things that didn’t exist when we were in middle school

scott rubin and i need a little help from you for our middle school ministry book. in the “middle school culture” chapter, we have a list of things that didn’t exist when we were in middle school (well, at least when i was in middle school, in the mid-70s). here’s what we have:

– Cell phones
– The internet (meaning, websites and buying stuff online and everything else that is so completely normal today)
– Text Messages
– IM
– Hybrid Cars
– Social Networking
– “Friends with benefits”
– “Bi-Curious”
– Cable TV
– Digital Video Recording (or TiVo)
– Mp3s and downloadable music
– DVDs
– Hi-Def
– Satellite Radio
– Xboxes and Wiis and other amazing gaming systems (“Pong” was introduced when I, Marko, was a young teen, and “Space Invaders” had just showed up in the commons of a local community college).
– Email
– Spam (the email variety – we had the stuff in the can, made of humans).
– Any kind of camera, video or still, that didn’t need developing.
– Cordless phones
– In-ear headphones
– Ringtones
– Call waiting
– iChat or other video conferencing
– snowboards and wakeboards
– rollerblades
– an African American president and a female Secretary of State
– Airport Security (and National Security levels, and Terrorist threats)
– Internet porn
– snowboards and wakeboards
– rollerblades
– Starbucks
– Viagra
– Plastic Pop Bottles
– X Games
– Energy Drinks
– Home Theaters (?)
– The Simpsons, Spongebob, American Idol and a host of other dependable TV staples
– Reality TV
– Crack Cocaine
– Minivans
– Disposable Cameras
– Disposable Contacts
– Abortion Pill
– Doppler Radar
– Space Shuttle
– USA Today
– Paintball and Airsoft
– Laser Tag
– iPods
– MTV (could be in the “started and faded away” list…)
– DNA fingerprinting
– Artificial Heart
– Fantasy Sports Teams (which are still lame)
– Cloning animals
– The SuperBowl as a kind of National Holiday (I’m reaching)
– Cutting (?)
– “Walkman” came & went — remember that!
– Suitcases with wheels on the bottom (seriously …. Nobody had em!)
– most piercings… Besides ears…
– McDonalds Playlands

this second list is things that didn’t exist when we were in middle school, then came on the scene in a major way, and have already faded:

– Fax machines
– CDs (seriously – who buys CDs anymore? They’re the betamax cartridge of this generation.)
– Video tapes
– Internet chat rooms
– Really, we could put email on this list, since teenagers don’t use email anymore, except to communicate with parents or teachers.
– Music videos played on MTV
– The Fresh Prince of Bel Air
– The Walkman (pre-mp3 cassette and CD players)

what are we missing?? would love to hear as many additional ideas as you have…

76 thoughts on “things that didn’t exist when we were in middle school”

  1. -Red Box (video rental kiosk)
    -Bobble Heads
    -Cartoons that look real
    -People from Russia (you fill in the blank country) talking smack to you via a headset while playing a video game.
    -online classes/assignments
    -school shootings (to this degree)
    -cable news coverage (24/7)
    -Brittney Spears (see above comment)
    -music subcultures/genres more diverse or diversely labled(not to this degree)
    -Kindle (downloadable books)
    -remote control fart machine!
    -ability to pull a prank, record it and share it with the world the same day
    -debit/credit cards for tweens/teens
    -didn’t have my parents getting the amount of info/communication from the school as compared to today (they get emailed report cards…can’t easily say you lost it)

  2. – laser surgery
    – right to choose (Roe vs. Wade was 1973 but it was still illegal in Canada)
    – valley girls (came and went)
    – goth
    – swearing and nudity during prime time TV
    – “cool” used to be the jocks and cheerleaders who were very active in social planning and events, now “cool” means an attitude of indifference.

  3. I don’t know what you’re talking about…I still buy cd’s, and my youth have been asking to borrow some recently.
    I also watch Fresh Prince of Bel-air…but that’s not a still…I didn’t watch it until about 2 years ago…I do believe added to that could be Saved by the Bell and Boy Meets World. Because you just can’t find those on tv anymore(unlike fresh prince which you can find on tv.)

    Other things that came and went–music on Mtv, vh1 and cmt. It’s amazing that the music tv stations don’t actually play music anymore. GAC does a pretty good job of it, but I don’t get that where I live. Also, TLC (The LEARNing Channel) wasn’t all about reality families and what not to wear. (Though I do enjoy those shows greatly!)

    And things that didn’t exist in Middle School…hmm…did we already say straighteners/flat irons?? Those are very abundant now.

  4. Nano technology, space station, Pluto was a planet,cyberknife: surgery without cutting, outpatient surgeries, pop rocks candy, nail guns, boys with pierced ears, tattoos acceptable, thongs as underwear, glow sticks/bracelets/necklaces, online shopping-groceries, clothes, guns, etc.

  5. What about parents who freak out about safety issues at school, church or anywhere else. But, don’t spend any time with their kids at home to see if they are safe.

  6. Things that did not exisit when I was in Middle school in the 70’s:
    Gastric Bypass Surgery
    Botox Injections
    Pilates Classes (we had Jazzercise in the 80’s)
    Elipical Machines
    Permanent Make up Tatoos
    Hepatitis C
    All the sexally transmitted diseases Pam Stensel tells teens about.
    Garage Door Openers—the kids were the openers!!
    “Frontline” or “Revolution” for dogs—we had a flea comb and the kids had to use it on the dog!
    Heartworm prevention for dogs/cats.
    Tarter control toothpaste
    “Glide” dental Floss…the stuff we had seemed like a piece of rope.
    Vans—shoes were generic for the most part.
    Bicycles had the banana seat…no cushioned seats.
    Disposable contact lens…only the hard ones that felt like a rock in your eye.
    Pre-cooked Christmas/Thanksgiving Dinner.
    Lithium Batteries were unheard of.
    Nurses wore the “white nurses cap” and a white dress for their uniform…male nurses were not common.
    Assisted Living Facilties….Alzheimer’s Units…now they are all over the place.
    Jet Skis

  7. wow…you are going to have a lot to sift through:)

    Unfortunately, cutting did exist in the 70’s it was just not as rampant and was hidden for so long…there is an important book on it called Cutting: Understanding and Overcoming Self-mutilation by Steven Levenkron (you may have already read it…)..that may be a good source if talking about how it has grown as a problem among students…

  8. Didn’t have:
    TV’s without knobs
    Home pro games on TV
    Wireless networking
    Photo Christmas Cards

    Come and Gone:
    Top loading VCR’s
    Parachute pants
    The Moonwalk
    Pine Tar
    Pro football use of “Stickum”
    Snuffleupagus’ anonymity
    Big Hair
    DC Talk

  9. Furbies
    TV Guide – the book at the grocery store (do they still make that?)
    Beanie Babies
    pencil fighting
    Trapper Keeper
    WWF (i know its now called the wwe)
    The word “Rad”

  10. I didn’t have time to read all the other comments, but:

    Businesses being open on major holidays.
    Backpacks with wheels.
    A computer in every home/ room.
    VHS/ Beta.
    cars with DVD players.

    Thanks for the memories!

  11. Professional pre-done shows before your movie starts in a movie theater


    Pre-lit Christmas trees

    Fake fish that hang on a wall and sing Don’t Worry Be Happy

    Paris Hilton

    Video projectors in churches (overheads, baby)

    Morgan Freeman’s career

    Emergent Village

    Guitar Hero

    Actual security at airports

  12. I skimmed so I may have missed references, but the phrase “post-9/11” along with the terror level color codes (which I still don’t understand.)

    I think Columbine brought school shootings to the forefront, kinda shaking up illusion of school safety.

    WWJD bracelets? Did Napster get a mention? I loved the glory days of Napster.

    and for the obsolete section, how about the phrase “latch key kids”? Kids going home to an empty house after school is too common to need a name.

  13. The Breakfast Club – come and gone … anyone else think it is weird that an NFL player is changing their name to an ole 80s movie character from Teen Wolf? Starring Michael J. Fox?

  14. As a “good” Baptist I never saw a woman minister in a baptist church…now I am one.

    -a female republican VP candidate
    -no FOX News (or Fox at all)
    -seat warmers in cars
    -it was OK to say Merry Christmas
    -the Christmas parade was not the Holiday parade…the same can be said for concerts, lights, trees, ect..
    -no Wal-Mart
    -no background checks on church volunteers
    -no sex-offender laws
    -no cappuccino machines at gas stations (I am not sure if there was even cappuccion, I know we didn’t have it in rural West Texas)
    -It was still OK for Christians to participate in Halloween
    -PC terminology did not exist

  15. – Microwave (oven)
    – Cordless phones (i remember my mom had the guinness record for longest chord…I think it it reached around my house twice…i used to make obstacle courses with that thing!)
    – Thong underwear (probably can’t use that, but true nonetheless)
    – political correctness (i have british friends who told me they don’t use the word “brainstorming” anymore b/c it’s offensive to people with epilepsy…are you serious? Now they use “mind shower” Really…I’m not making this stuff up.)
    – scientific calculators (only the teachers had ’em and they were really expensive)

    – mullets

  16. I don’t think I saw “turntable” anywhere or LP or Album
    Donny & Marie
    Battlestar Galactica
    and I did have a pair of Nike shoes with the red swoosh, only most of us weren’t sure if it was pronounced Nikee or just Nike (no ee sound at the end)
    and the first Price Club opened here in 1976

  17. How about year-round traveling club sports teams? I ref at the Y and there is a team of 6th graders who have been playing basketball and football together since kindergarten. Parents take their Middle School students hundreds of miles in a weekend to play in soccer tournaments! (which of course are with the pretense of recieving athletic scholarships – however, students wouldn’t need scholarships if there parents wouldn’t spend so much money on youth sports!) ok, I feel beeter now :)

  18. cutting
    parents letting boy/girlfriends live in same house and room together
    reality shows on every channel
    chips that can be put in your hand to be used for medical and finances and government clearance
    adult movie stars running for government positions

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