In an article written by Wall Street Journal a question was raised on how safe digital photos and memories really are, which peeked my interest as a parent. In the past, our parents and grandparents would keep their precious memories, photos and videos on projector reels, VHS tapes and floppy disks. As years carry on the majority of these technologies have become obsolete and finding the equipment to retrieve these memories do not exist or are hard to find. Today, we save our memories on USB drives, internal and/or external hard drives or online within “The Cloud” or social media sites such as Facebook. Honestly, how safe or accessible are your priceless family photos and videos with these new technologies, probably not as safe as you think.
The EMP Apocalypse Theory
Several movies, TV series and books have explained what would happen if our technology is taken away from us through an EMP attack or the fall of our electrical grid. Besides major tragedies like the loss of medical equipment and other necessary tools used for survival, we would lose all of our digital photos, videos and memories. In essence, our entire culture and presence would be gone since our lives typically are recorded and shared online. Though this is an extreme example a few real situations may happen, such as Facebook gets hacked into or your computer, phone or tablet catches a virus or is damaged. This can be resolved by backing up your computer or saving your photos on external hard drives or devices, which leads to the next issue.
The Technology is Obsolete
Like VHS tapes and floppy disks the new technology we use today will become obsolete. Our kids will be laughing at us one day as we try to operate our new high-tech phones or cameras as well as find our PCs, drives and tablets we operate today humorous. Therefore, before too much time goes by and you lose your information due to old, intangible technology, it’s best to keep up with the times and transfer your memories as technology advances. If you’re unsure that a new high-tech item will last the test of time, such as floppy disks, wait a few years – five or more – before your transfer your photos and videos.
Hard copies verses digital copies
Finally, hard copies of your photos kept in photo or scrap books are always an option. Granted they may be destroyed by the elements, poor storage or in a natural disaster but in the end, if preserved correctly, will outlast technology. Looking at old photos, regardless if they’re of you or your family is always fascinating, they tell a story and offer a tangible piece of our past. If you are not a scrap book type, then create photo books online through photo websites, such as shutterfly.com or snapfish.com. Either way, this option will outlast majority of technology today as long as your books are kept in adequate storage bins, protective plastics and stored in a cool, dry place.
While this is just one option of how to hold onto your precious memories, always, always do your own research and find the best solution for you and your family. Because like today’s technology, this article will be obsolete one day too.