How adults obsessed with getting kids off screens wasted their childhoods

PARENTS always want their kids to stop looking at screens and do something more worthwhile. But what kind of mind-numbing activities did you waste your own childhood on?


Is dumbly staring at a screen any worse than dumbly staring at a Scalextric set? At least television offers the potential of learning something, whereas repeatedly squeezing a trigger and watching a car fly off a track after 0.3 seconds only teaches frustration. And possibly lifelong rage that can only be relieved via serial killing.

Prank calling Childline from a phone box

Entertainment options were limited as a child in the olden days, so you had to make the most of the technology available to you, namely a phone box and a free 0800 number. However, having gigglingly listened to it ringing and then hung up the instant it was answered, you didn’t dare try again in case Esther Rantzen came round and shouted at you.

Kicking a ball against a wall

Rather than enjoying high-quality video games, kids had to make do with very basic real life fun such as endlessly booting a football against the side of the house. Well, it was fun for 10 minutes until your mum came out and threatened to belt you for making a racket and damaging the pebbledash.

Playing in dangerous places

Your child has spent four hours playing Roblox in their bedroom today, but at least you know exactly where they are. In your youth, parents would happily wave you off for the day, unconcerned that most of it would be spent playing in a building site or a flooded gravel pit. Count yourself lucky your kids are socially inept computer geeks but alive.

Shit television

You think your kids are wasting their lives watching TV, but at least they have good shows to watch. You had to make do with three hours of CBBC every day before sitting through shit like Howard’s Way and Noel’s House Party. Whose brain has turned to mush here, yours or theirs? You do sometimes have to double-check what year it is.

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'Vibe' and other twatty words we're apparently meant to take seriously now

IT’S accepted that language changes and evolves. But that doesn’t mean we should start taking this vocabularic wankery seriously:


Fine when used by A-level art students to describe their crap coursework in the smoking area. Unacceptable when used by adults who mean ‘atmosphere’. Patrons of a rough pub will kick your teeth down your throat if you describe their terrifying hostelry or surly, aggressive manner as sending out ‘bad vibes’, and they will be morally right to do so.


A coinage made up by some Telegraph hack for a quick buck. It never took off because it was bollocks. It’s so annoying and clunky the ‘millennial’ back end of the portmanteau looks like finely wrought poetry. Using this word should come with a penalty, preferably the death one.


As in the substance of something, not feeling happy. This word can be blamed on years of undervaluing the arts, so that any creative output is seen as little more than filler material like mattress stuffing. The Mona Lisa? That’s just old content being monetised by French content-provider the Louvre.


Used to describe feelings of offence or resentment, which is uncanny because that’s exactly what you feel when people drop ‘butthurt’ into conversation. Everyone hoped this knuckleheaded word would be confined to Reddit forums and teenage boys, but now it’s in the dictionary there’s no going back. Maybe inventing language was a mistake.


Not too egregious in itself, but it’s a term used by YouTubers, Twitch streamers and Tiktokkers so it needs to go straight in the bin. It wouldn’t be so bad if they were influencing you to support social justice or world peace, but strangely it’s always a sponsorship deal or their latest crappy ‘merch drop’.


It’s gone from a moderately amusing joke to a real word thanks to Talkradio, the Telegraph and suburban fascists’ channel GB News. Used to describe easily offended people, by people who instantly get offended if you suggest Churchill wasn’t perfect in every way. Do some damage limitation by refusing to use it for anything except falling ice crystals.