RIP The Phone Call, Another Extinct Y2K Trend…

Ringing a friend has reached the end of the line, a new report has found.

gen z phone call

by Joe Stone |
Published on

It's among the greatest ironies of modern life that Gen Z spend 16 hours a day glued to their phones, but would rather be seen sporting a cheugy side-parting than answer the thing. New research has found that a quarter of people aged 18 to 34 have never once answered their mobile, with 70% preferring a text to a call.

It’s a far cry from Millennial youth, when a busy school day comparing Nokia ringtones would culminate in a four-hour phone call that began the second you arrived home and covered such important topics as what had happened that day, what could potentially happen the next day and who was the hottest member of Westlife (we are still #TeamKian). What once seemed like a pleasant waste of time feels like a radical act of self-care in the era of doom scrolling. As we bid RIP to the joys of a meandering call, here are five other Y2K-era trends that Gen Z will never understand...

Hanging out IRL

Forget the Met Gala, in 2005 the place to see and be seen was your local park. Before every 11-year-old had an iPhone, teens would find a payphone to use as an office from which to coordinate vital after-school activities, such as gossiping on the swings and lightly intimidating dog walkers. (God forbid your mum’s mate Pam should see you ‘holding a cigarette for a friend’.) On a weekend, roving packs of youths would relocate to the nearest shopping centre, despite having zero spending money because drop- shipping – the preferred mode of Gen Z entrepreneurship – hadn’t been invented yet.


While Gen Z lust after Drunk Elephant and debate whether 23 is too young to begin preventative baby Botox, Millennials knew exactly how to ‘care’ for their youthful complexions: twice daily exfoliation with St Ives Apricot scrub, the skincare equivalent of sandpaper (you’d know you’d done a good job because your skin would be red raw and tender to the touch). If you had ‘bad’ skin then this would be followed up with a Clearasil pad; roughly akin to pouring neat alcohol on to an open wound. Still, at least the whole torturous process wasn’t broadcast on TikTok.

Myspace top eights

While Gen Zers must contend with internet trolls and the horrors of discovering themselves the subject of a WhatsApp splinter group, Millennials thought nothing of publicly ranking their friends on MySpace. Having been subjected to such open warfare at a formative age, is it any wonder that those we feel safest with are our houseplants?

Facebook albums

Before the ‘photo dump’ there was the Facebook album – 30 blurred images accompanying each and every night out, however lame. While Gen Z must live with the ever escalating existential threat of climate catastrophe, at least they will never know the primal fear associated with seeing that a frenemy has tagged you in 24 pictures from a night out of which you have limited recollection, thanks to all those alcopops.

Jeans and a nice top

The mid-’00s outfit of choice can be summed up in five words. Cinema date? Jeans and a nice top. Drinks with the girls? Jeans and a nice top. Funeral? You get the idea. While the initial craze died out with the flip phone, online retailers from ASOS to Boohoo now offer dedicated collections. Proof that some Y2K trends will never die.

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