Tech Graveyard: 18-21 Year Olds Don’t Know What Dial-Up Internet, HitClips Or Floppy Discs Are


With many Britons growing up with computers, games consoles and smartphones, a new study has looked into what technology young Britons are aware of from years gone by – with the majority having never heard of dial-up internet, HitClips or floppy discs. From one extreme to another, the majority are aware of Tamagotchis, Polaroid cameras and vinyl thanks to their recent revivals.

When asked about millennial technology and gadgets form years gone by, the majority of young Britons aged 18 to 21 years old have never heard of dial-up internet, HitClips or floppy discs. Whilst the majority have heard of Tamagotchis, Polaroid cameras and vinyl, almost half of them believed these to be new things and weren’t aware that they were simply making a comeback.

The team behind VoucherCodesPro carried out the research as part of an ongoing study into how technology has changed over the years. 2,102 Britons aged 18 to 21 years old were quizzed about technology that millennials (those born between ’84 and ‘04) would have used whilst they were growing up.

Retro TV and phone

Firstly, all respondents were asked ‘Did you have access to a computer as a child?’ to which 86% of respondents said ‘yes’. When asked if they had their own games console as a child, 72% of respondents said that they did – with an ‘Xbox’ (43%) and ‘PlayStation’ (39%) topping the list of consoles owned.

All respondents were then asked ‘Did your first ever mobile phone have a built-in mp3 player, camera and additional functions, other than just the ability to call and text?’ to which 74% said ‘yes’.

Wanting to determine how much they knew about the technology that came before them, all respondents were provided with an extensive list of various technology and gadgets that were used by millennials whilst they were growing up. When asked to select all those they weren’t aware of, the top 10 items that respondents hadn’t heard of were as follows:

  1. Dial-up internet – 97% (had no idea what this was)
  2. HitClips – 96%
  3. Floppy disc – 90%
  4. Nintendo 64 – 85%
  5. Sega Mega Drive – 82%
  6. A pager – 79%
  7. A Walkman/Discman – 72%
  8. Cassette tapes – 56%
  9. Game Boy – 43%
  10. MSN Messenger – 42%

Those who had heard of various items that the majority weren’t aware of were asked how they knew what these were, with the top responses being ‘my older siblings/parents still have these items around the house’ (41%) and ‘they were handed down to me’ (16%).

At the opposite end of the scale, the top items that young Britons were aware of from the millennial period were ‘Tamagotchis’ (94%), ‘Polaroid cameras’ (91%) and ‘Vinyl’ (90%). When asked how they were so aware of these, the majority of respondents (45%) cited ‘these are new things’, whilst 33% were aware that these items or brands were ‘making a comeback’ and weren’t new.

George Charles, spokesperson for commented:

“Every generation is different, but it’s always funny when you compare your own upbringing to those much younger than yourself. Whilst there’s not a huge age gap between millennials and young Britons these days, the ways they were brought up and the items they were brought up with are greatly different. It’s funny that they don’t know what dial-up internet is, and great advancements have been made, but we definitely need to let these youngsters know we played with Tamagotchi’s and listened to vinyl first. We were cool once too!”