If moms think back to when they were a kid, they will probably remember doing so many things that kids nowadays could not be found doing. I was a young kid before the 1990's, but by that time I was a teen. I do have strong memories of how much more freedom kids had back then compared to now.
In fact, one example of that is that kids as young as nine years old back several decades ago would be able to walk to the store on their own- if the store was not all that far from where they lived anyway. However, you would never see that happen today! There are several reasons for that.
One reason is that parents are terrified that some good Samaritan would call child services if they saw their kids walking to the store, even if it was two minutes from where they lived. Who wants that kind of aggravation in their lives? I know I don't because life is stressful as it is.
The other reason that kids would not be caught walking anywhere alone is that, well there seem to be more people around who have bad intentions. Personally, I am not sure how true that is. I do think because of the internet and media, there is more awareness about the potential dangers. It is better to be safe than sorry.
And even though the 1990's really was not all that long ago, things really have changed a lot. Kids have less freedom today than they did back then. Let's find out about the 15 things that kids did back then that they would not be allowed to do today!
15 Riding In The Front Seat
The idea of your little one sitting in the front passenger seat in the car is probably one that you cannot fathom-even though I remember clearly sitting in the front seat of the car when I was a kid.
I also remember clearly that day in 2006 when I was driving home from somewhere, and the nanny was sitting in the front seat holding my then four-year-old daughter- there was a cop right around the corner. I was stopped, lost a few demerit points and was given a ticket! Why? Because my child was sitting on an adults lap in the front passenger's seat.
Back in the 1990's and prior to that, you would never see something like that happening.
According to Huffington Post, it was acceptable for kids to sit in the front passenger's seat of the car.
However, back then when babies were brought home from the hospital- the mother would have her baby cradled in her arms on the way back in the car.
They did have car seats for babies back then, but the rules back in the 1990's and prior to that as far as kids sitting in the front passenger seat were a lot looser. Additionally, nowadays kids also have to be in booster seats until they are 80lbs! That is average for a nine-year-old child! That is how tight the rules are nowadays!
14 Babysitting At 11-Years-Old
I remember when I was quite young, I was babysat by the neighbor's kid who was around 11-years-old at the time and that was in the 1980's. I am also certain that kids were babysat by 11-year-olds as well in the 1990's. In fact, I know for a fact that they were because when I was 18-years-old in the mid-1990's, I had a part-time nanny job and watched these boys.
Since that was so long ago now, I cannot remember how the conversation came up, but they mentioned that they were babysat by an 11-year-old girl not long before I watched them. But nowadays, you would not see parents hiring an 11-year-old to babysit their kids even though they technically can, according to the Globe and Mail.
The legal age for babysitting may be different in other countries, but in Canada there are babysitting courses available to kids 11 to 14. Therefore, 11 technically is not too young to babysit. However, parents, these days are not comfortable with the idea. And to be frank, I wasn't either at the time when my kids were young. The truth is though, the more I think about it, some 11-year-olds may even do a better job than some adults watching kids!
13 Staying In The Car While Mom Shops
The topic around kids being left alone in the car for a quick minute is a controversial one, that is for sure.
There have been many stories about how moms got into serious trouble when they ran errands, and left their babies in the car unattended for two minutes.
Good 'Samaritans' would call CPS on them (or CAS in Canada).
According to Check Up News Room, leaving your kids unattended in the car even to run a quick errand is irresponsible and will get you into trouble. But the question is, under what kind of conditions? If it happened on a sweltering hot summer day or frigid winter day- then that is understandable. However, if the mom chooses to do that on a mild day and leaves the window open- and goes into a convenience store to pick something up fast- and can see her child easily through the window, then why is that a problem really?
If there was any kind of threat impending, the mom could easily drop the item and run out of the store to go back to the car. All I remember is that my parents left me alone in the car to run quick errands and I am still alive!
12 Eat Peanut Butter And Jelly Sandwiches At School
Back when I was a kid at public school, and in high school in the 1990's, I remember eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches- and so did the other students. In fact, when my daughter started going to school last decade, that is when I found out that peanut butter was banned in schools. That was because of the fact that so many kids are allergic to peanuts, as well as other nuts (though peanuts are technically not nuts, however, that is beside the point).
Therefore, peanut butter substitutes like butter made of brown peas were allowed to be brought into schools. But now, it has been said that schools should not be banning peanut butter and other nuts anymore. That is because as long as the student that has a peanut or nut allergy does not ingest the food, they will be safe according to NCIB.
In fact, there has been no proof that the removal of peanut butter has prevented allergic reactions from happening either. Not to mention, there are plenty of other food allergies that people have such as eggs, dairy, and fish and the reactions can be just as serious if the person allergic to any of those foods accidentally ingests it. Why aren't those foods banned from schools?
11 Ride A Bike Without A Helmet
Back when I rode a bike, I never wore a helmet, nor did I see anyone else wearing helmets while they rode their bikes back a few decades ago. However, due to the fact that many serious head injuries were happening because of the fact that bikers did not wear any protection while bike riding, it became mandatory within the last decade for bike riders to wear helmets.
Additionally, parents are responsible for making sure their kids wear helmets whenever they are going for a bike ride.
According to Cycle-Helmets, the laws for this came in not all that recently, but it did not appear to be mandatory for people to wear helmets back in the 1990's if they were going out bike riding. And, this is definitely a law that no one can dispute because it is actually quite mind boggling whenever you think about people going for bike rides not wearing any kind of head protection- or elbow and knee protection for that matter either. Plenty of biking accidents happen and not everyone who ends up in one has a happy ending either. This is definitely a law that should have been in place all along but as they say, it is better they put it in late than never.
10 Play With Dangerous Kid Toys
If you were a child in the 1990's (or even prior to that like I was), what kind of toys do you remember playing with? I have to say that I don't really recall playing with any type of odd toy, but they certainly were around- and Cracked.com has plenty of examples of the creepy and questionable toys that kids used to play with just a few decades ago that kids today would know nothing about.
For instance, do you remember that toy Skip It? The one where you hooked it up to your shin so you could kick the ball at a high speed over and over again- only to find yourself injured in no time- because that ball could hit your shin really hard! Why that was popular in the 1990's, there is no answer to that- but it was!
Kids in the school playgrounds were enjoying their Skip It toys, and probably injuring themselves left, center and right with it over and over again! That is just one example of how a toy from the 1990's would not be acceptable today because of the fact that it is just too questionable. And personally, I can't say that I blame parents today for not wanting their kids to play with that because I feel the same way.
9 Parental Supervised? Nah!
Can you imagine there was ever a day whenever kids would play on a playground without any supervision of adults around? Well, it did happen. Never mind when I was a kid and played on the playground at the neighborhood park in the 1980's alone. However, even in the 1990's when I was too old to be playing on playgrounds- kids were still playing on their own outdoors without any supervision.
I remember this because I saw it happen whenever I took strolls around neighborhood parks. School-aged kids were playing and their parents were nowhere to be seen. But, you will never see that happen today.
In fact, according to The Guardian, kids nowadays are spending half the time outdoors playing as their parents did when they were kids. One of the reasons is because parents are afraid to allow their kids to play outside unsupervised due to the risk that CPS/CAS would be called on them.
Parents are simply too busy to supervise their kids while they play outside, and that is why kids stay indoors more often.
The other reason which has nothing to do with that is due to the advancement of technology, and kids would rather be on their smartphones than play outdoors. But, because these busy parents are afraid to let their kids play outdoors, that is why they do allow them to use their smartphones or tablets to keep them busy. It's an unfortunate situation.
8 Walk Outside Barefoot
I remember how I was able to walk around barefoot when I went to the park when I was a child at times. Additionally, when I got too old to play on the playground which was in the 90's, I still enjoyed walking around those parks and sitting on the bench to relax near the playground. I remember as well at that time that there were many kids who played in the sand that did not wear anything on their feet.
However, that wouldn't be acceptable by today's standards! I even remember when I took my kids to the park when they were little that the other kids playing had their shoes on! I didn't really think about taking my kids' shoes off either. But the more I think about it, this particular "rule" about keeping your shoes on at all times may not be so new. But it is known that taking your shoes off anytime you are not at home is not acceptable!
According to Todays Parent, it is actually better for kids to not wear shoes all the time because barefoot walking and running create healthier and stronger feet. Parents can always bring antiseptic wipes along too whenever the kids leave the park and are ready to put their shoes on to go home! I really don't see the big deal with having to wear socks and shoes all the time.
7 Set Up Shop On The Sidewalk
I remember back in the day when I was a kid, I had fun selling lemonade. I used to also buy lemonade from kids selling it back in the 90's as well. It was a great way for kids to discover what it is like to make money by selling something and making money in other ways that don't involve doing chores around the house.
However, after a few incidents where kids in different areas of the world were fined for selling lemonade without a permit- kids simply cannot sell anything anymore unless they have a permit! For instance, CNN back in 2015 had shared how two Texan sisters under the age of 10 were fined for selling lemonade without a permit.
Also, back in 2016, CBC Canada had shared that two Canadian sisters in Ottawa were also under 10 years of age, and were charged for selling lemonade without a permit!
And then there was that time last year where a 5-year-old girl who was selling lemonade in East London, England was also fined almost $200 for selling lemonade without a permit according to the New York Post.
I mean, when you think about that, it is so sad that kids are expected to have a permit for selling lemonade! Back in the day, that kind of expectation was unheard of! This kind of rule has ripped away a great experience that all kids should have!
6 Ride In The Back Of A Pickup Truck
One experience that I never had as a child or a teen in the 1990's was riding at the back of a pickup truck. However, I do know that other kids enjoyed having that experience back then as I remember classmates talking about it. But today, forget it! It simply cannot happen! Not where kids can ride loosely at the back of a pickup truck.
The only thing I found out is that apparently in Virginia and Ohio, it is not illegal for adults or kids that are 16-years-old or over to ride at the back of a pickup truck. The News Center basically states this fact but also states that even though older teens and adults in those states can enjoy those rides, law enforcement still makes it clear on how dangerous that is.
It is not a shock at all that kids cannot enjoy having this experience anymore, especially since seatbelt laws have become tighter and stricter. And the fact of the matter is that kids that were enjoying childhood back in the 1990's would be telling their kids today or sometime in the not so distant future about what a fun memory that was for them growing up- sadly something that their kids will never know a thing about.
5 Watch Questionable Cartoons
I remember when I was a young teen in the early 1990's and had fun watching Ren and Stimpy- which is not a cartoon that is meant for kids, to say the least just in case you did not know what that was! Additionally, kids at that time would easily watch shows like The Simpsons that is far from educational. And can we add South Park that came out in the later 1990's into the mix?
All I can say is that parents back in those days did not care if the cartoons that their kids watched were educational or not. Hey, let's even go back a bit further into the 1980's when the same applied because Tom and Jerry, Jem, Scooby Doo, He-Man and Alvin and the Chipmunks were popular then- and none of those shows were educational.
However, those cartoons would not be known to kids today! That is because they would be unacceptable by today's standards.
Not only are those cartoons far from educational but they are considered to be too negative an influence on kids.
In fact, according to Science Direct, studies have proven how much kids learn from cartoons and this is why today they are only educational. Even though it is for the most part positive, kids really are missing out on the fun that we had as kids by watching those entertaining but very non-educational cartoons!
4 Go Out With No Cellphone
Back in the 1990's, cell phones did most definitely exist. In fact, according to Know Your Mobile, the first cell phone came out in 1973 but was not on the market until 1983. However, according to the same source, cell phones sold at $4,000 at that time which was unaffordable for most people back then.
You did not see people carrying cellphones until the mid to late-1990's when the prices of cellphones came down. However, even back then it was rare for kids to carry cell phones with them. If kids needed to get a hold of their parents or anyone else, they had to rely on the good old-fashioned payphone which today is synonymous with ancient history! Or if they need to call their parents from school to pick them up because they got into an accident or they were sick- they simply went to the school office to make the call.
Back in those days, kids did not use cell phones and did certainly manage well without them. However, the idea of our kids walking around without a cell phone is frightening. Even though payphones still exist, the idea of our kids struggling to find one whenever they desperately need to contact us if they need us is scary to parents.
3 Drink High Fructose Corn Syrup
Back in the 1990's and even prior to that, plenty of kids were drinking sodas and fruit juices that were not naturally made. Their parents would pack those fruit juices in their lunch boxes and not think anything of it. However, today, the majority of parents are thinking twice about that because of the fact that awareness is being raised about the fact that anything that contains high fructose corn syrup is simply not good for you!
According to Arnold Palmer Hospital, studies have found that high fructose corn syrup is one of the biggest culprits to the rise in obesity and type-2 diabetes cases.
Additionally, the link to the frequent consumption of high fructose corn syrup to increased levels of triglycerides has been found- which also can lead to cardiovascular diseases as well as insulin resistance.
Therefore, because of the fact that many people are educated about how bad high fructose corn syrup really is- very few kids are taking sodas and fruit juices that are not made naturally to school- and are swapping it with water and perhaps the occasional natural fruit juice instead.
If a kid brings a can of soda to school, you can bet that they would receive lectures from their peers about how bad it is for them.
2 Let Loose Online
Back in the 1990's, the internet was a new thing! Well, from what I have heard the internet has been around longer than that but it didn't become available to the general public until just a few decades ago. Therefore, because it was brand new, there were not so many concerns about the dangers of the world wide web from back then. That meant kids and adults were able to access it quite easily.
However, just because it was new did not mean it wasn't safe either. Sure, there probably was no such thing as the dark web or anything like that. However, chat rooms and forums were around in the 1990's and I even remember that quite well since I quickly got into it back when I was in college.
Chat rooms and forums that were around online in the 1990's weren't exactly any safer to kids than they are today. Strangers could have easily made arrangements to meet them and those meetings could have become disastrous. However, today, because there is a lot more education and awareness about the dangers that are associated with the internet, kids' activities online are being monitored by their parents through parental protective software.
According to Digital Trends, there are always new brands and types of parental protective software in order to be effective with the technology that is constantly evolving. That said, kids today are not meant to be roaming around free online for a very good reason!
1 Stay Up Late Watching Adult Shows
I remember when I was a kid in the 1980's, I used to stay up late to watch Dynasty with my parents. And I remember when I was babysitting these girls occasionally in the early 1990's, their parents gave me permission to allow the girls to stay up as late as they wanted. They even said that they allowed them to watch late night TV during the week!
However, nowadays, it is rare for parents to let their kids stay up past 9 pm during the week anyway to watch TV.
That really is not such a bad thing either. In fact, according to Kids Health, school-aged kids need about 10 to 11 hours of sleep each night in order to function properly. Otherwise, they become irritable and are not able to concentrate properly. That really applies to anyone who doesn't get enough sleep.
But, back in the 1990's, there was less concern about how many hours of sleep kids got. They probably did not have enough research conducted by then to really make any determination. It was still known that people, in general, need seven to eight hours of sleep a night to function. However, it is possible that applied to kids as well.
References: HuffingtonPost.com, KnowYourMobile.com, ArnoldPalmerHospital.com, CheckUpNewsRoom.com, TheGuardian.com, TodaysParent.com, CNN.com, CBC.ca, NYPost.com, TheNewsCenter.tv, ScienceDirect.com, Cracked.com, DigitalTrends.com, Ncbi.Nlm.Nih.gov, Cycle-Helmets.com, TheGlobeAndMail.com, KidsHealth.org