There is a lot of research that needs to be done on the effect that social media has on adolescents but the early studies suggest some reason for concern. The University of Columbia says that the more time teens spend on social media, the more likely they will experience mental health symptoms like anxiety, isolation, and hopelessness.

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.

A Minnesota mom is now making headlines for giving her son an offer he (apparently) couldn’t refuse: If he managed to stay off all forms of social media until his 18th birthday, she’d reward him with $1,800 for his efforts.

Tempted by what he thought was a pretty sweet offer, the boy gladly accepted the challenge and stuck to his promise until finally turning 18 this week. But here’s the most impressive part of this story: The challenge started six years ago when he was just 12 years old — and somehow, he’s managed to survive this whole time.

Lorna Klefsaas told Good Morning America:

“They were offering their child $1,600 to do something until they were 16. 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, she explained:

“I had concerns over how I had seen it being used. 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.’”

Watch it here: GMA/Youtube

She wanted to do whatever she could to keep him off social media, so she made him a bet. If he could stay off until he was 18, she would pay him $1,800. She called it the “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 said.

The student-athlete took on the challenge just like it was football or basketball. “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,” Klefsaas said.

“I knew for sure he was going to make it,” she added.

This year, Sivert turned 18 and his mom handed him the check.

Sivert was handed his $1,800 reward on February 19, plus a brand-new phone — on which he immediately downloaded Instagram to see what he’s been missing out on all these years.

And to his surprise … it’s been a lot to take in.

“It’s hilarious,” the teen admitted, “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?'”

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.”

Source: WesternJournal

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