It seems that the 2000s tend to get the short end of the stick when it comes to nostalgia. There’s no neon polyester, shoulder pads, or even brand new Sky Dancers to remember them by. But quite frankly, being a kid in the 2000s wasn’t all that bad. There were tons of things designed for kids that made the decade quite the treat. Was it as awesome as the 1990s or 1980s? That’s up to you to decide, but here’s some reasons why 2000s childhoods were pretty cool.

#1- Not as many cell phones

Less phone being a good thing? It’s true, especially in the early 2000s. Kids played with toys and roamed the neighborhood until the streetlights turned on. Flip phones were granted as emergency only precautions. There were no iPhones in the hands of young kids, and the creative young mind was developed through play and imagination. That’s not to say that today’s kids are dependent, but it was easy to avoid when the usage simply didn’t exist.

#2- Looking like a kid

Photo: pxhere

Glance at a middle school crowd today and you might wonder whether someone is a student or an older sibling (or even a parent). In the 2000s, it was okay to look like a little kid. There was no Instagram influencer telling you to wear expensive clothes and makeup, and there was little pressure to look older than you were. Compare a picture of a 2000s kid or preteen with one today. The difference is wild.

#3- Music

Maybe there weren’t industry-changing bands like the Grateful Dead or The Rolling Stones making their breaks in the 2000s, but music wasn’t too bad. HitClips, CD players, and other tech leant a certain charm to playing real classics like Hilary Duff. There was music aimed at a younger audience and it was accessible, which isn’t as true today.

#4- The Internet

Photo: flickr.com/ChristiaanColen

Was it slower? Absolutely. Was being a kid online great? 100%, after you were done with the online predators assembly in school, of course. Webkinz, Club Penguin, and Neopetz were just some common landings for 2000s kids. If they still exist today, they’re completely different. The Barbie and Polly Pocket sites will never be the same goldmines that they once were.

#5- Toys

There were some seriously cool toys in the 2000s. Bratz dolls were a huge change from Barbies, with their own stories and games online as well. Cheap toys like Zhu Zhu pets meant you could have a hamster you didn’t have to feed (and that your parents didn’t have to clean up after). Hop on your Razor scooter and head over to your friends to compare your collections of Littlest Pet Shop toys.

#6- Gaming

The Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, and Playstation 3 all came out in this decade. There’s no denying that these players made major waves in the gaming world. New concepts like motion-controlled games, online multiplayer popularity, and fervent fan bases made moving from handheld and offline gaming to the big leagues worth it.

#7- Movies

Many aren’t kid-oriented or kid-appropriate, but there’s no denying that some great movies came out in the 2000s. The Incredibles, Finding Nemo, Monsters Inc, Ratatouille, Mean Girls- there are countless flicks that are still on screens today. There’s also no denying that these originals will always be better than any sequels that may have come out down the line.

#8- School

Photo: Max Pixel

You probably hated going to school as a kid, but look back and appreciate what you had. There wasn’t Common Core math that circumvented all common sense. There was still square pizza for lunch that definitely didn’t comply with government nutrition standards. Playground equipment was definitely a bit more dangerous. Being a kid in school will always feel like it sucks to some degree, but it sure had its perks in the 2000s!