The 19th century brought people the industrial revolution and a new way of life. The railways, for example, completely transformed travel and those born towards the end of the Napoleonic wars (in another kind of baby boom) grew up to be much more reform-minded.
But these changes were much harder for the older generation. However, they just kept coming.
There's an obvious parallel with today: technology is reshaping the world, forcing us to constantly keep up, adapt, and leave the past for the history books.
Interested in the gaps formed by the latest developments, Redditor u/Bagolyvagymi asked this question: "What's something that newer generations will never understand?" And users flooded the post with answers. As of this article, it has 4.9K comments. Here are some of the most upvoted ones.
Being able to be an idiot in your formative years and not worry about it being filmed and/or put on the internet forever
There was a time when we felt the world was getting better, not worse.
u/Bagolyvagymi makes all sorts of posts on Reddit, but this was the one that has gained the most attraction yet. "The day I posted the question, I came across some old books and stuff from 30-40 years ago, like VHS tapes and old computer guides, and the question just popped into my head," they told Bored Panda.
"The funny thing is that I'm actually a part of the described 'newer generations', being 17. It always fascinated me to think about technology back in the day when it was a pretty big deal and most people had to accommodate these new innovations into their lives. For me, it came so easily because I grew up with phones and computers, although I only started using them later on in my life at like 10 years of age."
Slamming down the receiver on a landline telephone. Pushing the red button is not nearly as satisfying.
Saturday morning cartoons. I miss sitting in front of the TV and eating a bowl of cereal while Tale Spin, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, or whatever Saturday morning cartoon series played. Then getting on my bike once they ended around 10 a.m. and riding over to my friend's house to play till sunset.
As Mary Meehan beautifully put it, teenagers are an invention of recent history, morphing over the years from chaperoned innocents to malt shop boppers, from hippy protesters to latchkey kids, all the way down to today's digital natives.
"Maybe it's because of their fresh perspective on the world and their sense of immortality, but teenagers serve as cultural mirrors," Meehan wrote in Forbes. "They reflect our shifting society in ways other life stages don't."
She also acknowledges the effect of technological innovations on social change, and agrees that the internet is what the television was for the boomer era, exposing a young generation to new ideas and the real world.
Taking pictures and then waiting for them to be developed to see if they turned out okay.
MTV played music videos, had music discussion shows, and had news about music 24 hours a day at one point.
Having to buy the entire album to get one song you liked, or else wait for it to come on the radio and record it. Missing any part of the song was unacceptable, and you had to wait until it was played again.
u/Bagolyvagymi said it was pretty hard to keep up with all the answers their post has received, but there are some things that were pretty common. "Obviously, everyone was watching TV back in the day, and it had the usual limitations like ad breaks or if you didn't catch your show, you never got the chance to see that episode again. I also noticed that using the internet was a whole other story," they explained what they learned.
At the end of the day, the Redditor believes that different generations can in fact speak the same language "because after all, there is a period when we live together in the same world." We just have to adapt to one another a bit better!
Parents not knowing where their kids are and trusting them not to get into trouble.
Not being able to watch whatever you wanted whenever you wanted. We actually had to look up the shows schedule in a TV guide and be available when it came on.
Hows about not knowing who was calling... was it your crush? your grandma? a telemarketer??? It's like a game show every time the phone rings
Having to rewind the tape before returning it to the video store or else incurring a fee.
How to use the card catalog in the library — the ones with the cards in the drawers.
Circling pictures of toys in the Sears catalog as a Christmas list. My brother and my cousin would do this every year at my grandma's house. We also put our initials so our parents knew who wanted what toy.
Meeting up with a friend at the movies and having no way to communicate once you’ve left the house. Your friend doesn’t show. Is he coming? Should I continue to wait and stand at the precise spot we agreed on? Has he died? Did he forget? I’ll call home using a pay phone and hope my mom is there to tell me whether he left a message on the answering machine.
Checking the pay phone change return for any forgotten coins.
Having to properly time getting a drink and snack before the ad break on TV finished. I still sweat thinking about it.
Maybe not universal. But how to entertain yourself with your mind and nothing else.
I've noticed something about my friends/people i know in parenting culture where it's now a crime for a child to be bored. When I was a kid my parents laughed and told me to go away when I said I was bored.
Why we say "hang up" the phone
missing an episode of a show meant MISSING IT FOREVER. There's still an episode of "Battlestar Galactica" I never saw. I could go back and watch it now, but 10 year old me hurt like a gunshot wound for a long time after missing that thing.
Getting lost in your car and just having to figure it out
The difficulty of not being able to instantly find the answer to questions.
As a kid I read my favorite books more than a hundred times.
'Let’s all meet back here at 6:00.' *Looks at watch.* 'I’ve got 4:35. What time do you have?'
Having to say BRB to all your friends on MSN because your mom wanted to make a call, and then having to disconnect from the internet and dial back up when she was done.
The glory of playing and enjoying snake on a brick phone.
Having to wait until Monday at school to tell your friends about the crazy s**t that went down at the party over the weekend. I used to love that. There was nothing like saying “bro, guess what happened”!? Now everyone just instantly sees in it happening in real time on social media.
Not being able to binge a show unless you literally recorded a bunch of episodes from TV onto a bunch of VHS tapes.
Texting without looking at your phone because -> abc def ghi jkl mno pqrs tuv wxyz
Making plans to meet friends and having to commit because you didn't have mobile phones to ask where they were, how far, and if they were still coming.
The perfect balance between playing outside and watching TV.
Going to the arcade and playing games like Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat. This is my childhood.
How great Myspace was. It was a million times better than Facebook. You could choose top friends, music, cursors, backgrounds, and images. It was awesome until everyone transitioned over to FB.
Note: this post originally had 48 images. It’s been shortened to the top 45 images based on user votes.