Being a teen in the 2010s: a delightful trip down memory lane


The passage from childhood to teenage years is a big deal for everyone. Still, my generation went through an exciting experience because of the technological advancements that took place in our teen years.

We literally went from playing outside all day to texting each other in class on tiny phones and later creating social media profiles on smartphones bigger than our hands. It doesn’t sound like much, but looking back, I wouldn’t change anything about my chaotic growing-up experience.

You were a VIP if you had your own mobile phone

Most of us were using our parents’ or siblings’ old phones. Getting a brand new cell phone on your birthday was almost unheard of at that point. Back then, we only had the basic keypad model, flip-phones, and the fanciest, the slide-phone. Most of them couldn’t connect to the internet, and when they did, it costed a fortune, so we had to make do with classical messaging services.

The best thing about these old-fashioned phones was that you could hold them under the desk and text in class while looking the teacher in the eye. They were so small and easy to conceal in your boot, and everything was easy once you memorized the keyboard. I can’t write two sentences on the touchscreen without making a ton of mistakes, autocorrect and all, which makes me miss the simpler times.

I was a big fan of flip phones, so I kept mine throughout high school. It was covered in colorful stickers, had amazing speakers and a memory card full of photos and my favorite music. I reluctantly switched to a smartphone when I started university.


We had all kinds of music

Imagine a world without Lady Gaga. Then, in the glorious year 2008, Just Dance came out and everything changed forever.

At that point, a lot was happening on the music stage: we still had pop legends such as Michael Jackson, Madonna, David Bowie, and Prince. Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera fought for the Princess of Pop title. Then Beyonce came strong and claimed the crown. Young bands such as NSync and Backstreet Boys were all over the music channels. Hannah Montana and The Jonas Brothers were the biggest teen icons. How time flies! I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that they have started families. Does anybody remember Tokio Hotel? Or Rebelde?

Nostalgic much? Check out these amazing songs that shaped our teen years!

My point is there was an explosion of new musical projects, each with their sound. As a teen back in the day, I listened to everything from 80s hits to all the artists mentioned above. I discovered Metallica and Rammstein when I was about 12, and they are still my comfort bands to this day.


EMO was a thing

Described as a trend or a subculture, the Emo wave hit Romania in the late 2010s. Nobody knew exactly what it was exactly, but I remember seeing teens dyeing their hair black, wearing black skinny jeans and T-shirts, wearing eyeliner, and listening to so-called ‘Emo bands.’  Some kids adopted these habits just to be cool, while others genuinely felt that this style represented their inner world.

If I were to define it, the Emo current was the epitome of teen angst, emphasizing misanthropy, asocial behavior, and a grim outlook on life and society. As for me, I was never a fashionable person; the Emo craze came and went, but I wasn’t part of it.


Anime was for losers…until it became cool

When I was a teen, talking about anime was like confessing you were still sleeping with your Teddy bear. Anime was seen as childish because of the art style, even though they addressed all kinds of subjects, and some were violent. Of course, I liked those ones the best. Anime had been a part of my life since kindergarten when I was a diehard Pokemon fan; then I moved on to Shaman King, Yu Yu Hakusho, Hellsing, and so on.

The negative perception changed once Naruto came out; it appealed to many children and teens. Anime was no longer a taboo among them but a bonding experience. I could never get into Naruto, but I was glad it helped people discover the anime world.

Speaking of anime, take a look at this list of the best and most expected anime of 2021!


Internet was a privilege when I was a teen

Most families had only one computer in the living room; we were allowed to play only after finishing our homework under our parents’ watch. We got Internet when I was ten years old. The connection was so bad it would take forever to load a single page. All the Internet Explorer memes are based on my generation’s suffering.

Back then, the only social media we used was hi5, a weird crossover between Myspace and online forums. We used to talk on Yahoo!Messenger, send cute emoticons and whatnot. As a result, most of us still type ‘: ))’ as a laughing emoji. Is this what people would call cringe nowadays? Maybe, but back then, the more emoticons combinations you knew, the cooler you were.

And then – Facebook happened. You didn’t exist if you didn’t have a Facebook account. I made mine when I started high school, exactly a decade ago. Today I barely use it anymore.


Now that’s what I call a trip down memory lane! What was your favorite thing from your teen years? What do you miss most? Let me know in the comments below!


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