I love my smart phone as much as the next person.  It keeps me in touch with my husband and friends.  It provides white noise for my teeniest newborn clients.  It means I’m not alone when I’m trapped under a sleeping child or up with a kid and a puke bucket at 3 am.

But I fear that smart phones are going to be the death of our memories.

Yes there is of course the time-sucking, distracted, on the phone rather than playing, connecting, and relating with our families and friends boondoggle of an argument that being on your phone is the antithesis of making lasting memories but rather than delve into that hot mess of a debate I’d rather focus on the poor lonely cameras that are collecting dust and goldfish cracker crumbs as they sit unused on shelves and at the bottom of drawers.

Our phones are small.  They easily fit in pockets and our hands and they aren’t cumbersome to take everywhere with us.  They also take pretty decent photos that can be instantly shared with the universe via the social media time goblin of your choice.  Emailed to Grandparents.  Texted to spouses.  They provide instant gratification in the form of a grainy snapshot of a moment in time.

Except when was the last time you backed up the photos on your phone?

Printed photos you took with your phone to hang in your home?

Fell so in love with a photo you took using your phone that you had it enlarged and framed or printed on canvas?

If you’ve used Blurb to create a photo book from your Instagram or Facebook feed, taken advantage of Black’s specialized Instagram print services, or used Canvas Pop to create a canvas collage of your favourite Facebook or Instagram shots, pat yourself on the back and celebrate your digital memories making it into print form.

If you haven’t, hang around for a minute and listen to my heartfelt plea.

Continue taking photos with your phone but back them up several times a week either on your computer or a cloud system.  If your phone is the only way you’re preserving your families memories don’t risk losing those grainy moments in time you can never get back.

Now put down your phone.  Head to wherever your camera has been stashed and take it out, dust it off, and find it a place of honour somewhere in your home where you’ll see it several times a day.  If your camera is in it’s case and tucked away inside your front hall closet, you’re not going to grab it to take a few snapshots of your little one colouring in the afternoon sun.  If it’s in the case and stored somewhere for safekeeping you’re not going to grab it on your way out the door to a birthday party or a day at the beach.

Take photos of your children sleeping, of your spouse barbecuing, of your kids on swings, playing soccer, giggling with friends, or quietly reading a book.  Graduations and birthdays are all photo worthy moments but I will make a passionate plea that the repetition and simplicity of everyday life is just as important.

Crack open your laptop or boot up your computer and print your photos.  If you’re overwhelmed by the sheer number of photos you’ve taken then set aside 10-15 minutes a day for the next few weeks to sort through, purge, and organize the digital photos you have taken and then I promise the idea of having them printed won’t seem so overwhelming.  Don’t look at it is a chore but the chance to take a trip down memory lane and ooh and ahh over all the amazing things that have happened.  Set an automatic reminder in your calendar to save, sort and print your photos on a monthly basis.

When your prints or photo books arrive insist that your kids join you on the couch.  Flip through the photos and remember everything your family has done together, the stories your photos tell, and how time moves too damn fast.

Put down your phone, pick up your camera, and remember that you won’t look back and regret taking too many photos.