Why this mom paid her son R27 000 to stay off social media for 6 years

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Sivert Klefsaas on his 18th birthday when he scored a R27 000 payday for staying off social media. (PHOTO: Facebook)
Sivert Klefsaas on his 18th birthday when he scored a R27 000 payday for staying off social media. (PHOTO: Facebook)

Good things come to those who wait – just ask Sivert Klefsaas from Minnesota in the USA who is now R27 000 richer having given up social media for six years. 

He was just 12 when his mother, Lorna, challenged him to quit his online habit. The teen, who is described as “competitive”, was more than happy to participate. 

“Being 12, I didn’t really have that great of a concept of money yet. So, I was like oh sick, yeah, absolutely,” Sivert told Kare, an American TV station. 

But his years of sacrifice paid off handsomely on 19 February, his 18th birthday, when he was awarded his prize money. 

social media, parenting
Sivert with his mother, Lorna. She challenged him to keep off all social media platforms. (PHOTO: Facebook)

Sivert is the youngest of Lorna’s four children. With her older kids she’d noticed how social media had completely sucked them in. In fact one of them became so fixated that Lorna had to take away her phone for weeks. 

“She got so obsessed with keeping up her Snapchat streaks that, really, it was affecting her mood. It was affecting her friendships,” Lorna says. 

While listening to the radio, Lorna heard about the 16 for 16 challenge where a woman awarded her son $1 600 (about R24 000) to stay away from social media until he was 16. 

Having seen how social media had affected her daughter, she decided to ask Sivert if he would take up the challenge. Lorna thought 18 for 18 was better and decided to offer her son $1 800 (R27 000) instead. 

social media, sivert klefsaas
Sivert with his parents and sisters in 2016. (PHOTO: Facebook)

At that point Sivert had only used Snapchat, which he ended up deleting a day after accepting his mother’s challenge.

From 2016 he had no social media accounts. So what was life like being an online outcast?

Sivert says it was easy. 

“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.”

Time away from social media helped him to focus on what mattered to him. He chose to focus on his studies. His friends kept him updated about what was trending on social media. 

His mother never felt the need to check up on him as she knew he would keep his promise – his competitive nature ensured it.

In a Facebook post Lorna says she considers the R27 000 she paid him to stay off social media “some of the best money I have ever spent.”

Now that he has collected his earnings, Sivert’s not sure what he will do with the money. But he does plan to start using social media – starting with Instagram. 

“We are certainly not against social media but it’s the healthy using of it,” Lorna says. “It’s about not letting yourself get weighed down by it or addicted to it or affected by things that people post.”


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