When I Was A 80s Teen Vs My Teen Kids Today

Getting ready to go out to the sounds of Whitney Houston, Spandau Ballet, Michael Jackson (even had his poster on my wall when he looked like he should) all on vinyl, to name but a few. It was a time when hair would survive any hurricane, rock hard from a can of cheap extra hold hairspray.

I loved the 1980s, the era when I was a teen. A time when 'Apple' was something you ate and 'Windows' were mainly for staring out of, especially at school!

Getting ready to go out to the sounds of Whitney Houston, Spandau Ballet, Michael Jackson (even had his poster on my wall when he looked like he should) all on vinyl, to name but a few. It was a time when hair would survive any hurricane, rock hard from a can of cheap extra hold hairspray.

Hands up who loved Grange Hill and Neighbours the unforgettable moment when Charlene aka Kylie Minogue married Scott aka Jason Donovan etched in your mind forever.

It was the decade of questionable fashion, who couldn't resist a pair of satin leggings and neon leg warmers to finish the look! Trends in schoolbags like the Plastic Jelly Bags, totally impractical, you had to line them with a carrier bag or everything would fall out!

Fast forward to now and I seem to have morphed, somewhat into my parents. I can often be heard bellowing out to the kids how "I would have loved that when I was your age", and the unforgettable one liner about the money tree!

I have put together an insight of what some of the 80s for me had to offer with how it compares to my kids today.

Walking (What my kids avoid at all costs)

A large percentage of the 80s was spent walking. We had no choice back then, anywhere we wanted to go, we walked. We weren't privy to the luxury of 'mum's taxi' on standby waiting to ferry us all where we wanted to go, nope we walked.

Sometimes, we would jump on the bus always favouring the back seat just so we could puff our heads off (yes, we smoked... a lot, funded by saving our dinner money) on the way into town!


The luxury of tapping in a few key points and oodles of information appearing before your eyes was, unfortunately not available to us. There was no copying and pasting or luxury of a delete button, we had to write it all up with an in ink-pen.

With writer's cramp and an offering of something, our homework would be complete. And if we didn't finish or even start, a quick 'Sorry she was unable to do her homework....' note would be signed by me on behalf of my parents!

Mobile Phones

We didn't have them. We had payphones, which we could never afford, so spent a lot of time talking to the operator asking to reverse the charges.

House phones were usually rooted in the hall, annoyingly as there was no privacy. We would have to wait to ring our friends until after 6pm, giving three rings first, replace and ring again to avoid speaking to their parents. Calls would be accompanied with shouts of "hurry up on that phone". Mine don't have that worry, they can sit anywhere talking on theirs for as long as they like all paid for by us.

We had code words such as 'polos' for fags, aptly called as we would eat a dozen on the way home to rid ourselves of the smell, and fag packets or lighters found in our coat pocket were always our friend's, we were just minding them.

Our version of texting was passing each other notes throughout lessons

There was no way of our parents getting hold of us or tracking us on any Find My iPhone. The only 'being' regularly phoning home back then was E.T.

The Top 40

Sunday evenings were spent, taping the Top 40. When my kids moan about their Spotify premium trial coming to an end, and the horror that will have to endure ads in between songs! I think back to the problems I had, when taping, stopping it at just the right moment before the DJ spoke.

We didn't have a phone to plug our headphones into and listen to 100s of songs, we had Sony Walkmans. The pain of having to rewind and fast forward to a song we wanted, fist pumping when we timed it right the first time! And when the batteries started running out, well....!

Video Rental Shop

Who doesn't love a movie night? We had lots in the 80s, the biggest difference between our movie nights in the 80s and my kid's movie nights is the way it's viewed! Watching a newly released movie in the 80s meant, renting a video from the local video shop. Making yourself up to look older for the 15+ films, rehearsing your date of birth en route just in case, often all in vain as the film would already be on loan by the time you got there.

Today movies can be streamed onto your tablet or television from the comforts of your own home. With no problem of accessing older films, with a press of a button they are viewing, having worked their way around any parental control, smart kids of today!


Our selfies were holding a throwaway camera as far as your arm would let you, at a certain height hoping you were all in the shot. The disappointment when having waited two weeks, picking up your photos from the developers, to find photos of half heads or blurry ones!

Instant 'selfies' were only available with a Polaroid camera, and only if you, or a mate was lucky enough to own one.

Dirty Dancing

How I wished I was the one having the 'time of my life' with Patrick Swayze!

A lot has changed over the years but a lot remains the same, just jazzed up with fancier names, such as the end of school disco now a more lavish affair called a prom costing upwards of £300.

I look back on this time with great fondness, a time when we laughed, a lot and worries were few and far between.

I wonder what my kids will grow up remembering and what comparisons, if any there will be to their teen years.

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