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Teen gets R28K for staying off social media for six years

MOTHER of four had seen how the continuous use of social media had negatively impacted her other children’s mental health. Picture: Thomas Ulrich/Pixabay

MOTHER of four had seen how the continuous use of social media had negatively impacted her other children’s mental health. Picture: Thomas Ulrich/Pixabay

Published Feb 28, 2022

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When Sivert Klefsaas was 12 years old, he entered into what some would describe as a bizarre bet with his mother.

The Minnesota teen was challenged to stay off social media until he was 18. To sweeten the deal, his mother Lorna promised a large amount of cash if he succeeded, the Daily Mail reported.

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Called the 18 for 18 challenge, if Sivert could make it through the six years without a single click on apps like Instagram and Facebook, he’d be greatly rewarded with $1 800 (R27.5K).

Lorna said she got the idea for the reward system after hearing about another mother who did a “16 for 16 challenge” with her child.

“He did really dig in,” she said.

“He was like ‘I’m not breaking this’. I’m proud of him, because there were a few times where it was harder. I knew for sure he was going to make it.”

And that’s exactly what Sivert did. On February 19, he completed the challenge and received his big payout.

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The mother of four had seen how the continuous use of social media had negatively impacted her other children’s mental health, and didn’t want Sivert veering down the same path.

But it was hard for the 12-year-old when he first started his social media detox.

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“I wouldn't say there was ever a time where I thought I was about to break,” he told CNN.

“As it went on, it was more of a pride thing,” he said.

Now that he’s older and wiser, Sivert has cautiously rejoined the digital world, starting with Instagram with a picture of his younger self, saying: “How I feel about my new Instagram”.

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“It’s hilarious. I feel like I’m 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?’” he said.

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