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Dublin: 16 °C Wednesday 23 July, 2014

11 things Irish kids no longer have to worry about

Turning on the immersion, rewinding VHS tapes, writing your favourite band’s name on your school backpack… all things today’s youngsters don’t have to worry about. The lucky tykes.

THERE ARE PLENTY of things to worry about these days – recession, unemployment, money…

But what about those small things that the younger generation today no longer has to worry about, the things we used to take for granted that we just had to do?

Inspired by this Buzzfeed article, we’ve come up with some Ireland-specific things that young people don’t have to worry about today, but which we sort of miss in a strange way.

Leaving the immersion on

(Dudu Viana/Flickr)

Need a wash? Then why not turn on your handy electric shower and avail of hot water at any time of the day. Simples.

Rewind to 10 years ago however, and it would be a different story. You’d have to put on the immersion at 6am, wait an hour, pray the water didn’t go cold before your shampoo was all washed out, and then spend the day in school worrying that you hadn’t turned the immersion off and your mother was going to kill you for it. Kids have it so easy these days.

Taping songs off the radio

(Kumar McMillan/Flickr)

Want to find out what the latest releases are? Then you can go online on your phone and download new songs in less than a minute. Back when we were kids, we’d spend hours with our fingers hovering over the play and record buttons on our tape deck, waiting to catch the latest Smashing Pumpkins song on a C90 and hoping Dave Fanning didn’t talk over the outro (sorry, Dave).

Sunday mornings were spent watching The Beatbox, and weekday nights were for taping episodes of No Disco or Top Thirty Hits. Was it more enjoyable when you had to work for your music? The jury might be out on that one.

Winding tapes

(Andrew Malone/Flickr)

On the subject of tapes, there was nothing – NOTHING, dear readers – worse than listening to your favourite cassette tape and suddenly discovering it had started to eat itself. You would gingerly pull it out of the player, use a pencil to rewind it and hope that it wouldn’t be forever marked, but alas, it would never be the same again. And don’t even start us on having to rewind VHS tapes. DVDs are most certainly an improvement.

Hand-me-downs


(bettyx1138/Flickr)

“Nice jumper, Maura!”

“Thanks, I got it off my older brother!”

That sort of imaginary conversation could have been played out on schoolyards around Ireland back in the day, when your uncle Fred’s shirt and sister Barbara’s skirt were handed down to become your ‘new’ outfit. Of course, no one really ever mentioned they were wearing hand-me-downs, but as this was before the hipster was invented, we didn’t know that oversized plaid shirts could sort of be cool.

Today, the abundance of cheap high street stores may raise ethical questions, but it does ensure a new generation of children grows up with new clothes in Ireland. Looking back at old photographs of ourselves as kids, we’re quite glad this is the case.

Carrying heavy school bags


(Sarah/Flickr)

Hands up if your school book weighed more than a stone! Kids today don’t all have to worry about that, as some schools have started supplying them with iPads to save their poor backs from the weight of Busy at Maths 2 and Soundings. What, they don’t use those books any more? Well I never…

Computer Games


(Manuel Martan/Flickr)

Remember when computer games seemed like the most futuristic things on the planet… but they were sometimes unreliable, rarely saved things and had bad graphics?

We definitely don’t miss the days when you had to take the cartridge out of your Super Nintendo, blow on it and put it back in so it would unfreeze. Kids might be missing out on this trick, but we’re not sure it taught us anything anyway, except the virtue of patience.

Writing your favourite band’s name on your school bag



(TDN Channel/Flickr)

Why take a black marker to your schoolbag or journal when you can tell everyone what music you listen to Facebook and Twitter? Social networking means that you can now prove how ‘individual’ you are online, instead of telling the world through your clothing. Maybe it’s just us, but we miss the days of baggy jeans and scribbled-on canvas bags proclaiming ‘Kurt 4EVA’.

Watching TV with your parents


(espensorvik/Flickr)

Maybe you’re the sort of person who likes watching television with your parents. If so, you’re in a tiny minority, because most teenagers would rather claw their eyes out than watch the Late Late Show with the parents who raised them, fed them, clothed them and paid for the television. Not too long ago, if you weren’t leaving the house and wanted to watch a spot of TV, there was one TV, two channels and by hell you weren’t the one choosing what was being watched.

Today’s kids don’t have to worry about this, as the advent of recordable TV, digital telly and online TV shows means that you can be away from your family members 24 hours a day if you wish, and you’ll never have to watch the Late Late if you don’t want to. (Sorry, Ryan).

Phoneboxes

(sludgeulper/Flickr)

Phoneboxes must seem like experimental art to some young people, especially now that many of them don’t actually contain any phones. But once upon a time, those boxes  made out of shattered glass and warped metal were the chewing-gum-covered key to a lift home, a private conversation with a friend, or a first date.

They were sometimes disgusting, occasionally infuriating, and, once callcards came in, sort of futuristic – but by gosh they were a lifeline in those pre-mobile phone days.

Dial-up internet


(andrewrendell/Flickr)

Brriinngggbrrrrrrrhisssssbeepbeepbeep… Sorry, just reliving the joys of waiting for dial-up internet there. Yes, waiting. For internet. For more than 10 seconds. Not too long ago, before all this broadband this and high speed that, the internet was something you had to wait for… and wait for.

Plus, did we mention that while you were online checking your Hotmail account, no one else in your house could make any phone calls? Cue lots of family fighting, tears, and modems being switched off as you were trying to send Triona an important email about Jason in your maths tutorial class. Next time you check your Gmail inbox with one hand while swiping your Leap card with the other, spare a thought for those of us who spent years on dial-up. We’re still not over it.

Fancy Paper

If you’re thinking “fancy paper – just headed notepaper from hotels, yeah?” then it is probably safe to wager you weren’t a tweenage girl in the early 90s. Fancy paper was notepaper that came in many guises – coloured, white, scented, with designs, stamped, super-thin – and the most coveted sheets were never written on but swapped amongst friends. Becoming the owner of fancy paper that originally came from Japan was akin to filling a soccer sticker album in one go, and meant that you had serious connections.

Like homemade ‘perfume’ distilled from water and flower petals (and usually sold to neighbours for 5p), fancy paper gradually grew out of favour. We’re quite thankful for this one, actually.

What other things do Irish kids not have to worry about?

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