Young Gen X/old millenials: what was it like growing up in the 80s?

I'm 34, born in '81, so technically on the cusp, but I solidly identify as Gen X. Computers were never a part of my daily life until I was 18 and out of high school. Anything I wanted (never required) to be typed was done on an electric typewriter, any research for a school project was done at the library. Picking a topic for the science fair, for example, was limited to what I could learn about in my school textbook. In elementary school my absolute favorite thing was Weekly Readers, a little newspaper published by Scholastic for kids. The end of the Cold War was my favorite thing to read about. There were regularly articles on the USSR and the Berlin Wall.

We did have Apple IIes computers in school, which were very out of date when I was in school. It would be like have a Macintosh desktop circa 1993 to use now. The only thing the Apples were good for were Oregon Trail, the best computer game ever, so it wasn't all bad.

My small town district, the administrators, the teachers, the parents, no one, cared about updating. It was a non-issue. That's a huge deference between then-and-now, there was no value put on learning, using, understanding modern technology. Computers were seen as something for scientists, not school kids or every day people. This attitude was clearly changing, but it hadn't trickled down to small towns yet.

My middle school got one Web TV, and all we had access to was the most basic, ridiculously limited encyclopedia (website? program?) to look things up. It was easier, and had more information, just to still use the actual encyclopedia. Finally in high school, in 11th or 12th grade (1998-99), my school library got a computer with internet access--one computer--and I don't remember ever using it. I did go to the public library about once a week and get on the internet there.

My freshman year in college I bought a computer, an eMachine. I had AOL, dial-up of course, and shared the phone line with my family. They hated me "hogging" the line, so I would go to my college computer lab when I could to use the internet. The computer lab was almost always empty, there wasn't any type of login or passwords required, printing was free.

Within literally a couple years after I graduate high school, new computers with internet access were very common in every household, schools, libraries. If you didn't have one at home, your friend did, or you'd just go to the library. From, say, 1995 to 2000, computers and the internet went from being a very novel thing that only a few people had, to just being a normal part of every day life. But, wow, how the internet has even changed from then to now.

/r/GenX Thread