After seeing her daughters emotionally struggle using their social media accounts, a mother in Minnesota thought of challenging her youngest child, her 12-year-old son not to use any social media until he was 18 years old. Holding on to the promise that he would receive USD$1,800.00 on his birthday if he completed the task, he accepted the challenge.
52-year-old travel agent Lorna Klefsaas, a mother of 4 from Motley, Minnesota, was listening to the radio 6 years ago when she heard about the ‘16X16 Challenge’ wherein someone will be given USD$1,600.00 to do a challenge until they were 16-years-old. The idea sparked her attention.
Lorna and her husband have seen their 3 daughters emotionally struggle on various levels with their social media accounts while they were growing up. Resulting in one of them suffering from depression and anxiety. Lorna did not want this for her youngest and only son, Sivert.
“I just want to keep Sivert out of that thing for as long as I can,” she told The Epoch Times.
When 12-year-old Sivert entered the kitchen then, Lorna casually offered the challenge to him.
“I said, ‘Siv, would you consider not using social media until you’re 18 if I paid you $1,800?’” Lorna asked. The young boy accepted.
Now 18 years old and a senior student at the Staples-Motley High School, Sivert says, “I accepted it because it was a lot of money! I may never have more than $10 in my life. So, $1,800 sounds like a fortune. I remember back then I thought I would have enough money to buy a house and a car.”
Sivert initially believed that the challenge was very simple since he has never been using social media yet. “It’s not like I had to give up something — I just had to not start,” Sivert said. The challenge seemed easy at first, and he was driven by the promise of receiving the reward when he reaches 18.
However, when Sivert reached junior and senior years in high school, the difficulty began to sink in. Reaching his teens, Sivert realized that $1,800 was not as large as he thought. Additionally, there were also difficulties when you have no social media accounts. “It is very difficult when I will meet new people. Everyone will ask for my Snapchat. When I say I don’t have it, they don’t know any other way to stay in touch with me,” Sivert said.
He may have had some ‘missed’ social relationships then, but Sivert remained true to the challenge. He had a close friend who was aware of the challenge and ensures him of updates he missed online. His determination was ‘a matter of pride.’
“And the question of how much time I’ve invested, I don’t want to give up when I’ve been trying to push it for four to five years now! I just really want to win,” said Sivert.
Lorna looked back and remembered Sivert’s commitment as ‘extraordinary’. Not only was he able to ‘avoid the drama’ of social media during his teens, but he also had extra time for himself and to do things more important to him while his friends were busy with social media on their computer screens and smartphones.
“Sivert is an excellent student and also a great athlete. He has invested his time to be the best high school student he can be, and it has paid off. I also think it has given him incredible ‘personal’ skills,” Lorna said. “He is a good conversationalist, makes good eye contact, and engages in activities with the people around him. He had spent hours in academics and sports, and he was starting to see the rewards. He will be number 1 in his class. He scored his 1,000th point in basketball this year, and he rushed to break the 2,000-yard record in his football career. I am very proud of him.”
Sivert finally received his $1,800.00 reward on the morning of his 18th birthday. Lorna came into his room with the much-awaited check that he earned after sticking to the challenge for 6 years. Sivert Klefsaas plans to buy necessities for his dorm room with the money when he goes off to college.
“We both laughed about it because we knew it wasn’t close to the amount of money I thought I had when I was 12 years old. But overall, I feel proud of myself,” Sivert said.
At that exact moment, Sivert downloaded Instagram and Snapchat for the first time. The high school senior will enroll at Northwestern University in St. Louis, Missouri. Paul is working hard to earn a Business Administration degree. Sivert only uses his social media accounts to communicate and get updates about his friends and family.
“Sivert loves using social media, but he is not ‘addicted’ to it,” says Lorna. “I know he will not allow social media to determine his feelings about himself or his personal values.”
One comment Lorna received from the public was that she should have paid more money to her son to complete the challenge. Lorna agreed, though the results obtained are far more valuable than the expenses.
“At the time, I thought it was just a cute challenge — $1,800 for an 18-year-old. If I think back, I will pay more for the results we get.” Lorna said.
Congratulations, Sivert, for a job well done! #ChallengeAccepted
Images credits: Lorna Klefsaas/Facebook