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What Teens Did a Decade Ago That They Don’t Do Anymore

Here are 15 things teenagers were loving a decade ago in 2009 that are all but forgotten by their modern counterparts.

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Group of teenagers sitting outdoors using their mobile phonesAnatoliy Cherkas/Shutterstock

Ever-changing fads

Teen taste is mercurial. Today’s VSCO Girl was yesterday’s Harajuku Girl. Vine videos once occupied their every waking moment instead of TikTok. Sometimes trends get recycled by the high school set—see ’90s mini bags and midi skirts making a comeback in 2019—and sometimes what they just had to have then is something today’s youth wouldn’t be caught dead in. Read on for the things today’s teens wouldn’t be caught dead doing, then take a deeper dive into the past by finding out what school was like 100 years ago.

twilight movie castKathy Hutchins/Shutterstock

Join Team Jacob or Team Edward

Twilight mania was in full swing. The Stephenie Meyer novels (released 2005-2008) about sparkling vampires, fierce werewolves, and the girl who loves both of them in the Pacific Northwest dominated bestseller lists for years after their release. The movies based on them, including New Moon, which hit theaters in 2009, were blockbusters that turned Robert “Edward” Pattinson and Taylor “Jacob” Lautner into warring heartthrobs. The debates (Which actor is hotter? Who should Bella end up with? Would you pick a bloodsucker or a Lycan?) sprang from the screen to real life and divided friends. Pretty sure today’s teens just think they’re old. That is if they even think of them at all. Brush up on this pop culture trivia people always get wrong before your next game night.

msn hotmailShutterstock

Have a Hotmail account

Hotmail, which started in 1996 and was acquired by Microsoft in 1997 for $400 million, was the leading provider of free web-based email services until well past Gmail’s launch in 2004, according to Geek.com. But the software giant released the final version in October 2011, was replaced by Outlook in 2012, and by the summer of 2013, Microsoft had migrated all 350 million hotties to the newer system according to Fast Company. Now teens are more likely to use Gmail just like more than 1 billion other folks around the world.

pile of old dirty used cd,cds,dvd,technology junk concept.MoSiwa/Shutterstock

Own CDs

Introduced in the ’80s, people moved away from cassettes and vinyl (which interestingly is making a comeback) and started buying music on compact discs. But in 2018, Rolling Stone reported that CD sales had fallen 80 percent over the past decade from roughly 450 million to 89 million and now automakers like Tesla, Toyota, and Ford don’t even bother to equip new models with CD players. Kids had already started to digitize their collections and download new music to their MP3 players by 2009. Now even downloads are on the outs as streaming becomes king. They plummeted 58 percent since peaking in 2012, making their profits even smaller than physical sales.

apple ipod shuffleimageBROKER/Shutterstock

Download music to an iPod Shuffle

This one isn’t limited to teens either. The iPod was the must-have gadget of the aughts. In 2005, Apple released the smaller, cheaper, wearable models called the Nano and the Shuffle. But after the iPhone was invented (2007) and as smartphones became more advanced, people started storing music on those instead. Why carry two pieces of tech when one can do all the jobs? (This same theory was also the downfall of stand-alone cameras.) And as we already established above, people now prefer streaming to downloading. Apple responded by discontinuing both models in 2017.

Cali Swag District GroupMatt Sayles/AP/Shutterstock

Teach you how to Dougie

Teens are too busy doing the Floss, the Dab, the Shiggy, the Milly Rock, and the Shoot to remember the dance move spawned by the Cali Swag District song “Teach Me How To Dougie.” The corresponding video brought the dance and the rappers a few years of fame, according to the Los Angeles Times. Justin Bieber taught Regis, Kelly Ripa, and Ellen Degeneres how to do it. Ryan Seacrest and Jennifer Lopez busted the move on American Idol. There were parodies like “Teach Me How To Panda.” The rappers played teen clubs, car shows, and everything in between, but eventually, their star faded.

Beyonce PerformanceShutterstock

Copying Beyonce’s Single Ladies moves from MTV

Everyone was trying to ace Beyonce’s sexy but complicated “Single Ladies” choreography found in the black and white music video and spoofed on SNL by Justin Timberlake and Andy Samberg. (See if any of her smooth moves make the list of sexiest dance moves as reported in a Scientific Reports study.) Oh and speaking of music videos, 2019 teens don’t have much use for them either and even when they do want to watch one, it sure as heck isn’t on MTV, the network that pioneered music television.

glee television showMoviestore/Shutterstock

Sing along with Glee

On May 19, 2009, the world was introduced to a group of loveable misfits with a song in their hearts from Lima, Ohio, the earnest choir club coach, and the wickedly funny Sue Sylvester on the FOX musical Glee. The high school musical, creator Ryan Murphy, and its cast became household names, it made Journey cool again, and it earned high praise for dealing with coming out, homophobia, teen pregnancy, disabilities, grief, abuse, and other important issues with aplomb and good intentions. There was merch, concert tours, soundtracks, and a few Golden Globes. It aired until March 2015 but had already lost most of its steam after cast changes and the drug overdose of lead Cory Monteith in 2013.

Young female model wearing colorful bracelets/Vibrant Is Always BetterVictor Jones/Shutterstock

Line their wrists with Silly Bandz

Speaking of Ohio, Toledo’s Robert Croak and his company, Brainchild Products, created a national fashion craze with the 2006 introduction of Silly Bandz, cheap rubbery bracelets that came in endless shapes and colors including cowboy boots, dinosaurs, musical instruments, and dollar signs that were inspired by a similar product Croak saw at a convention in China. According to an interview with Inc., they were selling more than a million packs a week at the peak in 2008 and storeowners would drive to their headquarters from other states to buy them because they could not get through on the phone to reorder. Several schools banned them for being distracting and causing fights. Although they, along with a few copycats, are still made, sales started to slow in 2010. Nowadays, wrists are reserved for fitness trackers and scrunchies.

facebook on phone screenPe3k/Shutterstock

Use Facebook

Sorry, Mark Zuckerberg, but today’s teens have no use for your social network. For one, their parents are on it and think its cool. Gross. And two, Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok are much more their speed. But back in 2009, MySpace was so over and they rushed to establish an online presence on Facebook. They were wild about the like button.

screenshot of farmville gameSimon Belcher/imageBROKER/Shutterstock

Send you a FarmVille neighbor request

From August 2009 to December 2010, FarmVille was the top game by daily active users on Facebook. It seemed like everyone was seeing if they had a green thumb for interactive online digital farming. You’d plow, plant, and harvest crops as well as collect chicken eggs and milk cows for hours. All of your friends in the real world had to endure constant requests for help and to become neighbors. (See also Mob Wars and Lil Green Patch.) But now those crops would wither and die unattended as that age group can’t be pulled away from Fortnite. No matter what your game of choice, studies show that gaming can rewire player brains.

britney spears velour tracksuitSteve Levy/Shutterstock

Wear velour tracksuits

In the late ’90s, tracksuits started to make a major comeback thanks to thumbs ups from music industry titans of the time like Jay-Z and Sporty Spice. By the 2000s, super comfy updated versions of ’70s velour numbers made by companies like Juicy Couture became the de facto uniform of teen queens like Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears, and Paris Hilton for coffee runs, shopping outings, mani-pedi appointments, and casual lunches. By 2010, the suits were a global phenomenon with 100 stand-alone stores in the United States alone. Maybe teens stopped thinking they were cool when their moms started bouncing around town with Juicy emblazoned across their bums. And while the athleisure trend continues today, it has morphed to be more about leggings, bralettes, and Billie Eilish-approved oversized hoodies. Likewise, these 11 fashion trends never should have happened.

the hangover movieSnap Stills/Shutterstock

Quote The Hangover

“Not you fat Jesus! In the face! You are literally too stupid to insult. What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. Except for herpes.” The Vegas bachelor party gone wrong film starring Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, and Zach Galifianakis had so many memorable one-liners and everyone was trying to casually work them into conversations. Even teens who either had cool parents, snuck into the rated-R movie, or just faked it until they made it. (Which might have led to a misquote or two. Check out the most notoriously botched movie quotes.) Today, the movie is not available to stream on Netflix, which means most teens haven’t seen it. They are much more likely to borrow jokes from another Ed Helms’ project that is. According to Nielsen’s research, The Office was the most matched show on Netflix in 2018 with 52 million minutes streamed.

Miranda Cosgrove iCarly 2007-2012Nickleodeaon Network/Schneider'S Bakery/Kobal/Shutterstock

Leave the house looking like this

They’d probably rather die than leave the house wearing any of these big-in-2009 trends: super long cuffed trouser jeans, bootcut jeans, super low-cut jeans especially the ones with decorative zippers or buttons, kitten heels with boot-cut jeans, fedoras (boys), baker boy hats (girls), really plain ribbed tank tops, cropped shrugs especially with a little military uniform-like flair, super chunky thigh-high moto boots, harem pants, and egg-shaped dresses. As they’d say with an eyeroll, “That’s a lewk.”

miley cyrus hannah montanaDave Allocca/Starpix/Shutterstock

Refer to Miley Cyrus as Hannah Montana

And this role amnesia is mostly the actress/singer’s own doing. She’s done everything in her power—divorce a Hemsworth brother, twerk up on Robin Thicke at an awards show, constantly stick out her tongue, date women, wear any of these outfits, appear naked on a wrecking ball and in a latex bondage suit with a studded crotch in music videos, get all these tattoos, talk about her love of marijuana, and so on—to make the world forget that she was once the star of a beloved, wholesome Disney Channel show. Miley/Hannah is also on the list of things that kids did a decade ago that they don’t today.

kim kardashianMatt Baron/BEI/Shutterstock

Bump It

Hair bumps, big and small, were all the rage in 2009. To make hair-raising experiences easier to achieve without the help of a salon professional, women and girls turned to as-seen-on-TV plastic inserts called BumpIts. The set came with large versions to get a Kim Kardashian coif and minis to create the small front poofs the teen queens all sported. Made by Big Happie Hair, Time included them on their 50 Worst Inventions list. Don’t miss the 10 scents every millennial will instantly recognize from their childhood.

Carrie Bell
Carrie Bell is a Los Angeles-based writer who has been covering travel, entertainment, food, and other culture/lifestyle topics for nearly two decades. Her work has appeared in Reader’s Digest, People, Yahoo, Cosmopolitan, Fodor’s, and Bridal Guide and she is Southern California specialist for TripSavvy. She earned a BA in journalism at Humboldt State University in only three years and co-authored The Bathtub Reader: An Amusing Miscellany for the Discerning Mademoiselle.