The Forgotten Middle Child – 90’s Kids and Why We Aren’t Millennials


We all know the story. Some of us have even lived it. Forgotten, overshadowed, and pushed aside. Being the middle child was the worst. The oldest sibling received all the accolades and rewards, the youngest received all the attention. And there we were, waving our hands in the air trying to say, “Hey! I’m right here and I’m not like them!” And here we are, still waving our hands, still trying to push our way past the shoulders of our surrounding siblings. A little older, a little wiser, but still just as frustrated. Being a 90’s kid is tough.



Damn Millennials.” Many times have these words been uttered through the lips of baby boomers and Gen X’s. “All they care about is social media! They don’t know how to work hard!” We hear it. And we take it. But it’s a load of bulls**t. Sorry, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s go back. The definition of a Millennial is someone who was born between around 1980 and around the early 2000’s. While the characteristics of a Millennial can vary depending on the source, the gist is relatively the same. Lazy, narcissistic, coddled, materialistic, disengaged. Positive isn’t it? However in reality, the term “Millennial” isn’t as generalizable as many make it out to be.

People born in the 1980’s are currently aged anywhere between 26 and 35 years old. Having been in the working world for around four or five years, this decade of people are usually seen as responsible employees and entrepreneurs, creating a name for themselves and making short work of corporate ladders all around the world (sounds like the eldest sibling doesn’t it?). Racking up accomplishments and higher salaries, they’re already integrated with Gen X and often aren’t thought of when someone mentions Millennials. People born in the latter half of the term “Millennial” are currently in the height of their teenage years, and because of their youth, are usually grouped in with the rest of the post-century birth crowd. This is where the stereotypes of being a Millennial stem from. But I’ll come back to that later. Right smack in the middle, as always, are 90s kids. Currently aged 16 to 25, we are forced to be grouped into this almost derogatory term, “Millennial”. However we couldn’t be more different than our two surrounding siblings.

I was born in 1994. A great year if I allow myself to say so. Nelson Mandela, Netscape, Rwanda massacre, World Trade Center Bombing…Kurt Cobain…O.J. Simpson… Okay so maybe it wasn’t that great of a year. My point though is that all this happened in one year. Look at what 90’s kids have been through over the course of their short lives: Y2K, 9/11, the dot com boom and bust, the Gulf War, the War in Afghanistan, and the War in Iraq, Apple’s rise to power, the Great Recession, the first black president, the legalization of gay marriage. And those are just a few off the top of my head. We’ve been left to solve the energy crisis and are the last generation that can reduce climate change and global warming before it’s too late. The world has changed immensely in the past 25 years. It’s led to one of the greatest qualities that 90’s kids possess. Nostalgia. And a whole lot of it. We grew up in a time that was almost entirely analog and the biggest fear was Y2K instead of war and the economy. We came of age in a time of great turmoil both domestic and abroad. We became adults in an entirely digital age and a slowly recovering economy. We are incredibly young, and yet possess the nostalgia of an old man.

We yearn for the simpler times, when the TV was turned on only after finishing family dinners and calling our friend’s home phone was the only way to reach them (other than AIM). And now I’m currently sitting in front of two computer screens as my phone sits within an arm’s reach dinging with updates of text messages, emails, and social media updates (perhaps this nostalgia is why hipsters came about). This dichotomy in ways of life leaves us 90’s kids wishing we were kids again. And that age was only 15 years ago! This isn’t a bad thing though. Growing up through all of this change has allowed us to adapt to all of the new tech and be very proficient with it. But we also see the value in writing a handwritten note to an employer after a job interview and enjoy relaxing with a good book. In a way, we are the most tech savvy analog people out there. Yes, I know what a tape deck is and watched VHS movies. I also owned a CD player. 90’s kids learned on Gateway computers but can do programming on any Mac book or PC no problem. I could go on and on but my point is that in our eyes, technology doesn’t seem to be advancing that fast. See, we grew up at the same time Apple did. At the same rate Google and Microsoft did. The pace of new technological advancements is about as routine as our birthday coming around every year. And it’s allowed us to be a pretty rare breed. Yes, we are different. But don’t you dare tell me I’m a Millennial.

As I mentioned before, I believe the term Millennial comes from the stereotypes derived from the post-turn of the century kids. All these kids know is digital. This group of kids was seven years old when the first iPhone came out. Is it their fault? Not to me it isn’t. It’s the result of being thrust into a rapidly advancing, tech dependent world and having a cell phone in their hands since 1st grade (that’s not an exaggeration, see the link at the bottom**). Look, our society is convenience oriented. Everything is about what makes things easier and faster. Is it any surprise that it has rubbed off on the very kids that are in their peak of susceptibility? Call it lazy if you want, I call it the effects of their environment. And everything is faster and easier. My cell phone (or mini-computer, however you look at it) has the capability to do anything I want and more. It houses the ability to connect with anyone I know in about 30 different ways. It’s no wonder these kids live and breathe social media. When everyone is connected to everyone else at all times, it’s easy to want to keep attention on yourself (after all, they are the youngest sibling; attention is everything). Has it implanted an entitled “me, me, me” loop track in these kids heads? Gen X seems to think so. And I’m inclined to agree. This is what is scaring employers and causing feelings of regurgitation every time they encounter a so called Millennial.

Sure, call me bitter. I think all of us 90s kids are. We are sick of being grouped into all these Millennials stereotypes. But it is not us. I suppose it’s our fault we’re included in this. We’ve had our heads down, working hard to build a name for ourselves. Haven’t heard of us? Well you’re about to. We are the kids from the 90’s. And we’re about to step out from behind our siblings and shake up the world.

*This article expresses the opinions of a possibly bias student born in the 90’s.


Written by Devon Dietrich, senior at the University of Montana majoring in Marketing, Management, and Psychology.


Social Media and the Internet: A Retrospective

39 Replies to “The Forgotten Middle Child – 90’s Kids and Why We Aren’t Millennials”

  1. Great job, Devon! I think you hit the nail on the head and something that even us “older siblings” have struggled with coming into the work force. I can’t tell you how many memos I get about “how to deal with millenials”. I think I might share this article with my boss; maybe give her some perspective from us 80s and 90s kids.

  2. No offense meant at all. But you were born in 1994, correct? You are what 90s kids refer to as a hybrid. No shame in that. But you did have more of a millenial childhood than a 90s one. I was born in 1987. And my whole childhood was 90s. What people don’t realise is that the 90s overlapped but then bled back into an 80s mentality with Bush and rampant consumerism took hold, blind to the debt it would leave for future generations. When I was a kid there was no smart phones, not even an inkling of social media. Millenials are like 90s kids in many ways. But in a more digital age, they are far from entitled, they simply grew up in an economic collapse, with far newer technology than 90s kids had. We are nostalgic but that can also be a bad thing. We should not expect Millenials to have had the same exact childhood that we did. But they seem to love 90s shows and movies, because they were so great. And that leads to trickle down nostalgia. Especially for Millenials who had older siblings. And misunderstandings because 90s kids like myself can be judgmental or territorial of things from our childhood. But it is nothing new. I also grew up watching reruns from a lot of 80s shows. At the time as a kid I had no idea they were not part of my generation. Millenials are the same, they may not have grown up with dial up, digital pets, the classic game consoles. But the 90s love for the things that bring nostalgia to 90s kids that lived it is there. But as a 90s kid. I have no trouble saying this. Millenials may have grown up with better stuff to play with, better technology but they also grew up with more fear, hate, and above all awareness of all the terrible things in this country via social media. Which is a blessing and a curse. And if other 90s kids were like me. They would ignore the differences and focus on the similarities. And share the nostalgia, encourage the younger generations to love what we did as kids. Not be elitist or delusional. Things change, they always will. The digital age can’t be reversed. But kids are very much the same as they ever were. It is only the toys, the music, the movies, the shows, the fads, the slang, the trends that change generationally. Because they have to. And everything great is born of other great things for people that keep an open mind.

  3. Okay, a few things here. 1. I think you’re getting the terms ‘millennials’ and ‘2000’s kids’ mixed up. They’re both completely seperate. Kids born in the 2000’s are part of generation Z (aka post-millenials). 90s kids are and have always been millennials. That whole thing you explained about nostalgia, how we grew up with the simple things, and had a massive technology growth causing us to yearn for simpler days? That’s pretty much part of the definition of being a millennial. If you really don’t like the term millennial, you could always use the term Generation Y, they’re both applicable.

    Also, about baby boomers and gen exers complaining about millennials, unfortunately they’re talking about 90s kids too. Our generation can be bratty, but it’s not our fault. We grew up in the age of helicopter parents, we got trophies for last place. If the previous generation is complaing about how the current generation turned out, just remind them who raised them 😉

    Don’t be ashamed of your millennial status, embrace it! We are the most diverse, connected and open minded generation to date! We have inherited the debts and sins of our parents, so we have it tough, but we are going to change the world!

    – from a full blooded 90s kid circa 1991

  4. Weird is being born in 1981, with siblings in 1978 and 1980, and being a millennial. I do feel left out of both generations. I wouldn’t have an issue with the term millennial, but I had an awesome/happy/eventful childhood so like things from that time, circa 1985-early 90s, especially music/TV. I’m confused where the generation cutoffs should be. Things from the 90s look new to me, so I see them as modern/part of a new generation…but with how each generation is described, I’d say early 80s is not millennial, unless they redefine what a millennial is. I can’t help but think that the liberal Pew interviewed a bunch of hipsters in Brooklyn who are into every new trend, and thus they came up with the idea of 1980 and a millennial.

  5. Sorry, but as much as you hate that label, you are unquestionably a millennial. Anyone born from the early 80’s to about 2000 is a millennial. All “90’s babies” and “90’s kids” are millennials, as are most if not all 80’s babies. The present generation of kids (under 15/16) are called post-Millennials or Generation Z.

    1. I would also like to add that I was born in 1994 too, so I’m not just some grumpy old man who wants to bash you. A lot of stereotypes about us Millennials are also unfounded.

  6. You were only 6 when the 90s ended you’re not a 90s kid. A 90s kid is someone born in the 80s and grew up to teens in the 90s, smh. You’re a millennial. You spent 10 years growing up in 00.

    Power rangers came out before you were born. Kurt cobain was dead before you were born. Oj happened when you were like 2.

    You can’t lay claim to being a 90s kid lol.

    1. Yes we are, nigger.

      Power Rangers existed before your dad was even born, grunge still lived on past his death, still around for OJ, still counts, fuckface.

      She can, and so can I.

    2. You can’t say this because a small part of his/her childhood was in the 1990’s. Somebody who was born in 1994 was a kid between the years 1997-2006 and were teenagers between the years 2007- 2013. Also not everybody born in the 80’s were teens in the 90’s.

  7. “But don’t you dare tell me I’m a Millennial.”

    Okay then. “Post-Millennial” it is. The defining feature of Millennials is that they are the generation who graduate and enter the workforce in 2000 or the early 21st century. By some definitions those born in 1994 are Generation Z.

    1. No. You have no idea what you’re talking about. If someone was a kid watching Blues Clues, they’re a millennial. If you were listening to Nirvana (on purpose) you’re Gen X… Gen Z is about 17 right now. They grew up after the USA died. When we turned into… This.

      Gen Y is Gen X’s lil bro/sis. The ones whose BabyBoomer parents realized that they were doing too many drugs & living like maniacs during late 60s & 70s & all getting divorced produced the fundamentally fucked up and broke inside Gen X. They quickly straightened up by the time their much younger gen y brothers/sisters were born, & boomers told them NEVER be like your gen X sibling. Gen y usually came around from a new, remarriage, when boomers kinda cleaned up & pretty much became yuppies. The spoiled gen y. Gen y thinks they’re due everything… Until millenial comes along and takes it from them cause the might be evil white ppl: millennial grows up post columbine, or a child during 9/11…. They are THE MOST FRAGILE brainwashed soulless ppl on the planet. They’ve had the powers that be up their ass SO long that they know no other way. Be scared of them. They will be comfortable with a frightening robotic and authoritarian high tech take o ER of our society where ai now rules us like their teachers did in those safe space schools… Getting arrested for calling someone fag? I’m gay & I know that’s too far.

      Gen z… All our hope is in YOU know. Learn, take yor spiritual trips with Gen X. We have to resurrect heart and rip down cameras on every street corner. It’s coming. Get ready…. Get ready to go crazy, and DARE to feel things that can’t be explained by SCIENCE- but instead by early pumpkins cords only! and smash this nonsense cookie cutter safe space prison we’ve been caught it…….we need a rule breaking love affair btwn gen X & Z…gen z, please Become sick with nostalgia for a time when teens really were free, and want your turn! Now! …we need to fight our way home – either goose steps or streets filled w/moshing. Trust me, it’ll be one or the other…
      But these millennials ? Pls shhh… Just go away n discover wtf u even love/like/desire, and answer with you soul, cause if u give a way too literal algebraic answer, we might have to kill u for the sake of society… Figure out a way to be FREE – for the FIRST time.

    2. Don’t you dare compare us to those brain-dead fags, cocksucker; we’re 90s kids, get over it.

      1. However, there is a universal consensus among researchers that anyone born in the early-mid 80’s through the early 90’s (generally 1984-1992) is a Millennial.

  8. Oh tell us again how wonderful your kid years were spent shitting yourself and learning to talk… Oops, sorry, those were your baby/toddler years. Kids = 3-13.

  9. Mehh I’d say 1989 is the cut off date I was 5 in 1994 I firmly recall 1994 and remember the John Wayne Gacy AKA Mad Clown Murderer being Sent to Hell, yeah I Got Clown Phobia… So yeah I had a crush on the Yellow Ranger and Wonder Woman… The Black Ranger is missing a finger… Ahh those were the days… When 100 MB was a big hard-drive honestly I was playing in the Woods making Forts in the Woods, so yeah must be a 90’s thing the Odd Duckling… Duck Tales was a good Cartoon, and Cereal Box Items were Status Symbols.”

    1. That’s how you know you’re millenial. Cartoones. If 90s were your gen, you’d be gen X and your cartoon would’ve been from 70s & 80s.

      If u weren’t smoking angel dust in a mosh while Beastie Boys & Nirvana were playing the same show – sorry – but you missed it.

  10. No. You’re a millenial. If u were born 94 – you millennial. And since we’re talking I just want you to know I HATEZ YOUR GENERATION. Go pull down a Gvt camera from a street light n MAYBE I’ll even talk to you.

    Utherwise, just be quiet, get outv the way of gen X & Z and DONT TELL ON US, ruin it.

  11. If you were born in the 1980’s and 1990’s you are generation Y(Millennials). A generation is 20 years people
    Baby Boomers- 1940’s & 1950’s
    Generation x- 1960’s & 1970’s
    Generation Y- 1980’s & 1990’s
    Generation z- 2000’s & 2010’s

    1. Most people don’t start having kid until they reach the age of 20 or up. Most people who were born in the year 1980 didn’t have kids until the 2000’s. That’s 20 years after they were born

    2. It doesn’t make sense because rate of technology advancement has been speeding up. In this primitive scale, (which made sense until 1980s because social life was at a rate of change of every 20 years) you’re trying to say RIGHT NOW someone who was born in 1980 (37 years old) acts the same as someone born in 1999 (18 years old)? That’s fucking absurd. I was born in 1985. We didn’t have internet until 1996 when I was 11… we had basic cable TV with saturday morning cartoons that weren’t as stupid as Spongebob and whatever else they show kids these days. We had shows with morals, closely related to Gen X shows like The Wonder Years, Seinfeld, the original Voltron, TMNT, Ghostbusters, Heathcliff, Talespin, etc. Nowadays shows are just spontaneous wow-factor with no story or morals. We enjoyed life playing outside everyday, video games were rare, Atari and NES, fun but can’t be glued to them for more than an hour or two. We lived life outside, playing manhunt and neighborhood football/basketball tournaments. we were all on multiple rec sports teams and martial arts. Then the internet came in middleschool and highschool and it was the same but we all had AIM. No facebook. No social media. AIM was just a quicker way to talk to people. That’s all we had until cell phones got popular in the early 2000s… around the same time CABLE INTERNET showed up. Before that no one used the internet that much because it was slow as hell. Kids born in the mid 90s began life with internet, and they had cell phones in elementary school. THAT IS ABSURD to my generation. 80s babies and 90s babies are a different breed. That’s why 80s babies always hate being called millenials. We respect the Gen Xers. I listened to Nirvana when Kurt was still alive, I listened to A Tribe Called Quest when they were actually a hip hop group ’89-’93. We watched MTV when they showed music videos only all day. Do not mix us with the 90s babies. I think better grouping is a generation born from 1980 (or even 1979) to about 1992.

      1. Nobody born in the 90s had cell phones in elementary. I never saw a elementary kid in the 2000s have their own phone. I have seen elementary kids within this decade have their own phone. I see what you are saying but the beginning of a generation is going to be different from the ending of one. The last people of generation x had a differant life then the ones born in the beggining and the same goes for all the other generations. There are people who say the last of generation y were born from the mid to late 90s (the last few years of the 90s) I just think it will make sense to use the beginning of a new decade to start & end a generation since that’s what they have been doing for the past generations.

      2. That’s why people born 1995+ (sometimes 1994+ and 1993+) are not considered Millennials but rather Generation Z.

  12. How are you a 90’s Kid? you were born in 1994 so you probably can’t even remember most of the 90’s. I was born in 83 I AM a 90’s kid….not you….damn millennials

  13. You’re pushing it by calling yourself a 90s kid. I was born in 1990, andI barely constitute as one.

    1. right? I was born in 93 & aside from my gameboy color and don’t remember much about the 90s lol. Meanwhile my partner born in ’88 tries to call himself an 80s kid x’D

    2. same here I was born in.1988 and was still a kid in the early 2000s… we are the millenials. The kids born after 97 are the pussy generation. They arent even millenials

Comments are closed.