Gen Zers using landlines to call their friends instead of mobile phones

The ’90s called, they want their phones back.

Gen Z has an affinity for making old things new again and an enchantment with early 2000s technology — ditching iPhones for flip phones, bringing back digital cameras, using iPod Minis as hair clips and buying out “vintage” iPods from 2007.

Their next target is none other than the corded landline phone, the New York Post reports.

During a time when landlines are almost obsolete and technology becomes more and more advanced every day, Gen Z’s fascination with the supposedly retro tech could spark a resurgence.

According to a report from the Australian Communications and Media Authority in 2022, 63 per cent of Australians had only a mobile for phone calls at home and no landline, with younger Aussies aged 24 to 35 most likely to only have a mobile phone (82 per cent).

In the US, by the end of 2022, 72.6 per cent of adults and 81.9 per cent of children lived in households without a landline, according to the National Health Interview Survey.

Compare that to 2006, when just 15.8 per cent of American households did not have a landline telephone.

In fact, earlier this month, AT&T asked the California Public Utilities Commission to permanently get rid of landlines in the state, calling them a “historical curiosity that’s no longer necessary.”

If most of Gen Z grew up in a home without a landline, or never had a landline for themselves, what is it about the corded phone that’s so appealing to them?

“One of my first memories is the tan landline that my parents had mounted to the kitchen wall,” Nicole Randone told the Guardian.

“I always fantasised about the day I’d have one in my own room.”

The 24-year-old from Westchester, NY, added: “Having a landline really bridges that gap between reality and my childhood fantasy. I feel like the main character in my favourite TV shows — One Tree Hill, The OC, Gilmore Girls — when I use it.”

Looking back at the late ’90s and early 2000s TV shows and rom-coms, you can most likely picture your favourite character lying on their bed with a colourful landline phone.

While Gen Zers definitely don’t need a landline — still relying on their cell phones for virtually everything — it’s the aesthetic of “2000s nostalgia” that makes the relic so attractive to them.

“When people see my landline, they treat it like a toy,” Randone added.

“Since I’m an influencer, I’m constantly online, so it’s really nice to disconnect and it almost feels like an escape.”

Sam Casper, an elder Gen Z at 27 years old, owns a light pink Crosley landline, which she told the Guardian was her “mum’s husband’s grandma’s phone”.

“But it’s hilarious, because saying that makes you think it would be old, but she bought it from Urban Outfitters a few years ago,” she quipped.

Urban Outfitters is notorious for selling “retro” products and naming them trendy, including iPods, instant cameras, CD players, film cameras, amplifier speakers, deadstock TVs, turntables and so on.

Casper uses her pink landline to talk to her friends — some of whom also have their own landlines.

“It’s so cute and romantic,” she said.

“It’s very Sex and the City, which is why we started doing it. I really loathe cell phones, because everyone cancels at the last minute these days through text, which I find so absurd.”

In lieu of the contacts app, she keeps her friends’ landline numbers on a napkin — and she has “a tape — what’s it called? — a voice box thing … a voicemail machine,” she added.

“There’s no caller ID, so I can’t screen who’s calling,” Casper said.

“If I meet a new friend and they’re the type of person I’d invite back to my house, they get the landline. Whenever I hear my phone ringing, I get so giddy.”

“I love to just sit there and talk and twirl the little cord.”

Aside from technology, Gen Z also loves resurrecting dead fashion trends of the ’90s and early 2000s, such as unbuttoned pants, exposed bras, no bras, jorts, dresses over jeans, and underwear as outerwear.

This article originally appeared on the New York Post and has been republished with permission.

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