I’m a “Geriatric Millennial” raising a teenager. You may be wondering, what is a geriatric millennial? There are multiple definitions but what I most relate to is the “Oregon Trail Generation.” This is known as a micro-generation of those born between 1980-1985. While my teenager thinks I’m old and uncool at the ripe old age of 40, I beg to differ. Our generation paved the way for theirs regarding technology.
Growing up, we still had landlines in every home and IF you had a car phone in the early ’90s, you were basically the coolest. I remember my friend’s dad had a car phone and I thought it was SO FANCY! The first form of communication I used was a beeper. I still remember getting a beeper for my birthday in middle school and beeping with my friends with the code 911 (because you know, at 12 we had emergencies) or a crush with 143. It was the earliest form of text messaging, y’all.
Now let’s talk about cell phones. Who remembers the big phone Zack Morris totted around the halls of Bayside? I couldn’t wait to get my first cell phone and I finally got one in high school. It was a beautiful Nokia phone and my excitement was off the charts. “Call me after 9, when minutes are unlimited!” my friends and I would tell each other. Nowadays, my teenager uses his phone for everything BUT talking on the phone. How times have changed!
A/O/L? I can still hear the beautiful sound of dial-up and the phrase “you’ve got mail.” There was no bigger struggle in high school than not being able to log onto the internet. It could sometimes take for-ev-er. The struggle was REAL and don’t even think about picking up the landline. My house didn’t have the internet since my parents didn’t think it was a necessity, so I would go to a friend’s house frequently to update my AIM status and burn the latest tunes from Napster.
Once college rolled around, so did Myspace. Do you remember who was in your top 8? We would rank our closest friends and customize our page using HTML codes with flashy backgrounds, photos, and music. And then came Facebook back when you used to have a college email address to join (if you know, you know). While Facebook is now considered the social media platform for “old people” it was once only for the cool hip college kids.
As a geriatric millennial parent, I have seen social media trends come and go. From Myspace to Facebook and Instagram to Snapchat, we have been around for it all. While teenagers may think their parents are “cringey” for being on TikTok, they just have to deal with it. We are used to the ebb and flow of social media and we aren’t going anywhere.