Research has shown Instagram to be the worst social network for our mental health, and yet we just can't stay away. Even casual users can while away hours each day down a rabbit hole of idyllic sunsets, cherubic children and flawless plates of #AvoToast without recognising the impact on their mental health until it's too late.
The pressure to present the perfect life online is real and it's getting us down, with 62% of people feeling inadequate when they compare their lives to others' online, according to mental health startup Sanctus.
Luckily though, there's now a way to give the impression that you're living your best life without even the mental effort of having to colour-coordinate your bookshelves or curate the perfect brunch plate.
LifeFaker.com, "the world's first online life faking service", lets users buy ready-made photo packages that they can upload and present as their own lives. "Life isn’t perfect. Your profile should be," its slogan goes. "Instead of going to the trouble of living a perfect life, now you can just get the photos instead."
The photo packages are made for Instagram and include all the tropes we're used to seeing on the social network. These include ‘The Look At My Holiday and Cry Package’, 'My Sexy Boyfriend/Girlfriend', the interiors-focused 'I Just Happen To Live Here', ‘The I Found Love and Babies Package’, ‘The My Weekend Was Amazing Thanks Package’ and 'The Look What I Had for Lunch Package'.
But – and it's a big but – the company isn't quite what it seems. Far from seeking to further promote those hackneyed Instagram clichés, it actually seeks to weaken the grip they have over us and raise awareness of the negative impact social media can have on our mental health.
Anyone who tries to use the site will receive a message from Sanctus, the startup behind the initiative, reminding them that everyone feels the pressures of social media. They'll then be redirected to its website exploring how unhealthy behaviours on social media affect us and what we can do to change them.
Watch Life Faker's satirical (and actually genuinely funny) film about its services.
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