Being born between 1997 and 2000 puts you in a very odd point, culturally/generationally. We late '90s babies are technically considered to be a part of Generation Z, a generation born between 1995 and 2015.
Our generation has been dubbed as the "iGeneration" due to our savvy technological abilities and not knowing a life without smartphones. However, for us late '90s babies, we know that is not true. We're in that weird group of kids who grew up in a time when the latest technologies were born, not the other way around.
For those who don't know what I'm saying, here are some examples.
1. We remember life without smartphones.
We grew up without a cell phone until we were at least in middle school. If we had a cell phone before then, it was most likely a flip phone. For my seven-year-old nephew who is included in Generation Z, he has grown up not knowing what a flip phone is. The Razor or Sidekicks were among the most popular for us early Gen Z-ers.
2. We used landline phones and had “house phones.”
It was the only way to ask your friends to hang out back in the day! There was no such thing as Snapchatting or texting your friends when you wanted to hang out. You actually had to call on a phone that connected to your house (that others could pick up and listen to…). The horrors!
3. Blockbuster was the best place on Earth and movies on Netflix arrived in the mail.
During our middle school and early high school years, the excitement of downloading Netflix as an app on a game console or mobile device entered our lives. Before then, Blockbuster was the glorious land of all movies. The scent of my local Blockbuster still haunts me to this day.
4. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube defined our cringey middle and high school days.
We all had these at some point.
These three social media sites just started out during our early teen years, which meant we could document all of our cringey, over-edited photo years.
5. The struggle of burning disks and carrying around CD players was real.
There were days where I would sit in my room, stack up my CDs, and play them on my CD player for hours. If one skipped or the CD didn't burn right, it was as if my elementary life had ended. Younger kids in our generation don't even know how to work a CD player.
6. After a few years of that, we had to carry an iPod and a flip phone.
Yes. There used to be days when even us Generation Z kids couldn't have our music and our phones in one place. Trying to shove both an iPod and a flip phone in your pocket was a struggle.
7. We watched old school Disney/Nickelodeon shows, but also watched some of the newer shows that those younger than us consider their “throwbacks.”
These dancing lobsters will forever have a special place in my heart.
Some of our faves were "Lizzie McGuire," "Rugrats," and "All That," but we also enjoyed later Disney and Nickelodeon shows like "Hannah Montana," "iCarly," and "Victorious." (There are so many more I could list, but I will stop there). We really had an amazing childhood, especially in terms of television.
8. “Limited Too” turned into “Justice” right before our eyes.
This was a dream set for us Limited Too regulars.
I can remember the day my friend and I went to the mall and saw the changing of signs. From that moment on, that store was never the same. Long live the days of Limited Too!
9. The outdoors was our go-to place of entertainment as children, not smartphones.
I would attempt to build flower/nature arches like this. Key word attempt.
Older people tend to frown upon our generation for not growing up in the outdoors, but that is far from the truth for us early Gen Z-ers. We know how to entertain ourselves and provide for others without the need for smartphones. It's probably the one main difference between us late '90's kids and the later Generation Z kids.
10. AIM was still a thing while we were growing up.
AIM was the highlight of some of our days. We could make custom chat backgrounds, ridiculous usernames, and talk about whoever we wanted with our BFF in some secret code we thought was only ours. I truly feel bad for the younger Generation Z kids who will never experience such a fun form of communication.
11. Kodak cameras used to be a must, but then we learned the ways of having one in our pocket 24/7.
If we wanted to take a selfie or a cute pic of our friends, we had to use a Kodak camera and get the photos developed. There was no such thing as having a camera in our pocket until we were in middle school or high school. Younger Gen Z kids will never know life before the heavily-filtered Snapchat days. Today Kodak cameras may be used for *aesthetics,* but it was a necessity in our early childhood.
12. Computers grew up with us.
This could be said in every generation the computer is well-known in, but we truly grew with the advances of computers. We experienced them only being able to play games or type messages. Over the years, we have been able to see all the incredible advances the Internet and the computer has provided.
While every generation has that group of kids who are in between on the generation scale, us late '90's babies are tired of hearing the same assumptions about an entire group of kids who grew up in a completely different setting than others. The late Gen-Z kids will never experience life without smartphones, computers, or easy-access information, while us early Gen-Z kids know how to do both. Our ability to live both lifestyles may save us one day. You never know!