11 Things From Our Youth You Didn’t Know Are Still Around

Hint: It doesn’t include ‘the cartilage in your knees’
11 Things From Our Youth You Didn’t Know Are Still Around

Ah, nostalgia. The sweet emotion of remembering how everything used to be better. Most of the time, it has nothing to do with the actual quality of whatever you're remembering, and instead is more related to the lack of knowledge you held about how cold this world truly is. Still, those TMNT cartoons were fun, huh? If only you could still buy Pogs, your major depressive disorder would be whisked away! Well, for some of those things you assume are dead and gone, I’m here to inform you that, shockingly, they’re still fully around.

Here are 11 things from your childhood that you didn’t know were still kicking…



I took better care of my Neopets than I do my own adult body.

If you were a youth with troublemaking friends and a pet dander allergy, Neopets was the place to be. Like a Tamagotchi with better graphics and less constant defecation, you could have a delightful virtual pet. Even better, there was a bunch of confusing, unsettling lore that involved a world called Neopia and omelettes. You could raise your little Shoryu, a species of Neopet I’m disappointed to say I didn’t have to look up, deck them out in different colors with paintbrushes, and trade accessories with people who might have been pedophiles. Amazingly, Neopets is still live and accessible (your Neopets are starving); to the tune, in fact, of one million active monthly users.


Popular understanding of what’s healthy changes from decade to decade. During the 1990s, the prevailing thought was that anything that was orange was good for you because it was obviously full of vitamin C. At the time, you would have thought that vitamin C was the single most important vitamin to the human body. Parents acted like if you didn’t get enough, someone was going to put you into the foster system. One popular source, thanks to connections to space travel and a monkey mascot, was powdered drink Tang. A drink that you’d be forgiven for thinking has long soaked into the sands of time, like Surge or Fruitopia. Today, Tang is still very popular around the world, and was posting nearly a billion dollars in sales as recently as 2016.

Audio CDs

It’s hard to overstate the level of social currency one could gain with a good mix CD back in the day. The contents of the little faux-leather CD case shoved into your shitty car’s center console was paramount, something that could make or break your entry into a group of peers. Of course, somewhat inconveniently sized, easily scratchable media was quickly phased out with the introduction of MP3 players and streaming. Audio CDs, though, are more than just a way to prop up computer speakers these days. In the year of our lord 2023, CD sales actually increased, thanks to audiophiles who crave the high-quality audio files CDs can contain, unworried about internet speeds. Some people also prefer to have physical media, so they can have something to talk a date’s ear off about in their apartment.

Spanking in School

Okay, this one is less fun and more traumatic, which is even more of a resounding reason it’s crazy that it’s still around. Most people in the modern world are in agreement that corporal punishment, aka smacking your kid around, isn’t an ideal way to raise your child — unless you want them to have a complicated personality and something exciting to work through in therapy. And if parents can’t do it, teachers definitely can’t do it either, right? 

That depends on where you are. In over a quarter of the states in the U.S., schools are still allowed to use corporal punishment. We’re not talking just ruler-raps on knuckles, either. They can full-on paddle your sweet child’s cheeks, no permission slip needed.



Its 2 a.m. Your 14-year-old eyes are bloodshot, and youre clicking as quietly as possible on the family computer.

Remember how much you hated chores as a kid? Boo! Picking up my clothes off the bedroom floor? Why not send me to a sweatshop, mother? I could be doing something way more fun, like mining and smelting pretend metal ore online in RuneScape for five hours straight! RuneScape, a free MMO for children whose parents were responsible with credit-card access, was a staple of the 90s indoor kids repertoire. If youve ever fondly remembered the days of getting your account hacked because someone told you your password would turn into stars if you typed it in global chat, good news! RuneScape isnt only still around and hugely active, but theres over 2 million people a day playing Old School RuneScape, a version specifically built to resemble the good old days.

Phone Books

Arguments for the continued existence of things like audio CDs, vinyl and physical media in general may be usually piloted by annoying people, but they do have their merits. One that’s a little harder to defend, especially in a paper-conscious era, is the existence of the phone book. Once a well-worn tome with grease stains near your preferred pizza place’s number, the white and yellow pages used to be essential for finding contact information of local people and businesses. Now, well, the internet. Despite that, phone books are still produced and distributed, in no small part because of Boomers who can’t find a plumber on Angie’s List without accidentally giving out their social security number three or four times.


This one’s a double-whammy, given that not only do the TV ads for quintessential remote college DeVry University seem like a relic of the past, but that they were repeatedly sued for false advertising. You’d think between the lack of interest, legal trouble and overwhelmingly poor publicity, DeVry would have long shuttered their virtual doors. Not so! If you’ve got a gullible, degree-needing friend, they can enroll in DeVry this very day. It could be your first step toward being included in a future class-action lawsuit!


Surely not. The spam-mail titan that existed to fill your mailbox with free trial CDs that would serve as LAN party drink coasters can’t have survived. You’re telling me America Online somehow made it through the dotcom bubble bursting, like an already half-obsolete dinosaur somehow hunkering through the Ice Age? I am indeed. Not only that, they’re still collecting monthly fees from 1.5 million (old) people. Pretty good gig if you can land it, continuing to collect profit simply based on the fact that grandchildren are too exasperated to try to explain to gram-gram that AOL is not “the internet” and vice versa.


Theimo Schuff

In the wreckage of a nuclear world war, these would be sitting around at 70-percent battery.

Why would anyone still have a pager, given that at about the same size, you could instead strap to your hip, uh, everything that ever existed? Its a reasonable question. Theres probably a good percentage of the younger population that doesnt even understand what a pager is. If youre among them, it was a little machine that performed the single function of letting you know youd missed someones call. Narrow cone of benefit there. Pagers, though, are still in regular use, and not as just a dumbphone alternative to people trying to wean themselves off of social media. It’s mostly due to a single use-case: doctors. A whopping 85 percent of hospitals are still putting all their communication eggs in the pager basket.


Speaking of antiquated hardware meant to destroy work-life balance, another heavy hitter was the classic Blackberry. There was nary a lawyer or a government employee whose family dinners weren’t interrupted by the buzzing of the iconic plastic brick on their hip. The iPhone obviously made a bloody pulp of the once mighty device, and you would be correct in thinking that the phones themselves are no longer on sale. BlackBerry the company, however, forges onward, in a surprising space: cybersecurity and smart car operating systems. Sure, why not?

Travel Agencies

A travel agency is most often seen as a storefront in ’90s period pieces. Why would you bother going into a brick-and-mortar location, or even liaising over the phone or e-mail, when you could head to some website named something like Travelocibitz and handle it all yourself, without involving a middleman? Well, if you’ve ever had a self-booked trip go absolutely tits-up, you might understand how nice it would be to have someone to yell at Delta on your behalf. Plenty of people still book through travel agents (now known primarily as travel advisors). I have a hunch the age breakdown might skew advanced, but it’s far from a dead industry. Bon voyage!

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