Kids today also missed the heyday of the pager. Before cell phones became widely adopted, the pager (also sometimes called a beeper) was the other commercial choice for instant mobile communication. Popular in the 1990s, beepers allowed people to send the pager holder a phone number or other numeric message by placing a call to the pager's number then typing the message number. When the pager beeped, the owner knew to look at the tiny LCD screen to see the message and to find a phone to return the call. Starting in the late 1990s, pagers were supplanted by the cell phone, which gave users the ability to make calls or send text messages from just about anywhere. The now ubiquitous smartphone offers even more mobile communication options.
The few remaining pagers in action are now mainly used in industries like health care, where getting someone's immediate attention is important. So a few of today's kids who decide to become doctors may one day need to learn to use them. But even in health care settings, pagers being slowly replaced by smartphones.