Digital Wellbeing: Why I’m hooked


If you’re reading this article, then you’re currently online. Maybe you found your way here through our LinkedIn or Twitter, as part of your daily routine.  Like making a cup of tea. Or maybe even less conscious than that: something unplanned that just happened. Like scratching an itch.

The downside of my daily internet use is that I am so used to it, I rarely question it. In short, I have yet to live and breathe digital wellbeing, it has not become a part of my routine in the same way that a quick Insta scroll has.

Fortunately, I am getting better, and this is down to AGL’s partnership with LookUp, a global organisation empowering young people to build a healthier, more inclusive digital world. This is evidently an ambitious goal but by supporting young people’s innovations LookUp and AGL are taking concrete steps to push the dial the right way.

At this stage you might be wondering how AGL in London and LookUp based in San Francisco ever came together. Well in short, through the internet. But the real answer is that Lucy Gordon Lennox, our chairman, had for a long time been concerned about how social media and smartphones were affecting the so-called digital generation and was committed to taking action to improve the situation. In conducting her research, she came across LookUp and signed up to their first ever Youth 4 Youth iSummit, in 2020. At this event Lucy saw that LookUp shared her belief that this problem is best tackled by young people themselves. They understand the positives and negatives of the digital world and are ready to act to even the balance between harms and opportunities.

A year later and it was AGL’s turn to take part in the Summit, we were the title sponsor along with the team behind The Social Dilemma, a must-watch exposé of how social media companies operate. In this our first summit, we hosted four panel discussions and a spotlight event with Nedum Onuoha. Onuoha a former Premier League star and Captain of QPR, my club, was interviewed on football-related racism online.

These sessions were so powerful, as the panellists spoke from their own online experiences and were focused on taking concrete action to improve the digital world for their own generation and ones to come. Seeing is believing, so if you would like to dip into any of our sessions or other great summit moments, please follow this link here.

If you only watch one, then I suggest you view Minnie Stephenson’s interview with Nedum Onuoha. This is a highly disinterested act, as I moderated a panel too; however, Nedum talks about his own experiences and the state of the game at large with such poise, candour, and nuance that it shouldn’t be missed.

There are many people who I would like to thank for making AGL’s contribution to the event so special. The students from St Paul’s Girls School, Francis Holland School, Sloane Square, Brighton College, St Edward’s School, Oxford, and Downe House School; the wonderful young adults Ella Meadon, Millie Silcox, Madeleine Guinness, and Mary Amanuel; our moderators Liz Smith, Ryan Bell and Nelson McMillan; Dr Lawrence Ampofo, our speaker on digital wellbeing; and Minnie Stephenson who interviewed Nedum Onuoha in our spotlight session.

Hopefully by following our work with LookUp you will, like me, get that bit better at working on your own digital wellbeing.