Most families have a tortured relationship with electronic devices and social media. Older generations often complain that young people are always glued to a screen, and the pandemic didn’t ease that trend at all.
But six years ago, one mom had an idea after hearing of a challenge other parents had set for their kid.
“They were offering their child $1,600 to do something until they were 16,” Lorna Klefsaas told Good Morning America. “But I just remember thinking, ‘Ooh, that’s a really clever idea.’”
Lorna had seen the way her older children had been affected by social media and didn’t want the same thing to happen to her 12-year-old son Sivert.
“I had concerns over how I had seen it being used,” she explained. “One of my daughters in particular got deeply involved with it where it was affecting her mood, her friendships. It was hurting her feelings. … That just ended up being really detrimental to her.”
“So I thought, ‘Boy, if I could, I’d be willing to do whatever to keep Sivert off as long as I could, whatever that looks like.’”
So she told him if he stayed off social media until he was 18, she’d give him $1,800.
“I was 12 [and thought], “Oh yeah, $1800? That’s awesome,’” Sivert recalled. “That’s more money I’ve ever had in my life. Six years? That’s nothing. I can do this.”
As the years passed, the challenge certainly became more difficult, but Sivert said he’s so competitive that it became a point of pride for him.
“I think halfway through I was like, ‘Oh, maybe I want to be done,’” he said. “But then I was like, ‘Well, then I did the last three years for nothing.’ So it was a pride issue.”
This year, Sivert turned 18 and his mom handed him the check.
“Six years ago I offered Sivert $1800 to stay off social media until he was 18,” Lorna posted on Facebook on Feb. 18. “Even though $1800 is a lot more to a 12 year old than it is to an 18 year old he has stuck to our deal. He turns 18 tomorrow. He will have $1800 in his pocket and new accounts on Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter!
“FYI — it’s some of the best money I have ever spent!!!”
Lorna said Sivert has been very invested in school, sports and other worthwhile pursuits to a degree she thinks would not have been possible if he’d been an avid user of social media.
“He really invested into athletics and academics and I think it’s paid off and I think we see that in how successful he has been,” Lorna said. “I know in retrospect, I would pay a lot more than $1,800 to get the results that we had.”
“I was really able to avoid a lot of the drama that I guess people like high schoolers on Instagram have to deal with,” Sivert said.
While Sivert will now be on social media, he says focusing on the important things is crucial.
“Social media is great. Absolutely use it,” he said. “Make sure you invest time in other areas of your life too, especially those in-person relationships.”