Ah, the good old days! It’s a phrase often uttered with a chuckle, a shake of the head, and a twinkle in the eye. When Baby Boomers were young whippersnappers, they enjoyed certain freedoms that today’s children can only dream about.
Not only did these experiences shape them into the resilient people they are today, but they also provide some pretty entertaining stories. Here are the 15 Things Boomers Could Get Away With as Kids That Their Kids Can Only Dream Of Now
Playing Outside Unsupervised
Children of the Baby Boomer generation often roamed their neighborhoods without adult supervision. In contrast, a 2016 study from the Pew Research Center found that only 30% of parents allow their children to play outside unsupervised.
Fixing Their Own Bicycles
Boomers often learned hands-on skills like how to fix a flat tire. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports a decline in these skills, with only 61.5% of Americans capable of basic vehicle repairs.
Making Long-Distance Phone Calls
Boomers could make long-distance phone calls without worrying about extra charges. However, with the rise of mobile phones, the CDC estimates that only 41.7% of American households have landline phones.
Watching Black and White Television
Boomers were the last generation to watch black-and-white television. According to Nielsen, 96% of American households now have at least one color TV.
Having a Job While in High School
The Pew Research Center reports that the number of teens working summer jobs has fallen from 58% in 1978 (the boomers’ era) to 35% in 2017.
Playing Vinyl Records
Boomers could enjoy the crackle of vinyl records. Although vinyl has made a resurgence, CTA reports that only 15% of music revenue comes from physical sales.
Driving Without Seatbelts
Boomers didn’t have to buckle up. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration now reports 90.7% seatbelt usage.
Payphones were a common sight for boomers. The FCC reported a significant drop from 2.1 million payphones in 1999 to just 100,000 in 2018.
Reading the Newspaper
Boomers grew up reading newspapers. The Pew Research Center reports a significant decline in newspaper readership from 71% in the 1960s to 23% in 2016.
Buying a Home Right Out of High School
Buying a home straight out of high school was possible in the boomer era. The U.S. Census Bureau now reports a homeownership rate of only 36% among those under 35.
Boomers commonly wrote letters by hand. The U.S. Postal Service reports a 43% drop in first-class mail since 2001.
Smoking in Public Places
Smoking was more socially acceptable during the Boomer era. The CDC reports that smoking rates have dropped from 42% in 1965 to 14% in 2019.
Listening to the Radio
Boomers used to listen to the radio for music and news. Nielsen reports that while 92% of Americans still listen to the radio, the medium increasingly competes with streaming services.
Developing Film Photos
Boomers used to develop film for photos. The Photo Marketing Association reports that digital photography accounts for 98% of the market.
Using Encyclopedias for Homework
Before the internet, boomers used encyclopedias for research. A Statista survey found that only 4% of U.S. students reported using print materials for research in 2019.
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