Liam Payne wants people to put their phones down and reconnect with one another.

The 'Strip That Down' hitmaker relished his recent trek through Africa with former soldier Ant Middleton for TV special 'Ant Middleton & Liam Payne: Straight Talking' as the lack of social media meant they could make a genuine connection with one another.

He said: ''When I was in remote Africa, there was no phone signal and no clouds in the sky, so no light pollution. We were making fires, and chatting was our only entertainment.

''And when you're able to sit in silence with somebody and not have to fill it, that's when you know you've got a true friend, a true relationship with somebody. I think I and a lot of people have kind of lost touch with that because we're so used to these little 30-second bites of information...

''It has taught me that with the way life is, especially with social media and with young people who are its biggest consumers, we're so much more interested in what everybody else is doing, we're forgetting to just be ourselves.

''So, I recommend that everyone puts their phones down and stops for a few minutes every day. They'll find they're not spending their hours consumed by thinking about what everybody else is doing. Because if you get wrapped up in this manic merry-go-round and in everybody else's problems, you forget to deal with your own. And you fail to see the bigger picture.''

The 26-year-old singer - who has two-year-old son Bear with former partner Cheryl - learned the ''true power'' of both honest conversation and silence while on the trip.

He added to the new issue of Radio Times magazine: ''It was quite an awakening for me as Ant got me to talk frankly - and I think I made Ant open up about the things that matter to him as well.

''But it was the moments when we didn't speak that changed my life for ever, when I learnt the true power of conversation - and silence.''