Mutant Enemy
9 Questions All '90s Parents Had That No Parents Today Would Have

by Sarah Bunton

The '90s were a bit of a contradiction. On one hand, personal computers and mobile phones made it seem like you were living in the future. On the other hand, the inconsistency of dial-up and the uncharted world of online information could leave you pulling your hair out in frustration. In fact, just because most people finally had the convenience of modern technology at their fingertips didn't necessarily mean it was an easy switch to make. I still remember my mom asking me for tech help. There are just some questions '90s parents had that no parents today would have.

If you were a kid in the decade that launched such innovative gadgets as clear home phones, Tamagotchis, Furbies, and portable CD players that offered "skip protection," then you know just how ridiculous technology could be in the 1990s. Yet kids are gifted with a certain type of resilience and adaptability. For instance, my 2-year-old, though initially stumped by anything with buttons, can now operate our television without help while I still can't figure out how to work the DVR. Point being, parents usually have it harder when it comes to navigating life with kids thrown into the mix. So consider these questions most '90s parents had that sound archaic now.


"Will there be a phone where you're going?"

Every watchful parent wanted to make sure they knew when and where their child would be. And in the '90s, that meant a parent's only option for communication was to call the home phone of wherever their kid was going. Nowadays even elementary-age kids have cell phones.


"Who is it?"

Believe it or not, I can still remember when Caller ID was a new thing. As crazy as it might sound to kids today, sometimes the only way to know who was calling you was to answer the phone and ask.


"Did you remember to rewind?"

If you have the phrase, "Be kind, rewind," stuck in your head, then you're probably a '90s kid. That also means you most likely remember your parents bugging you to rewind the tapes you rented before they returned them to Blockbuster.


"Can I get online yet?"

Internet in the '90s meant having a dial-up modem to most people. That came with the frustrating implication that you could either be on your phone or on the internet, not both. So parents and children alike would have to check and see if anyone was making a call before trying to log on.


"Where are we?"

Sure, if an app is malfunctioning or you've gone over your data limit, you might be forced to rely on good ol' intuition to get around town, but that's a rarity. Back then, though, parents would have to rely on carefully written out directions, paper maps, and the kindness of strangers to survive a family road trip.


"Do you need more JNCOs?"

OK, maybe this wasn't a question too many parents had to ask in the '90s, but I practically guarantee no one is talking about this hideous fashion trend anymore. On a related note, plenty of parents let their kids order clothing out of super hip fashion catalogs, like dELiA's, in the '90s.


"What do you mean you need a new Tamagotchi?"

Thank the toy gods that Tamagotchis (and similar virtual creatures) weren't real. Otherwise there would be mass graves all over the country filled with electronic pets whose owners forgot to feed them. It seemed like every week another kid I knew was getting a new Tamagotchi to replace their old one. A moment of silence for all the lost virtual pets, please.


"Did you try blowing on it?"

I'm talking about video cartridges, of course. And as any savvy parent of the '90s knew, blowing into a video game cartridge was the magical way to fix it and get it working again.


Anything. Literally Anything.

Even the most bizarre question you could think of right this minute that can't be answered with a Google search that takes less than 5 seconds to complete. Who was the King of England in 1311? Ask the Internet. What's the quickest route to the mall? Ask the Internet. Why is '90s nostalgia so popular? Ask the Internet.