Top 10 2000s Kids Rites of Passage
VOICE OVER: Phoebe de Jeu
WRITTEN BY: Tal Fox
Every 2000s kid went through these rites of passage. For this list, we'll be looking at things we all did almost ritually while growing up in the noughties. Our countdown includes "Club Penguin," renting movies from Blockbuster, waited for dail-up, and more!
Top 10 2000s Kids Rites of Passage
Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 2000s Kids Rites of Passage
For this list, we’ll be looking at things we all did almost ritually while growing up in the noughties.
In which 2000s rites of passage did you routinely engage? Let us know in the comments
#10: “Club Penguin”
In the mid-noughties, we would rush home from school, hurriedly finish our homework, and zoom across to our computers to get lost in virtual worlds for hours. For some, that meant checking in on our Neopets and cashing in on those Neopoints. But for many of us, it was to waddle around, play games, and meet other gamers as loyal members of Club Penguin. Remember the excitement of trying to meet a mascot, adopting a Puffle or Pookie, or checking out the monthly catalog to see what would make your penguin look even cooler? We happily wasted many an hour in this virtual reality, and we don’t regret a single moment.
#9: Renting Movies from Blockbuster
Picture it: It’s Friday night in the year 2000-something, and you have the whole weekend ahead of you to binge through the latest film releases. There was arguably no more exciting experience than wandering through the shelves at your local Blockbuster and selecting your weekend entertainment. And what’s a movie night without a few snacks? How about a game or two for when you need a break from watching films? This video rental store defined so much of our childhood, including scouring the shelves for the most popular movies, disappointingly realizing they’ve all been rented, or getting home and discovering the wrong VHS or DVD inside the case. Just don’t forget to rewind.
#8: Covered Our Arms in Rubber Bracelets
In 2004, your coolness levels were determined by the number of rubber bracelets on your wrist. It all began with the Livestrong band, raising money for cancer research and treatment. However, it wasn’t long until others jumped on the bandwagon, and our arms were barely visible beneath an array of colorful rubber bands. Some promoted important issues, while others advertised commercial companies or featured random words and phrases. Yet, we happily wore them, and the more, the better. What started as a charitable awareness symbol soon became that year’s must-have trend. We gladly spent our hard-earned pocket money on getting as many as we could. Plenty of celebs also got on board with this trend.
#7: Waited for Dial-Up
You might say there’s nothing more frustrating than a slow internet connection. However, play this sound to any noughties kid, and they might be able to think of at least one thing that’s more annoying. Yes, that sound is like nails on a chalkboard to all of us who remember the days before going online just meant opening your browser or picking up your cell phone. Nothing tested your patience more than waiting for that sound that indicated you’d successfully connected. Let’s not forget the heartbreak when it failed, and you’d have to start over. But if someone in your house needed to use the phone, you could kiss your internet time goodbye anyway.
#6: Played “Snake” & Other Simple Games on Our Phones
Nowadays, you have a plethora of mobile games at your disposal, some of which are pretty intricate. However, nothing quite compares to the endless hours of playing games like “Space Impact” or “Snake ‘97.” They might seem rather primitive by today’s standards but there was something oddly satisfying about directing that snake-like graphic around your screen and watching it get longer and longer. Back then, batteries lasted for days, so you didn’t even need to worry about running out of juice mid-game. Of course, you’d hit the cool-factor jackpot if you flipped open your brand new Motorola Razr while everyone else was still playing on their Nokia 3310s. Those were the days.
#5: Choosing Your Windows XP Profile Picture
In the 2000s, it was pretty common to have one computer per household, and the only way to keep your stuff separate was by creating individual profiles. Of course, the most crucial part of doing so was choosing the picture that would represent your digital presence. Were you a frog or a fish? Did the snowflake or guy on a skateboard best define you? Perhaps you’re more of a flower? Oh, but the peeping cat and rubber duck are just too darn cute. But then again, the palm trees show off your adventurous traveler side — tough decisions indeed. And all so that you could then open your personalized account and spend hours dodging mines on “Minesweeper.”
#4: Attending a Scholastic Book Fair Day
Everyone, from the most avid bookworms to those eagerly awaiting any excuse to ditch class, was united in their excitement for the Scholastic Book Fair. The anticipation began when your teacher handed out that iconic catalog you’d bring home and show your parents to negotiate your book-buying allowance. Of course, there were always the classics titles that, even today, will make any noughties kids’ hearts skip a beat. However, the buzz we felt walking into the actual fair remains unparalleled. We were overwhelmed by choice and had to decide how to spend our hard-negotiated cash carefully. If we had any money left over, we’d complement our purchase with a fun eraser or nifty bookmark.
#3: Choosing Who Made Your Myspace Top 8
Remember Myspace? You’d design your own page with customizable backdrops, obscure song lyrics, and petulant posts. However, the most vicious activity was deciding who of your friends was worthy of a place among your Top 8. The exclusive group wasn’t a stagnant concept, and people played around with theirs often. Of course, this became the breeding ground for feuds, hurt feelings, and ways to passive-aggressively air your real-world arguments. It’s like today’s equivalent of unfollowing someone. It doesn’t achieve much, but you’ve made your point. We’re not proud of it, but many of us participated in this ritual. Perhaps this level of savagery ultimately led to the social media platform’s demise.
#2: Creating a Cool AIM Screen Name & Away Message
One of our favorite after-school activities was logging on to our preferred instant messaging site and chatting with our friends. However, before we could get into any of that, there were a few admin bits to sort out first, for instance, your screen name. It needed to be cool or funny and, most importantly, available. How many spellings or number combinations did you get through until you found something that worked? The next step was to think of a creative or profound “Away message” to entertain and enlighten your buddies or perhaps drop hints to your crush. It might sound petty and pointless now, but at least it got our creative juices flowing.
Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.
Playing “The Sims”
Who Didn’t Stay Up Late Building Homes & Playing God?
Covered Ourselves in Body Glitter
Everyone Looked like a Human Mirrorball
Counting Every Character in Our Text Messages
Remember Putting Periods Between Words So It Would Only Count as One?
Burning Our Own Mixed CD
Recording & Rerecording Music to Share with Friends or Crushes Was the Thing
Downloading from Limewire & Kazaa
The Best Alternative When Our Piggy Banks Couldn’t Afford All the Latest Hits
#1: Clippy, Your MS Office Assistant
In the early 2000s, Microsoft thought they'd help users become better acquainted with their programs through an interactive interface assistant. And thus, we were introduced to Clippit, better known as Clippy the paper clip. Only, rather than fulfilling his design as a helpful assistant, he became an annoying nuisance on our screens. Still, there's no denying he was pretty cute and a great distraction while we procrastinated. Clippy wasn't the only character available, but none ever became quite as famous. Despite all our gripes, we were pretty gutted when our paper clip pal was removed from Office 2007. In 2021, Microsoft revived the character as an emoji reminding us of this love-hate relationship that defined our childhoods.