23 things today's children will never really know about.

The other day my 7 year old handed me a petrified dog poo and asked me what it was. For real. Sure, I was disgusted. Sure, I almost lost my lunch but I was also suddenly aware that the fossilised dog turd in my hand (yes, I am as disturbed by this as you are) was something my child had not seen before because let’s face it, generally, in this day and age, people pick up after their dogs immediately and it just doesn’t get to go white.

It got me to thinking. What else will my children just never experience or know, because it’s either been eradicated or phased out. I present you my findings:

1. Encyclopaedias

Remember when the only way to research and write your school assignment was to consult your local World Book Encyclopaedia? Now our children have the answer to everything at their very fingertips thanks to the internet and Google.

2. Toilet carpet

The genius who came up with this handy home decor inspiration clearly didn’t have boys. Thank god my children will never know the rankness of this creation.


3. Pagers

Yeah, so even I didn’t have a pager. It felt like only doctors and the President on the United States actually ever had one of these. Our kids certainly aren’t going to recognise one of these in a lineup.

4. VHS tapes or a VCR

I am strangely nostalgic for VCRs. EVEN though you always had to sit and muck around with the tracking until the fuzzy lines went away and sure, from time to time it ate the tape, they were kind of amazing for their time. They epitomise my childhood and I for one, am sad that my children won’t be using them.

5. Memorising phone numbers

Put it this way, if I lose my phone tomorrow, I’m screwed. I remember my husband’s number, my own number and that’s it. Yet as a kid, I knew my best friends number off my heart, so too my crush’s.

6. Wearing a watch

I haven’t worn a watch in three years. I rarely meet an adult now who does. Yet as a kid, the Swatch was coveted, so too the digital Casio. Now, well now we all look at our phones if we need to know the time. Our kids will never know the sweetness of a watch that not only tells the time, but can also be used as a calculator.

7. Having to wait for their favourite song to come on to radio.

Because you know, they can just download it. I remember sitting for HOURS listening to Barry Bissell’s Take 40 for ‘We Built This City’ to come on so I could tape it and then write it down word for word. My kids will just Google the lyrics.

8. Winding down a car window

9. Learning how to spell hard words.

Most of the time when I don’t actually know how to spell a word, I just type as close as I think and hope to God that Spellcheck or Autocorrect will help me out. I’m unsure what I did in this situation as a kid. Probably just looked foolish. Our kids have no excuses.

10. Sucking on Fags

HOLD UP. I’m talking about the lolly Fags. Remember those? The little cigarette lollies we as children innocently pretended to smoke. The ones that had red tips so that they replicated our parent’s actual cigarettes? Yeah. So now they’re called ‘Fads’ and there is no red tip and certainly no connection between the old name and its implications.

11. Saving information onto a floppy disk.

Remember trying to save something and it took like 7 floppy disks to get it all on there? Or do you, like me, reminisce more about moving that metal bit back and forth when you had nothing better to do? Either way, our kids wouldn’t know what one either looked like or was used for.


12. A phone booth

Sure these still exist but it will be a rare day that a child born today will use one. They’ll be like those solar phones you see on lonely stretches of highways. Kids will pass them and pray they never have to actually use one. 

13. Smoking on a plane. Or in a nightclub. Or hopefully anywhere.

My first boss smoked beside me for over 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, for 5 years. My father smoked beside me for 11 years. I inhaled 2nd hand smoke at every weekend BBQ I went to with my parents, every restaurant we went to, every nightclub I was in throughout my late teens/early twenties. Our kids will simply not be exposed to the same level of cigarette smoke unless they partake themselves. And this can only be a good thing.

14. Physically getting up to change the TV channel.

There was a time kids, when we actually had to get up off our arses and change the dial (yes dial) on the TV. Now, if the remote control isn’t within reaching distance, a royal commission is almost launched into its whereabouts. Heaven forbid if someone has to get up and change the channel on the actual television.

15. Flammable suits (and hair).

16. The awesomeness of a Commodore 64 or the Commodore Vic 20. Or it’s sweet, sweet accessory, the Tape Drive.

17. Unsatisfactory photographs.

Growing up, due to the whole, process the prints later thing, we never quite knew what our photos were going to turn out like. If you had a mother like mine who was incapable of taking a photo without cutting off her subject’s head, you’ll understand why this new development isn’t such a bad thing. The downside of this of course is that our children will never have an ugly (or realistic) photo of themselves – ever.

18. Mix tapes

Sure, sure, they can always put together a ‘playlist’ for their crush. But it’s just not the same. Carefully selecting 60 minutes worth of songs dedicated to JUST that one person? Then hand writing the song and artist on the cardboard insert? Nothing compares. Nor should it.

19. The immediate danger of this situation:

I remember sliding around the back of my dad’s EJ, totally unharnessed and with the definite possibility of flying through the windscreen if we had been unlucky enough to get into an accident. Our kids don’t even know what it’s like to plant their arse upon an actual car seat until they hit 8 years of age these days, let alone go without a seatbelt.


20. Dialling someone’s number on a rotary phone

I still remember that sound each dial made. How I sometimes tried to make the dial go a bit quicker by forcing it back to the original position instead of letting it return freely.

21. The satisfaction of slamming down a phone

Ending the call by violently pushing the End button on the phone screen will never feel as satisfying.


22. A Solar System with nine planets.

We miss you Pluto.

23. Having an outfit custom made from a Butterick Pattern.


I guess, just like any generation, in hindsight we mourn the loss of the things that we as children got to experience however often, this is because the change was necessary. Not always but usually.

What are the things from your past that your own children will never see, understand or experience?