get along, watching movies or going to the movies, sneaking up on someone at the pool or to the hot tub. Later we had some fun with drinking games. Also, most of the time we were all involved in some extracurricular activity that we could practice together with our teammates. We weren’t bored because we finally found something to do.” — u/Temporary-Dot4952
12. Always organize:
“Endlessly talking on the phone, endlessly arguing over whose turn it is to talk, putting up poster walls with magazine clippings, toys, drawing, puzzles, rewinding all your tapes you just listened to, fixing your clothes.” , makeup practice, putting lip sync shoes on pillows/pads. Ah, stickers! In sticker books! Organizing all your stickers.” — u/Sorry_Engineer_
13. Neanderthal style
“I remember doing stupid shit like some friends and I’d go into the woods and pick a tree and pick up rocks and see who could bounce the biggest piece of bark from about 30 feet away and we’d argue about what strength.” Ranger was the best or something and not be bored for hours. I feel sorry for anyone who has never experienced anything like this.” — u/ZacharyShade
14. Deep listening
“One of my favorite things was what I called ‘deep listening’ to albums. Either a band I liked released something, or I’d just pick one of my favourites, smoke a good joint, put on my headphones and lie down bed and absorb the whole album from start to finish. Every note, every word. I loved that. Even though I would write songs and poetry, practice my singing (screaming) as an aspiring frontman, read a lot of books (all Stephen King as a teenager) , playing video games, talking to girls on the phone for hours. If I’m being completely honest, I mourn the loss of the world before the internet. Before our attention and data became a commodity.” — u/Live_For_A_Living
15. Go to page 394
“You know how you read the whole ‘Harry Potter’ series? In the ’80s, we read those books all the time. We also grew up in a time where, ‘Mom, I need a ride to…’ They didn’t really exist, I rode my bike everywhere. To this day, bikes = freedom.” — u/CapnScrunch