MOTLEY, Minn. — When Sivert Klefsaas was just 12 years old, his mom Lorna made him a promise. If he could stay off social media until he was 18, she would pay him $1,800.
She called it her “18 for 18 challenge.”
"Being 12, I didn't really have that great of a concept of money yet. So, I was like oh sick, yeah, absolutely,” Sivert laughs.
"He was going to buy a car,” his mother Lorna adds.
“Oh, I had plans,” Sivert laughs.
Being a competitive kid, Sivert treated the challenge like it was one of his football or basketball games, and he wasn't going to lose.
"He did really dig in. He was like ‘I'm not breaking this.’ I'm proud of him, because there were a few times where it was harder,” Lorna says.
"I knew for sure he was going to make it."
And make it he did, this weekend on his 18th birthday, Sivert kept his promise and earned himself $1,800.
Lorna says it's the best money she's ever spent, because she knows firsthand how teens can struggle with social media, she saw it with Sivert's older sister.
"She got so obsessed with keeping up her Snapchat streaks that really it was affecting her mood. It was affecting her friendships,” Lorna explains.
"I mean, it was like an intervention. She was really, really upset, but it was not even three weeks later that she thanked us and said she was so happy to not have her phone."
Lorna says her daughter is now in grad school and is doing well with her grades and social life.
She says her daughter now has a healthy relationship with social media, but Lorna wanted to see if she could save her youngest child Sivert from going through the same hardship.
"You just hear about all the stuff that goes on and just with my friends and with school, and like, ‘oh somebody said this about you’ and ‘oh somebody did that.’ And I was really spared from all that,” Sivert explains.
But make no mistake, one of the first things Sivert did on his 18th birthday, he got himself an account on Instagram.
"It's hilarious. I feel like I'm like 80. I can't seem to figure out social media. It's pretty embarrassing. I'll be with my friends, and they are like, 'what are you doing?'" Sivert laughs.
Sivert says it's been tough at times, being out of the loop with certain viral trends and news of the day, but he says his friends have always filled him in.
And he believes not having social media gave him more time to focus on his grades and sports.
He's currently going through offers to play football in college, and now that he's 18, he feels he's more mature and ready to navigate the complex world of social media.
"On the whole I would say totally worth it. I mean, I would do it again,” Sivert says.
Lorna says she came up with the idea for her “18 for 18 challenge” after hearing a story on the radio about another mom who had started a “16 for 16 challenge” for her daughter.
Lorna thought she would try to extend her own challenge out an extra two years until her son was a fully legal adult.
After her son completed his challenge, Lorna posted about it on her Facebook page.
Since her post went out she has heard from at least a dozen moms who are interested in setting up challenges for their kids.
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