Top 10 Best and Worst Things About Being A 90s Kid



Top 10 Best and Worst Things About Being A 90s Kid

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Savannah Sher
The 90s had its ups and downs. Now it's time to rank 'em! For this list, we'll be looking at the pros and cons of growing up in the last decade of the 20th century. Our countdown includes Going to Blockbuster, Boy Bands, Grunge Music, and more!

Top 10 Best and Worst Things About Growing Up in the ‘90s

Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Best and Worst Things About Growing Up in the ‘90s.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the pros and cons of growing up in the last decade of the 20th century.

What was your favorite thing about growing up in the 1990s? Let us know in the comments!

#10: Going to Blockbuster


Sure, today we have practically the entire world of movies at our fingertips with the ever-growing number of streaming services available… But does anything compare to heading to Blockbuster and picking out Friday night’s movie? Perusing the aisles always made us feel like the possibilities were endless! There was just something special about the tactile experience of picking up a DVD case (or VHS tape, if we’re talking early ‘90s!) and reading the back to find out what it was about. Admittedly, there was one downside: someone had already rented the movie you went there specifically to get. You’d go totally postal!

#9: Someone Taping Over Your VHS


Kids today just won’t understand what it was like to have your favorite movie or TV show episode on a VHS tape that you had made yourself. Before the days where you could buy whole seasons of shows on DVD, there was simply no way to watch an episode again once it had already aired. You made sure that tape was in the VCR at the time your show was playing. It was a lot of effort, so when someone—either accidentally or intentionally—taped over your VHS, you knew there was going to be hell to pay. Anyone else remember the anger of catching your bratty younger siblings pulling all the tape out and making them unwatchable? That was bunk, man.

#8: The Toys


Today, all kids want is their own iPad. Sure, that opens up a world of possibilities with endless games, and even access to the entire internet if parental controls aren’t set up properly. But, back in the day, we actually played with physical toys. We’ll never forget collecting Beanie Babies, Pogs, Pokemon cards, Crazy Bones… the list is infinite. At the top of it all though, was the Tickle Me Elmo, as well as digital pets like Tamagotchis. We’ve gotta say, it seems it took a lot more imagination to enjoy the toys of the 90s than it does with the apps kids play on today.

#7: No GPS


How did we even get anywhere in the ‘90s?! Nowadays, we’re all equipped with our very own GPS in the little handheld light box we always carry around with us. It’s pretty much impossible to get lost no matter where you find yourself in the world - as long as you have an internet connection, of course! Before that, however, we had to print out directions from Google Maps or MapQuest--and before THAT, we had to literally use foldout maps. On top of that, if you wanted to know about traffic jams or road closures, you had to listen to the radio or watch the news, and hope they mentioned something. While it sounds like something out of ancient history, the 1990s were only actually a few decades ago!

#6: Boy Bands


If you were a kid in the ‘90s, you undoubtedly had a favorite boy band--and it said a lot about you. Whether you listened to the Backstreet Boys, *NSYNC, 98 Degrees, or O-Town, this decade seemed a simpler time, even with pop music. Lyrics were frothy and uncomplicated and every track was catchy as hell. Interestingly, boy bands seem to have made something of a resurgence since the 2010s, with the popularity of male K-pop groups and bands like One Direction. First ‘90s fashion and now ‘90s music… Can we please bring ‘90s slang next? That would be like, totally bangin’, dude!

#5: Scratched CDs


We already mentioned how easily damaged a VHS tape could get, but CDs may’ve been even more fragile. Can you imagine having your favorite album become completely unlistenable because it got scratched? Nothing’s going to happen to the music you have on your Spotify or Apple Music account--it’s safe and sound, and always there for you when you need it. But back then, a hairline graze had the potential to ruin your favorite songs for good, and you’d have no choice but to buy the CD all over again! While we miss the experience of cracking open a fresh CD case and perusing the album liner notes, we’ve gotta admit, we prefer the digital age.

#4: The Movies


Maybe everyone feels like movies were just better when they were a kid, but come on, it’s hard to compete with the ‘90s. First of all, the animated movies were at the top of their game. So much so, that the period between 1989 and 1999 is actually known as the Disney Renaissance, because of the quality and popularity of the films released during that time. Then, there were the awesome family comedies starring universally beloved actors like Robin Williams and Adam Sandler. No matter how much time goes by, we’ll always revisit these films and enjoy them to the fullest!

#3: Dial-Up Internet


Anyone growing up today won’t understand the struggle of painfully slow dial-up internet. At one time, most households had a single phone line that handled both the internet and their actual landline connection. This means that you couldn’t use the phone if someone was using the internet, and vice versa. Then, there were the atrocious, glacier-level download speeds. We used to have to wait hours to download a single song--and downloading a movie was pretty much unheard of. At least we all learned to exercise a little patience!

#2: Grunge Music


This one’s for everyone who was a teen in the ‘90s. While the younger kids were listening to the Spice Girls and Backstreet Boys, angsty teens and tweens were rocking out to grunge. This genre of alternative rock was exactly what we needed to channel all our difficult coming-of-age feelings. No matter what was going on, you knew that performers like Kurt Cobain were feeling some of the same things you were, and that was comforting. The grunge aesthetic also extended to our clothing choices. There’s a reason why plaid shirts, ratty sweaters, and band tees are back in style again! Talk to the hand, gen Z. We did it first!

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

The Scholastic Book Fair, BEST
Bookworms Could Spend a Whole Year's Allowance in One Day

The Snacks, BEST
There Was Nothing Better Than Eating Dunkaroos After School

Analog (Film) Cameras, WORST
Imagine Not Being Able to See Your Photos Right Away?

Blowing into Video Games, WORST
Did This Actually Work? We Still Don't Know

Staying Home on Friday Night Was Actually Cool!

#1: No Social Media


Our number one pick goes to something that is probably both the best AND worst thing about the ‘90s: there was no social media like we know it today! Pressure was off to look good at all times, because you weren’t constantly worrying that someone would snap an unflattering pic of you and upload it to Instagram or Snapchat. What’s a social media presence? The ‘90s have never heard of it! But, of course, there were also downsides. Social media gives us something to do while waiting in line at Starbucks - but more than that, it also allows us to stay connected with people all over the world, at any time! Just imagine a global pandemic with no social media... Oh, snap!