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Throwbacks Culture & Media

7 Throwbacks That Are Better Than Their Replacements

Haley Zapal  |  June 27, 2019


Being a kid in 2019 isn’t all that different from being a kid in 1989. There’ll always be some universal childhood constants — things like bike riding in the summer, fighting bedtime to stay up just a little bit later, and asking your parents a million questions. But one thing has changed, and that’s technology. Kids today are the first generation to grow up with smartphones, the internet, and social media. The high-tech toys, gadgets, and devices they have access to today are extraordinary.

Fortunately, they haven’t all come from completely out of the blue. Many of the things we played with as kids have simply been updated for modern times. In this post, we take a look at seven memorable throwbacks from our childhood and compare them to their modern-day counterparts. Sit back, buckle up, and prepare to take a ride through some heavy nostalgia.

Rubix Cube

Rubix Cube — The Original Fidget Spinner

Everyone had one, but no one could solve it. Back before fidget spinners, these brightly colored cubes kept kids busy trying to figure them out. That is until enterprising youngsters started peeling the stickers off.

Blockbuster Video

Blockbuster Video  — The Original Netflix

We can still remember the pain of browsing the shelves and reaching behind a movie to find nothing but air, our hopes of watching Hocus Pocus dashed, and our Friday night sleepover plans completely ruined. Now with Netflix, everyone’s chillin’ at home, too cool to even drive to the nearest Red Box. And that’s fine — just never get rid of The Office!

Rand McNally Atlas

Rand McNally Atlas — The Original Google Maps

We’d all be lost if it weren’t for Google Maps, even if we were only headed to the grocery store around the corner. But Google wasn’t always around to guide us. For all of our navigational needs, we used to turn to our Rand McNally Atlases. These usually lived folded up and laminated in the family minivan’s glove compartment, lying in wait for your folks to pull out at a rest stop when you definitely weren’t lost. Again.

Card Catalogue

Card Catalog — The Original Google

Back before we had Google, Wikipedia, or Encarta, we had the dusty wooden catalog and a librarian named Muriel. Oh, and who was this Dewey character anyway? And why did we care about his decimal system?!?

Paper football

Paper Footballs — The Original Madden

Kids today have Madden, Fortnite, and Mario Kart, but we had paper footballs. We can still feel the glory of flicking a field goal through the finger goalposts when the teacher’s back was turned. Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Get Detention.

Double Dare

Double Dare — The Original YouTube Challenge

Kids have been jumping at the opportunity to do ridiculous stunts forever. Today, that means a different viral challenge-of-the-week that immediately gets posted online. Back in the day, though, we did Physical Challenges on TV, ones that let us get absolutely filthy or pick a comically huge nose — all for a free pair of Reeboks and a Yamaha keyboard.

Book Fair

Scholastic Book Fair — The Original Kindle

Back before Amazon and Kindles, we bought books the old-fashioned way: from roving carts that appeared like magic once a year in the school library. The best part? Comparing treasures on the bus ride home and using those snazzy new bookmarks.


Technology is a double-edged sword: it brings people and families closer than ever before, but it can also present serious risks for kids. Some of these threats are things our generation never had to worry about — things like cyberbullying and increased rates of depression.

Fortunately, to help families navigate life in the digital age, there’s Bark. By monitoring texts, emails, YouTube, and 24+ social media platforms, Bark allows families to work together against online threats. for a free one-week trial!

Bark helps families manage and protect their children’s digital lives.

mother and daughter discussing Bark Parental Controls