Only a few things can make a person feel older than chatting to somebody from a younger generation about what youth is like. Even the difference of 10 years makes for completely different experiences. It’s a miracle that any children raised in the unfamiliar and nostalgic era between 1990 and 1999 even made it out alive, if we’ve all but left the parenting techniques by which we were raised because they were such poor ideas.
1. Television is now a learning device.
When I grew up, we had Ren and Stimpy to lead the way. Now, kids are thought to be learning at every turn, and that’s tiring. The best lesson I probably got from T.V. was that purple dinosaurs helped you pick up your toys, and all I learned from Hey Arnold! was how to hide your love for a football headed kid by being a bully to him. Wow Wow Wubbzy teaches children how to share and care by training social and emotional development, while together grating at the nerves of all adults that watch it. Olivia teaches children about using their imagination, and Handy Manny reinforces stereotypes about Latinos as ingenious little handymen with a bunch of tools for friends.
2. Barbie and Disney princesses are now caused for bad self-esteem.
A five-year-old told me that she didn’t like playing with Barbie because “she’s not natural,” and while I wanted to love the child for not getting into the bull Barbie brings, I wondered specifically how her mother had managed to teach her something at such a youthful age. When I was a child, Barbie and her animated sisters, the Princesses, were the stuff of story. They taught us that as long as you desired it, you could be anything or do anything or make any guy love you.
3. Pluto isn’t a planet.
Like, wtf. Nothing else needed to be said here.
4. Adult programming is now clearly for adults.
If you had awesome parents, they would let you stay up with them and watch racy comedies like Friends. Now mommy and daddy watch True Blood and Game of Thrones and other T.V. seasons where people drink and smoke and eat solitary Brussels sprouts at Thanksgiving, and I don’t think I would have been ready for that at the young age of nine and three-fifths.
5. Technology is no longer a novelty.
Once upon a time, Oregon Trail was a completely groundbreaking computer game, and we would ask our teachers to go to the “lab” at a school dedicated to sad small square Macintosh computers. My family also owned only one household computer for a long time, which sat happily and awkwardly in the dining room.
6. Music is a sad state of affairs.
Once upon a time, pop music had it great. We had ‘N Sync originally. We loved Justin Timberlake first, dammit! And the Backstreet Boys. And Savage Garden. Shaggy was thought to be “rap.” And there was Britney, dear, loving, beautiful Britney before the shaved head and Kevin Federline and every other bit of her fall. Now, kids have Justin Bieber. And one of the One Direction guys has four nipples. This is not okay.
7. Today’s children know everyone actually grows up.
Especially because Andy left Buzz and Woody and went off to school, and I am still traumatized by that movie.