Hours On Social Media Could Be Affecting Your Mental Health

How many times have you scrolled through Instagram or any other social media platform and felt a bit jealous at how perfect, glamorous and exciting everybody else's life seems to be?

You really can't escape it. Wherever you look, you're guaranteed to see pictures of food that looks too good to eat, happy couples getting married or celebrating their anniversaries, people with Hasselhoff-esque tans swimming in swanky infinity pools. Suddenly, you've lost hours of your life looking at photos of someone else's.

Now, thanks to new start-up Lifefaker, you no longer have to settle for your own boring, ordinary life. Instead, you can use the world's first online life faking service. To save yourself the trouble of living a perfect life, you can just buy one of the company's ready-made photo packages to post as your own, guaranteeing to make your friends and followers jealous to the extreme.

There are a wealth of options to choose from on Lifefaker.com - including the 'Look At My Holiday And Cry' package, the 'I Found Love And Babies' package and the 'My Weekend Was Amazing Thanks' package, all designed to make your mates feel that, compared to yours, their lives are thoroughly worthless and inadequate.

As convincing - and, let's be honest, tempting - as that sounds, Lifefaker is actually as fake as the photos it is pretending to flog. The brainchild of mental health start-up Sanctus, the website is designed to remind us how much pressure social media places on everybody who uses it. In fact, as many as 62 percent of people feel inadequate when comparing their own lives to those they see portrayed online.

Anybody who actually tries to explore Lifefaker's packages further or even buy one will be greeted by a message from Sanctus about those very pressures. They can then click through to Sanctus.io to watch a film that explores the many unhealthy behaviours on social media and the devastating effects they can have on our mental health, as well as offering suggestions on what we can do to change them.

In the first three days of Lifefaker.com being online, more than 100,000 people checked out the site, but it's the knock-on effects of that which are the good news. Sanctus saw a 1,080% increase in site hits, a 667% increase in engagement on Twitter and a 1646% increase in Facebook reach.

And thanks to making the front pages of start-up sites Product Hunt and Hacker News, the campaign picked up momentum around the world in places as widespread as Japan, Europe, Australia and the USA

After all, what better way to highlight and confront the potentially detrimental, damaging effects of social media on people's mental health than through social media itself?

It's an incredibly valuable and worthwhile lesson for us all to remember the next time we start getting sucked into a social media black hole.

'U OK M8?' is an initiative from LADbible in partnership with a range of mental health charities which features a series of films and stories to raise awareness of mental health.

Explore more here and don't suffer in silence. Reach out. It's the brave thing to do.

MIND: 0300 123 3393.

Samaritans: 116 123.

CALM: Outside London 0808 802 5858, inside London 0800 58 58 58.

Mental Health Foundation

Featured Image Credit: PA

Mischa Pearlman

Mischa is a freelance journalist usually based in either New York or London. He has written for Kerrang!, Record Collector, NME, the New York Observer and FLOOD magazine, among others. Contact him at [email protected]

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