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Things Gen Alpha is Growing Up Without

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By Sharon Oliver

Every generation can speak on the things they used during the “olden days.” Mention party-line phones and you may get laughed at. Pull out a projector and you’ll probably get some weird looks. Floppy disks could be mistaken for coasters. A rotary telephone is heavy enough to use for a weapon.

Generation Alpha -- those born from 2010 onward -- has no clue when it comes to the hardships previous generations went through. Jesting, of course. But one day, their turn will come, and their grandkids will ask, “What is a tablet?”

VHS Tapes


Once upon a time, couples and families shelled out hard-earned money at a home movie and video game rental store called Blockbuster. Oh, it was all the rage, especially on weekends. Anticipation buildup for new releases was a weekly thing. Rent a movie, grab some popcorn and you got yourself a cheap date night or family time moments. Blockbuster stores were so popular to the point that the company had employed 84,300 employees worldwide, including about 58,500 in the United States and approximately 25,800 in other countries.

Soon one day, competition came from Netflix mail-order services, Redbox automated kiosks, and poor leadership and Blockbuster was no more. Well, with the exception of one store in Bend, Oregon.

Manual Car Windows

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Gettyimages | Ingram Publishing

Motorists and car passengers used to get a little exercise while riding by cranking that little thingamajig to keep cold air out or let a cool breeze in. Yes, there was a time when most cars required your being able to roll down (or up) the windows using brute force. Okay, maybe not brute. That strength was saved for those who didn’t have power steering. That’s another story.

Sure, there are still some vehicles around with manual windows, but the average child is used to pressing that fun button. Little do they know, the cost for getting those windows fixed when they get stuck is not fun at all.


Gettyimages | Siede Preis

Beepers or pagers…how confusing this must be to a young mind. Why would anyone in their right mind need a device that only tells you that you have a message when you can have a cell phone which does so much more? To make their little brows furrow higher, tell them about the one-way pager, which meant you only received messages. There will be no replying on that thing.

Grant it, beepers were more useful to doctors but those who tried to appear cool holstered beepers on their hips as well.


Gettyimages | Erik Freeland

Before there was TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat or even Facebook there was MySpace. From 2005 to 2008, MySpace was the largest social networking site in the world and users could do a little more on MySpace as opposed to Facebook.

Myspace launched its first original Web series "Roommates” in October 2007 and added some new features in 2010. The series was intended to give users a television-like experience with the interactive benefits of the Internet. The social platform is not dead, but interest had surely waned.

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