10 Struggles Only ’90s Kids Can Understand

We'll never forget that AOL dial-up sound.

Kids today have it so easy. They’ve got a phone, an iPad, a laptop, and instant access to anything they could desire. Growing up in the ‘90s was the exact opposite.

We were right on that cusp of the digital age and we embraced all the cool fun new things we had, but we really had to work for them. From having to rewind actual videotapes to trying so hard to fit all of our favorite songs on one CD, we were really out here doing the most.

Here are 10 struggles that only ‘90s kids can understand.

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Destroying your ankles with a Skip-It

Skip It
Tiger Electronics

We loved that damn thing. Just skipping around our driveways or living rooms for hours, but missing a step by a millisecond and that crash of the hard plastic into your ankle is a feeling we’ll never forget.

Having your Discman skip the best part of your favorite song


Speaking of skipping… remember when CDs would skip if you were dancing too excitedly to your favorite song?

Hours spent creating the perfect CD mix

CD Mix

‘90s kids didn’t have the luxury of streaming services and playlists where they’re able to instantly put their favorite songs together. We had to spend hours figuring out what songs to download, put them in just the right order and then burn them onto a CD.

Waiting for dial-up Internet to connect


If there’s one sound that unites ‘90s kids, it’s the sound AOL (America Online) would make when trying to connect to the World Wide Web. Everything had to be just right — no calls coming in and all the right cords connected. We anxiously awaited that connection hoping to see our crush’s name also logged on at the same time.

Having to rewind your Blockbuster rental movies

Adwo / Shutterstock.com

Netflix who? ‘90s kids had to beg their parents to take them to Blockbuster to rent movies and then before you could return them you had to spend ten minutes rewinding them before taking them back to the store. Be kind, rewind — we will never forget.

Calling a house phone and having to have an entire conversation before getting to talk to the person you are actually trying to reach

Girl Landline

Pre-cell phones and digital phone books, kids of the ‘90s had to write down their friends phone numbers. And, more times than not, they’d have to make small talk with their friend’s parents as they waited for their friend to come to the phone.

The struggle of sharing one computer in a household

Kids Computer

That’s right — ‘90s kids grew up with a home computer. It was too big to move and it was shared by everyone in the house. Meaning if you had computer homework, a date to chat with your bestie on AIM or wanted to surf the Web, you had to take turns and share.

When your push point pencil lost one of its tips

Pens Pencils

Sure, we could have just used regular No. 2 pencils. But ‘90s kids liked a little pizazz to what was going on in their super heavy backpacks. If you lost one of the lead tips to your pencil, then it was all over and you couldn’t use it anymore.

When an important CD got scratched

Scratched CD

Skipping on a CD was one thing, but a scratched CD could ruin everything. It could easily mean the end of your favorite song or part of your latest project for school. We’d spend hours trying to clean them gently with soap or even banana peels.

Blowing out your lungs every time you tried to play Super Mario Brothers on Nintendo

Michael San Diego / Shutterstock.com

We don’t exactly know how we knew, but it was universally known by ‘90s kids that if your Ninendo game was glitching, taking it out and blowing into it would fix it. But you’d have to blow hard and it often knocked the air out of you completely.


Amber Love Bond
Amber Love Bond is a Miami-based freelance hospitality and lifestyle writer. Read more
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