The best bits of Queanbeyan and surrounds.

Top 5 things my Gen Z Queanbeyan teenagers just don’t understand

Top 5 things my Gen Z Queanbeyan teenagers just don’t understand

There’s no denying that there has always been a generational gap between parents who think they’re still cool and their teenagers who think they’re cringe AF.

These past two decades have seen a massive shift as the Gen Z move in and their pre-internet parents move out. Well kids, listen up, because it wasn’t all this music and movies on tap, TikTokking, Snapchatting, ‘tap and go’ perks. We’ve come up with the top 5 things (we know there are literally hundreds!) that our teenagers just have no concept of.

1. “Pranking” people.

Where’s the pink Motorola flip phone??

Recently when picking up my daughter from Campbell and George, her Aunty had said “Just prank me when you get here”, easy. So, as we drove down George Street, I handed my teenager my phone and said, “Can you prank Melissa”, *blank teenage stare*, “Prank her!!” I yelled. “What do you mean??!!” she yelled back.


Turns out my 14-year-old thought pranking someone meant calling and asking if ‘Amanda Hugnkiss’ was there. She had never heard of the concept of calling someone and hanging up to notify them of something incredibly important like “I’m out the front” or “I got home safe”. The days when you paid per minute to make a call on your mobile and were working on Maccas minimum wage, you had to get creative ok? You would never waste your hard-earned dining room shift pay on a 25c text just to say “here”. Besides, you could only message back if you were with the same phone company. Lol. 

2. Smoking inside.

Standard 1980s birthday party. Nothing to see here.

Remember when Mooseheads had that dingey little smoking area out the back overlooking the alleyway? (Why was I even in there?? I don’t even smoke?!)

Or when walking into the upstairs at the Royal your lungs just got assaulted with durry smoke? Then when you came home, you had to get straight into the shower, because your hair and clothes absolutely reeked of smoke, and you didn’t want to make your bed smell?

You’d have to hang your denim jacket up outside just to air the smoke out of it. When making a reservation at a restaurant, they asked if you wanted to sit in the smoking or non-smoking section. No one batted an eyelid when your co-workers lit up a dart in the APS office or school staff room, and seeing your aunty strike up a red head match while your uncle rolled his own Winfield Golds, well that was just a common household occurrence.

Smoking on planes and in cars with all the windows rolled up and the kids in the back was perfectly acceptable. These days my kids gag and their eyes water if they even get a whiff of cigarette smoke – my youngest even asked me what an ashtray was the other day! Thank God the days of passive smoking are over, don’t even get me started on vaping though. 

3. Favouring days of the week based on what TV show was on.

An iconic 90s TV moment on ‘Melrose Place’.

Kids these days with their bajillion streaming services, complaining there is nothing to watch.. ammiright?


They can binge a whole season (or more) and not have to wait to find out who killed Dr. Michael Mancini?! Try getting one half or hour episode of a show PER WEEK kids! Waiting all damn week, watching the same annoying teaser ad on repeat. Days weren’t known by their traditional names, they were known as their TV show, there was Dawson’s Creek night, 90210 night and Melrose Place night, Twin Peaks night, X-Files night, Friends night, Party of Five night, South Park night, Felicity night etc etc and if two shows were on at the same time you better get that VHS set up to record and pray that you had enough space left on that tape.

While there was always something to watch while Aaron Spelling was still alive, some days  were just way better than others.. Luke Perry night for example.

4. Paying with cash and cheques.

Did everyone else’s mum have this wallet and keychain combo in the 80s?

Remember when you needed money, you’d just look in mum’s glomesh purse and there’d always be a fiver or some loose coins?

I can’t even remember the last time I used my wallet. Having to pay cash for something these days is literally the most stressful, inconvenient thing you could ask me to do. My 10-year-old even asked me what a cheque was the other day and it was actually kind of difficult to explain!

Back in the mid to late 90s when I worked at a great little discount Queanbeyan grocery store called Franklins, people often paid by Cheque or Credit, which required a little more time and effort to process. The cheque was run through the register, but the credit card had to actually be processed with an old school chick chick (manual credit card) machine that transferred the card details onto a paper slip. You even had to get the customer to sign it and check that the signature matched the one on the back of the card!

The most common form of paying though was actually cold hard cash, imagine it kids, people just walked around with a wad of fifties stacked in their wallets, I even had to count the change back to them and everything! My kids could never. 

5. CDs.

He better be looking for ‘Jagged Little Pill’.

Setting up your music for a long drive was so problematic in the 90s. If you weren’t rich enough to afford a CD stacker in your boot, and I wasn’t, then you would have to have all your CDs within arm’s reach on the front passenger seat. Thank God there was no such thing as traffic cameras back then.

The giant CD pouch was your best friend and if you started driving and left it under the seat where you had to hide it every time you locked your car, then you were up shit creek, stuck listening to Usher on repeat. Why do you think us Gen Xers know all these RnB song lyrics?

When burning your own CDs became a thing and you could listen to multiple artists on the same CD, man we were top shit. My kids have to queue a Spotify playlist every time we go to Woolies. They cringe at the thought of having to buy each album individually, and they weren’t cheap. My first CD single was bought from the Grace Bros music section and was Kiss from a Rose by Seal. Someone stole it at a party I went to, and I was pretty pissed. So pissed I actually decided to dye my hair black … And then instantly regretted it. 

For more Queanbeyan news, like Q! News on Facebook and follow us on Instagram.

About the Author: Holly Winchester

Part Jennifer Coolidge, part Jennifer Garner (gaudy and geeky), Holly idolises Dolly Parton and Princess Di and loves NRL. When she's not creating killer content, you’ll find Holly at the Maccas drive thru getting her chai latte fix or buying 1990s memorabilia for the walls of her Googong home. Specialist subject: the Woolies carpark.