Like Moths To A Screen: 73 Things We're Losing When We Stare At Our Screens

It may be hard to wrap your mind around, but there was a time before your computer screen. Even though we’ve adapted to them the same way captured animals adapt to metals rods and syringes, they haven’t always been part of life.

While we were born into this world, our parents grew up in another one: free of screens and testing, they can remember a time before this -- before the invasion of clicks and glowing lights -- when they really lived.

In 1955, only half of American homes owned a television set and it wasn’t until the late 60s that most of the American population had access to their first screen. Less than 60 years ago there were no computers, no cell phones, no iPads, no televisions.

There were no laptops in colleges, no desktops in offices and definitely no iPads in elementary schools. Our parents didn’t have smartphones or iPods. Children didn’t have Game Boys or DVDs.

According to eMarketer, a market research company that tracks digital behavior, time spent online -- on desktop and mobile devices -- exceeded five hours in 2013. That’s two more hours of online viewing than in 2010.

Besides just using the Internet, American adults spent an average of 12 hours and five minutes interacting with media each day in 2013. While some of that may come from newspapers and radio, the majority of that time is spent on glowing portals.

Our dependency on screens has rapidly expanded over the past five years and the effects are noticeable. We’re changing as humans and evolving at a new rate. We aren’t just living in a different kind of culture, but as a different kind of people.

According to an article released in "The Washington Post," screens are not just changing our lives, but also our brains. Cognitive neuroscientists believe that humans are developing digital brains that are more accustomed to skimming than reading.

Our brains are adapting so that the traditional deep-reading circuitry that developed over millions of years is no longer effective.

Since the Sumerians and the age of cuneiform, humans have taught themselves to read in the linear fashion. Whether it’s left to right or right to left, we designed our brains to read from page to page for millions of years.

Since the rise of the Internet, we’ve been rapidly programming ourselves in the inverse direction. With scrolling, paging and linking, we’ve undone all those years of linear-form reading. Now it’s lateral: Our eyes are moving from the top of the page to the bottom and back again.

With short sentences and quick skimming, humans are now less capable to comprehend long sentences with multiple clauses. We are missing plot lines and details because our brain now skips over things.

We are so used jumping around the screen, looking for keywords and hyperlinks that we’re forgetting what it’s like to read a full sentence, let alone an entire book.

We’ve lost literature and prose. We’ve lost novellas and libraries. We've lost poems and book signings; we’ve lost our ability to read. But we've also lost so much more than that.

With over 12 hours a day spent consuming media, we've lost much of our old way of life. We've lost culture and social connection. We've lost dialogue and expression. We've lost our eye sight and our deep thoughts. We've lost our human connection and our ability to observe the world off a screen.

While it feels like we’ve been given all these technological gifts that are supposed to make our lives easier, they're only making our lives worse. These “gifts” are, in fact, attacks.

They are taking away our freedom and luring us with shiny metal cases and glowing lights. They are chasing us into cages and enclosed rooms with moving pictures and buttons with new sounds and colors.

While they are giving us fast Internet, constant communication and unlimited information, they are taking away so much more from us. We have been given screens in exchange for the best parts of life -- and here are just 73 of them.

1. Personal connections.

2. Natural wonders.

3. Mutual respect.

4. Attention spans.

5. Observations.

6. Time. So much time.

7. Authenticity.

8. One-time shots.

9. Distractions -- the good kind.

10. Facial expressions.

11. Culture.

12. Meaning.

13. The English Language.

14. Live motion.

15. Natural pace.

16. Dialogue.

17. Random opportunities.

18. Chance encounters.

19. Personality development.

20. Spontaneity.

21. Social skills.

22. Comfort.

23. Paper invitations.

24. Working for something.

25. Delayed gratification.

26. Holding hands.

27. High fives.

28. Handshakes.

29. Eye contact.

30. Posture.

31. Stopping to smell the roses.

32. Maps.

33. Laughing out loud.

34. Our eye sight.

35. Fixing things on our own first.

36. Trying and failing.

37. Getting lost.

38. Stutters.

39. Instincts.

40. Individuality.

41. Impersonations.

42. Sarcasm.

43. Exercise.

44. Sleep.

45. Privacy.

46. Smells.

47. Isolation.

48. Focus.

49. Family time.

50. Minds at rest.

51. Natural states.

52. Staring out windows.

53. Looking into eyes.

54. Solitude.

55. Punctuality.

56. Responsibility.

57. Dependability.

58. Attention span.

59. Feeling in your fingers.

60. Dinner dates.

61. Absolute adventure.

62. Our sense of mystery and excitement. 

63. Intimacy.

64. Transparency to be who we truly are -- without filters or frames.

65. Self-expression -- now we're all typing the same.

66. Curiosity.

67. Histories and heritage. Now, our stories are becoming more and more alike.

68. The sound of someone you love's voice on the other end of the call.

69. Passion.

70. Our ability to disconnect.

71. Second chances.

72. Natural butterflies.

73. Freedom.

Photo Courtesy: We Heart It