17 Things Boomers Got Away with as Kids That Would Not Be Acceptable Today

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By Darryl Henderson

Many things have changed since the Boomer’s childhood experience. Whether it’s leaving the front door unlocked to play outside alone or playing with toys that are now banned, these are the 17 things Boomers got away with that would raise a few eyebrows today.

Playing Without Supervision

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Any parent would dread the thought of their child playing outside without being supervised in this day and age. But back when Boomers were children, playing outside alone was the norm. They could be out all day, returning only for dinner, with little parental oversight.

Enduring Corporal Punishments in Schools

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According to the World Health Organization, corporal punishment only risks increasing behavioral problems in children. Yet corporal punishment was the norm for Boomer children, especially in schools. Teachers would use caning or flogging to instill discipline, something you can’t imagine now in modern schools.

Less Focus on Car Safety

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Many Boomers would ride in cars as children without wearing a seatbelt or even a proper child seat. It could be the norm to even ride in the bed of a pickup truck if you were traversing a rural road. These days, child safety laws have evolved considerably.

Less Worry About Sun Exposure

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Awareness of sun protection and the risks of skin cancer have progressed extensively since the 1940s. When Boomers were children, sunbathing was a casual pastime. It wasn’t until the 1970s that proper regulations began to be put into place by the Food and Drug Administration, according to The New York Times.

Smoking Freely at a Young Age

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For Boomers, trying a cigarette as a kid was often the norm. Smoking amongst the youth was seen as the “cool” thing to do. Often, even parents would give their permission for their children to smoke. These days, with so much more health awareness about smoking, that’s all changed.

Educational Tools and Techniques

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Back in the Boomers’ day, teaching methods included reliance on memorization – something modern children don’t have to think about! Rote memorization – the act of repeating information until it sticks, according to Verywell Mind – was the preferred technique. And it’s one no modern child needs to learn, thanks to digital data.

No Restrictions on Media Consumption

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Media in this day and age is constantly monitored, whether that be parental controls or censored content. Back in the Boomers’ day, media was pretty much unfiltered. There were no digital controls to depend on, so children could access unregulated TV or radio content.

Faced with Environmental Hazards

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As kids, Boomers would be exposed to more environmental hazards, such as lead paint or asbestos, thanks to a lack of awareness regarding toxins and health. Environmental policies have evolved immensely since those days to better protect this generation of children – and adults.

Minimal Digital Surveillance

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Boomer children had access to a level of privacy that, sadly, kids these days don’t have. Boomers didn’t have to worry about being digitally watched or hacked, or having their parents monitor their online behavior to keep them safe. This meant Boomers had a better sense of freedom.

Gender-Specific Expectations

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As we know, gender roles have progressed substantially over the years, but back when the Boomers were children, there were still strict gender roles assigned to them. Most notably, in schools and sports. It was also more normality to have gender roles influence what career path Boomers would take.

Less Academic Pressures

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While it’s easy to think that academic pressures were a lot stricter in the mid 1900s, in fact they were considerably more relaxed than they are today. This was thanks to so much less competition that Boomers faced in academic pursuits, as well as a bigger focus on play-orientated childhoods in the Boomer era.

Writing Assignments by Hand

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Before the age of technology, hand cramp was a common thing amongst most students thanks to handwritten assignments! Handwriting was a focused skill due to its need for school work and even personal correspondence. The shift from paper to digital means students these days no longer have that problem.

Limited Health and Safety Regulations

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Many toys have been tested and banned since the era of the Boomers, toys that they would have been playing with back in the day. Laws such as the Consumer Product Safety Act are much more impactful on children today.

The Freedom to Make Mistakes

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The Boomer generation often learned a few important life lessons by having the freedom to make mistakes. Learning through experience was the norm. Nowadays, modern parenting presents a more shielded experience, with more strict rules. Psychology Today outlines that modern children “are more likely to question and challenge the rules… than children in the past”.

Being Able to Travel Alone

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It was often normality for Boomer children to catch the school bus alone, to walk to school alone, or even to walk anywhere alone! The prospect of that nowadays can be a terrifying one. These days, children often have arrangements to be picked up and escorted.

Handling Money and Financial Responsibilities

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Children from the Boomer era were often awarded small amounts of pocket money or birthday money and had the freedom to do what they wanted with it. Yet these days, there’s much more focus on financial responsibility for younger children, including pressure to save for the future.

Relaxed Dress Codes

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Dress codes in schools and public places were much more relaxed in the Boomers’ day. While good grooming was always encouraged, there were far fewer clothing and appearance expectations back then than there are now. And these days, there’s a significant focus on safety regarding what children wear.