THE BLOG

Aren't You Fed Up of Being Tired, Frazzled and Glued to Your Phone?

04/09/2015 16:44 BST | Updated 04/09/2016 10:59 BST

"No one in London looks happy."

From the mouth of babes sometimes comes the truth, except the 'babe' in question was my young, six foot two Kiwi cousin, who had just moved to the capital and was seeing the city with fresh eyes.

He was right, though. No one in London looks happy, and if you see anyone crack a smile, they are 100% a tourist or a local who has been hitting happy hour.

Much as we'd like to think this is a London problem, it isn't. It's a modern day urbanite problem.

We're stressed, we feel over-worked and arranging to meet up with friends feels more like a chore than the fun evening out it's mean to be.

Personally, I think these are several symptoms of our increasing tech addiction.

We're glued to our phones - according to recent research, we check them over 200 times a day. A third of us fiddle with them for no real reason.

Most of us are also on some sort of device right up until we go to bed which messes with our circadian rhythm as the blue light they emit tells your brain it's still day time. (So it's harder to go to sleep).

Our friends bring them out at dinner tables when we're meant to be having a long awaited catch up. (And that's when we haven't cancelled on them because we're fed up of having weekends booked up months in advance).

We use them to film gigs rather than lose ourselves in the music. And a quick walk down a busy street will show you around eight out of 10 people have their heads down, scrolling on their phones while they are walking.

This isn't just a phone problem though. Many of us will acknowledge how crap social media makes us feel, but admit we're just as guilty of posting: "OMG, having the best time EVER" when we're meant to be relaxing on a beach. And all of us have a hate-hate relationship with our email inboxes that seem to endlessly refill like a terrifying cornucopia.

This isn't our phone's fault, or social media for that matter. It's a symptom of this crazy, hyper-connected world we're living in, where we feel like we have to be online all the time.

What are we so afraid of missing out on? And truly, what are the consequences of setting up boundaries - whether it is with your boss or your mates - so that you can reclaim some digital sanity in your life?

There is no better person to ask than someone who has been at the top and experienced an emotional crash. That's why I'll be chatting to Michael Acton Smith, who owns tech start-up company Mind Candy and created Moshi Monsters, at Bestival on Saturday 12 September.

Michael had his own epiphany after he experienced total burnout that required a stint in the Austrian mountains to reset his life balance.

Not all of us will need to escape to the mountains. In fact, ideally, you'll be able to make the small but necessary changes to restoring balance to your life before it even gets to that point.

We're not suggesting you need to switch off your devices either. I work for an online company, and Michael's life's work is around technology. We're just saying that a conversation needs to happen around how trapped it makes us feel, and how we all have the power to change that.

So here's to the next digital revolution because the current one isn't quite working for us.