Welp, it’s official — millennial parents are now just as out of touch as we once thought our parents were (Sorry, Mom… you were actually the coolest!). First came the bombshell about our flip-flops. Now, it’s the fact that some of the phrases that come so naturally to us are practically a foreign language to our kids, a realization TikTok mom Caitlyn Rhorer has gone viral for sharing.
“My kids were watching something the other day, and I said, ‘Change the channel.’ They were like, ‘What’s a channel?'” Rhorer shared in a video that has since racked up nearly 1 million views. “It had never occurred to me that, since we stream everything now, they don’t have channels. So, they have no idea what a channel is.”
Oof. That’s sobering.
Granted, this isn’t necessarily true for everyone. Some people still have cable or use satellite. YouTube users have “Channels,” which helps some kids become more familiar with the phrase. However, as many (many) parents flocked to the comments to confirm, when it comes to watching TV the way we millennials did growing up, kids today could never.
“The first time my son saw a commercial at his Grandpa’s house, he lost it 😂,” shared Ron. “He was like 3 and thought his show ended.”
“My daughter asked me if we could have a surprise TV like at her Grandmother’s house where we don’t have to pick the show, the TV picks for you,” said another commenter.
Added Rebekah, “My nephew asked me what the box with a small door was on it… it was a vcr 🤦🏻♀️”
And then there was this particularly painful admission: “I was watching Friends on regular TV not too long ago, and my son asked if that episode was a REPOST 😳”
Alas, the ways in which we parents are but one outdated phrase away from crumbling into dust in the wind extends far beyond just TV.
“Going to a house with an old school refrigerator, my kid can’t figure out how to get ice,” wrote Phantom.
“Ask them what a fax machine is. My daughter’s answer was great,” wrote Mare Theriault. “Oh, also… ask what time it is at a quarter past four. It’s pretty great.”
Many parents also mentioned how kids mime using the phone. We used the “hang loose” hand symbol when talking on an imaginary phone, but most kids just pretend to hold a cell phone to their ear.
All this magnificent change might make you wonder what’s to come, and you’re not the only one. “My husband and I just talked about this with ‘hanging up the phone’ and if it’ll ever happen to ‘gas stations’ with EVs,” shared a commenter named Laney.
It’s… a lot. But once you get over the initial gut punch of facing your own mortality, it’s kind of amazing to think about how much technology has changed our daily lives and routines in just a generation.
We don’t “hang up the phone” because we’re no longer attached to landlines that sit in phone cradles in our homes. We don’t “change the channel” because most of us who watch television do so from within apps instead of live or on “old school” television channels.
While our kids’ lives look and sound different than ours, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. These two changes alone offer us more insight into their lives, where they’re going, and if they’re safe — not to mention it makes it easier to monitor what media they’re inhaling each week.
If you mull over it for a bit, you might remember saying or hearing (and now not hearing) some of these other phrases:
- Roll down the window.
- Turn it down “a notch.”
- Can you dial a number for me?
- Be kind. Rewind.
- All I hear is a busy signal.
Obviously, in some households with OG parents, these phrases may make sense. Every family is different, just like each generation comes with its own quirks — mostly thanks to the changes in technology and lifestyles that happen from year to year. And, honestly, that’s a good thing.
Still, these little reminders from our kids that we’re not the young ones anymore will always sting a little.
As one astute commenter quipped, “Thanks, now I must go headstone shopping.”