Many shared that a big part of their day involved just hanging outdoors with their friends and family.
Nowadays, almost everyone spends most of their time online, and the younger you are, the more of your day you probably spend in front of a screen. Given how indispensable the internet has become, it's easy to forget that there was a period when it just... didn't exist. But if you're of a certain age, you remember those pre-internet days all too well—and possibly very warmly, despite how crazy it may seem to many younger people today. One Reddit user u/_mayora13_ asked: "Teenagers before the internet: What did you do in your room during your spare time? What activities did you do (by activities, I mean hobbies or things to pass time)? Were you more easily bored?"
Over 9,000 Redditors chimed in to talk about their childhood whims and fancies. Here are some of the best responses we came across:
"Read. A lot. Watched movies. Talked on the phone. For hours at a time. That’s assuming I was home in my room. Which wasn’t a lot... I was out at the mall with friends, or hanging out at their houses, going to movies, arcades etc. I was never bored. Even when I was at home alone in my room. Boredom just wasn’t a thing when I had a good book." — u/we-feed-the-fire
"I miss this. Recording songs from the radio onto a tape was so awesome. I loved it. Then being so proud of myself if I could recognize the song quick enough to press record and get as much of the beginning of the song as possible. That’s probably one of the main reasons for me being able to identify songs from the 70s and 80s so well. Had to 'exercise' that muscle when making tapes." — u/-DementedAvenger-
"Mostly video games, but my best friend and I did spend one Summer making a claymation version of 'Pulp Fiction' using characters from Gumby. That was a fun one." —u/xmadjesterx
"It's hard to over-emphasize to newer generations just how much time we spent yakking on the phone. Hours. HOURS at a time. So much so that phone companies started offering 'teen lines' which were just second phone lines installed in your home so the kid wasn't hogging the phone all day any nobody could call you." — u/vespidaevulgaris
"Reading was a big one, and listening to music. Being a latchkey kid gave me so much time with my parents' records. If it weren't for that time alone with Sam Cooke I'd be clapping on the first beat like a hilbilly." — u/Academic_Snow_7680
"I wrote in my journal, decorated my walls, did homework, read magazines, played around with makeup, and tried on outfit ideas for school." — u/fingersonlips
"Watched vhs tapes, TV, read a book, listened to the radio waiting for your favorite song with your cassette tape ready to be recorded on, went outside to visit friends, talk on the phone.
Technically my generation, older millennials were one of the first to really use the internet. But it wasn't like it is now. We still were outside and using the internet was a privilege. Unless you had 2 lines you only could be online until someone had to use the phone. Most homes only had 1 computer because they were expensive. For social media I remember blackplanet and MySpace being a big deal but it didn't take up time like social media does now." — u/jolietia
"Read books/comics, listened to music, watched TV, smoked weed, played video games, played with my computer (Commodore 64, Apple II), talked on the phone or the CB. I suppose I got bored at times like any teenager. Plus there was this thing called 'outside.' Rode bikes, hung out at the 7-11, Arcade or Bowling Alley (which was basically an arcade) or even the pool hall (they had pinball machines) back in the day." — u/Fearless747
"When I was a teenager, I had internet, but did other things on the side too. Here's what I did:
-Draw (digital and traditional) I did this a LOT.
-Listen to music (Had an offbrand mp3 player that got stolen a very long time ago.) I did this very often.
-Played single player games on my Windows Vista laptop and on my tablet and phone.
-Went to my sister's house to play a game of 'C****head Barbies' (Which is just us playing Barbies, but I make my Barbie act like she's on m*** and do weird sh*t. Sometimes I'd film us doing this on my old flip phone. I still have the phone and videos, but they get corrupted when attemps are made to transfer them to other devices.)
I think I did other things as well, but don't remember them off the top of my head." — u/Present_Half_9398
"Talked on the phone, drove around and went shopping/out to eat, walked around, video games, athletic activities such as shoot some hoops or throwing a football around, hanging out hoping to make out, watching movies or going to the movies, sneaking into someone's pool or hot tub. Later partied a bit with drinking games. We were also mostly all involved in some sort of extracurricular activity that we might practice together with our teammates. We were not bored because we eventually found something to do." — u/Temporary-Dot4952
"Talking on the phone endlessly, endlessly arguing over whose turn it was to talk on the phone, putting up poster walls of magazine cutouts, toys, drawing, puzzles, rewinding all of your tapes that you've just listened to, modding your clothing, practicing makeup, putting on lip synching shoes for your pillows/stuffies. Oh, stickers! In sticker books! Arranging all of your stickers." — u/Sorry_Engineer_
"I remember doing dumb sh*t like a couple friends and I would go to the woods and choose a tree, pick up rocks, and see who could knock the biggest chunk of bark off from like 30 feet away, while arguing about what Power Ranger was the best or something and not be bored at all for hours. I feel bad for everyone who never got to experience that kind of thing." — u/ZacharyShade
"One of my favorite things was what I called 'deep listening' to albums. Either a band I liked would drop something or I’d just pick one of my favs, smoke a nice joint, put on some headphones, lay back on the bed and absorb the whole album start to finish. Every note, every word. Loved that. Also though I would write songs and poetry, practice my singing (screaming) as an aspiring front man, read tons of books (everything Stephen King as a teen), play video games, talk on the phone for hours with girls. 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
"You know how you binge-read the entire 'Harry Potter' book series? In the 1980s we read books like that all the time. Also, growing up in an era where 'Mom, I need a ride to...' didn't really exist, I rode my bicycle everywhere. To this day, bikes = freedom." — u/CapnScrunch