In short: Most people these days would struggle to stay away from social media for six days, and this is especially true for teenagers. But one 12-year-old managed to resist the temptations of TikTok, Instagram and all other platforms for six years, for which he received an award of $ 1,800 from his mother.
CNN reports that in 2016, Lorna Goldstrand Klefsaas urged her 12-year-old son, Sievert, to stay off social media until he was 18, promising a cash prize on his birthday if he succeeded in doing so.
Lorna says the idea came from a competition she heard on the radio called “16 by 16,” in which a mother gave her 12-year-old daughter $1,600 for her sixteenth birthday if she didn’t use social media before then. Lorna offered her son the same trial, but changed it to six years and added an extra $200 – $18 for 18, essentially.
Luckily for Sievert, he didn’t use social media very much when he bet – the only app he had was Snapchat, which he deleted the day after he tried it. “I wouldn’t say there was a time when I thought I was about to break,” he said. “As it went on, it was more than pride.”
Sievert said his friends helped him keep up with all the latest social media trends. He also appreciated being able to avoid the “unnecessary drama” that often happens with Facebook, Instagram, etc. There were other benefits, including being able to devote more time to academics and sports.
Asked if he would jump into the social media world after the bet was over, Sievert replied that he had already joined Instagram, though the years had made him less confident than most teenagers. “There is definitely a learning curve,” Sievert said. “I can see my friends running their social media apps, but I can’t do it yet.”
The challenge was partly driven by the Sievert sisters, who, according to Lorna, “got too engrossed” in their apps while growing up. “It affected their mood, their friendship and was kind of a depressant,” she said. Last year, it was reported that Facebook was understanding Instagram’s negative impact on the mental health of teenage girls.
Back in 2019, this writer struggled to last just three weeks without social media. Over time, his absence has become a little easier, but I admit that I felt relieved when I returned to his exciting embrace.