“Two years ago I attended my university summer ball. I had a good time; many of my classmates were there and I was finally able to relax after a busy year. But disaster struck. An opportunist took advantage while my back was turned and stole my phone and all the other valuables I was storing in my bag and coat pocket.
“I was devastated. But it wasn’t the monetary value of my phone, my bag, or my jacket that made me upset for weeks. It was the fact I had hundreds of precious photos stored on the phone that were irreplaceable.
“The photos included snaps from my aunty’s wedding. This was a big event for my family as she had been trying to get married for a while so it was a huge, monumental celebration. Plus photos of my brothers and sisters charting their growth: being at uni meant I missed out on important milestones so these photos helped me keep in touch, while holding my homesickness at bay. And to top it off, all my uni photos which charted a really important year of new friends and new experiences.
“Over a few years’ worth of photos were gone for good. I was bereft.
“I’ve really learnt my lesson since then. Now I use Google Photos app that automatically saves everything. I’m very reliant on this but I also know that it’s not fool proof, so I also send friends photos for their records. Previously I’ve tried using memory sticks but they’ve been completely corrupted and I’ve also lost photos by transferring images from device to device.
“But, to be honest, I do miss the days when we used to print photos. Today, society is so consumed by technology that everyone I know, from friends to my parents, stores their photos on their phones. Yet I liked sending photos off to print: yes it cost money but I liked having something tangible. I also liked the fact that you didn’t know exactly how the photos would turn out. That was part of the surprise. Printing really is the only fool proof way.”
Tamanna Miah, 23, campaigner and public speaker, www.tamannamiah.tk
The explosion of smartphone use means seven in 10 adults risk losing a lifetime of memories if a device is lost or fails. A survey of 2,000 people by cartridgesave.co.uk, as part of a photography research review of 2016, found that today, 69 per cent now store ALL their photos on computers, tablets and phones. Which means, with the average adult taking 440 photos per year, equating to more than one a day, precious memories are at risk of being wiped out forever.
Nearly one in three (31 per cent) have already lost important videos and photos of family events or memorable moments because they’ve misplaced their smartphone.
While only one in two know how to access the photos they’ve saved in a cloud. And nearly two in five (38 per cent) have USBs and CDs scattered around their house, with no idea what is on them. Yet we know printing is the best way to preserve photos. One in four stores photos on phones in the hope that one day they will print off and keep.
A further 19 per cent say that creating a photo album is on their to-do list, but they haven’t had the time to get around to it yet. Yet only six per cent are actively maintaining the tradition of printing photos in order display in albums and in frames around the house. As a result, 25-34 year olds only have a dismal four photo albums and seven frame photos in their possession. In comparison their grandparents’ generation of over 55s have an average of eight albums and 11 framed pictures. Interestingly, Brits are aware their personal history is at risk of being wiped from all memory. 16 per cent said that in 50 years, their children and grandchildren will have no idea how to access the photos they’ve stored on computers, phones and on social media.
Dr Sandi Mann, behavioural psychologist at the University of Central Lancashire, says: “There is a danger of us losing our connection to our past with the relentless march into the digital space. “While it’s great that we are able to take more pictures than ever before and document every aspect of our lives, what use is that if we can’t access the pictures in 20 or 50 years time? “Also, as humans, we associate the importance of something with having a physical presence. That’s why it’s more important than ever, for the sake of future generations, that we continue to print the photos that matter to us.”
Ian Cowley, Managing Director of cartridgesave.co.uk, comments: “The digital world has created a false sense of security. That everything we create will somehow be backed up. But where is that space and what happens if you lose a password, if Facebook starts charging you to access the gallery of photos you’ve uploaded, if security changes, or if a cloud suddenly disappears? Print and keep what matters, and you will have a permanent memento of the important things in life.”
Leighton Buzzard schoolgirl Anouk Wood is dreaming of a Write Christmas after winning a nationwide festive writing competition launched by us!
Anouk, nine, scooped the top prize of £1,500 for her school with her highly original story titled Urgent! Make Santa A New Suit.
Anouk, who attends Linsdale Middle School, also received a Christmas stocking stuffed with £50 worth of goodies for herself.
The delighted schoolgirl says: “It was such an amazing surprise to be told that my story had won. I just thought of all my favourite red things and all the red stuff children like to eat. One idea grew into another and I came up with a recipe for Santa’s red suit. I love writing so I am very happy that people enjoyed my story and that it made them laugh.”
The competition was judged by top children’s author Sam Hay, who says: “Christmas inspires so many stories and clearly sparked the imagination of the children who entered. It was a joy to read all of the entries.
“Anouk’s story had amazing originality and made me laugh. Who knew the secret to making a magic Santa suit was a dollop of ketchup and some raspberry jelly.”
The top 50 entries to the competition, which attracted hundreds of submissions from children across the UK, have been put into a book, which can be downloaded for free from cartridgesave.co.uk/writechristmas.
Ian Cowley, Managing Director of cartridgesave.co.uk, says: “We have been bowled over by the quality of the stories and the imagination of the children and want to thank everyone who took part. The collection of stories in the e-book will make great bedtime story reading for Christmas time and beyond!”