Your family's memories deserve to be preserved.

By Brigitt Earley
March 08, 2021
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young boy with vintage video camera
Credit: Catherine Falls Commercial / Getty Images

Cameras are more pervasive than ever—they're integrated into the vast majority of cell phones—and, as a result, most of us have more photographs and videos than we know what to do with. While endearing in the moment and fun to share on social media, that surplus might actually be a bit of a problem. When it took more effort—lugging out the camcorder—and cost more money—springing for tapes—to document everyday life, you could argue that we treated these snapshots with more reverence. More often than not, they were carefully labeled and systematically tucked away for safe keeping and subsequent viewing sessions.

Today's excess, on the other hand, means most of our most precious photos and videos get lost in a sea of duds and random screenshots of memes on our camera rolls never to be seen again. If that's not enough to convince you that home videos need to make a comeback, consider the following as further proof.

They're more deliberate.

When you know you only have so much tape to work with, you're inherently more selective about what memories you preserve. The downside to this is that you'll occasionally miss funny or heartwarming moments, but the upside is you'll live more for the moment than for the snapshot. And interestingly, studies suggest this type of behavior can actually help improve your memory of specific events.

They're fun to watch together.

There's an argument to be made that the fewer photos and videos you have at your disposal, the more likely you are to revisit them. With a systematic library of select choices on a physical shelf, you might find yourself holding a family night screening more frequently—it's a great bonding experience that leads to more joy and more laughter.

They're harder to lose.

Raise your hand if you've ever lost your phone and some—or all—of the contents on it. Sometimes technology fails, and when everything is stored on a single device, you run the risk of losing all of your most precious memories. Even backup hard drives aren't foolproof, since those can go missing or get accidentally wiped clean, too.

They can be passed on through the generations.

Similarly, when the bulk of your family's photos and videos live on one person's phone or computer, it can be more challenging to salvage them should something happen to that individual. You'll have to dig up passwords and then transfer large files onto another device or hard drive rather than simply pack up physical copies.

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