We treasure our family photos - but more of us are losing or deleting them
Almost two-thirds of Irish people have lost important photos of children or family members by leaving the snaps on defunct phones or computers, new research has found.
A survey of 447 Irish adults found that the loss of "valued" photos is being exacerbated by our practice of substituting 'proper' photos of our children with smartphone snaps that we discard or lose.
And 41pc of Irish parents now do nothing with the smartphone photos we take of our kids, according to the survey, which was commissioned by Canon Ireland. And because fewer than two in five of us now have professional photos of our children taken from toddler age on, a large gap is opening up on the mantelpieces and desktop picture frames in homes.
Paradoxically, Irish people continue to value photos of their kids and family highly. Almost half (48pc) say that they saving family photos would be a "high priority" in a fire, flood or other household emergency
And a universal 96pc of us claim that photos of ourselves growing up is an "important" part of our lives, with 85pc of Irish people displaying pictures of themselves growing up.
But we are robbing ourselves of decent memories, the survey suggests, with 62pc of us wishing we had better pictures of our children "when they were younger".
"Almost half of parents are not doing anything with their children's pictures," said Jonothan Sultan, marketing manager for Canon Ireland. "Previously when we took photographs, we printed them out and put them in albums or frames.
"We had a tangible record of our lives and memories but now our photographs are scattered across devices, social networks, messaging and sharing apps. We don't want to get into a situation where we have a 'lost generation' as such where photographs of our children are stored on devices and never see the light of day."
The survey finds that 61pc of Irish parents had professional photos of their children taken before their first birthday but only 39pc continue to get professional photos done after the first year.
A quarter of parents polled also say they are taking less photos of their children than they used to.
The research comes as the Central Statistics Office released new figures showing that Irish people are using online storage for photos and other files in ever greater numbers.
And 44pc of us now use services such as Dropbox, Flickr or Google Drive to store photos, videos and other files, according to the CSO statistics.
However, there is evidence to show that many of us leave the photos there to stagnate without ever producing a physical copy to display in our offline worlds.
According to the most recent figures from social media network Instagram, 80m photos are uploaded to the service every day, with Facebook experiencing a similar uploading deluge.
Messaging services such as WhatsApp and Snapchat are also now used regularly for sharing photos online without being kept for posterity.
According to the Canon Ireland survey, family Christmas pictures were among the most prized photos chosen by Irish people, followed by school, birthday and family holiday photos.