When Lorna Klefsaas saw her teenage daughter’s mental health suffer because of social media, she wanted to protect her youngest son from the same fate. For this, she had a funny idea.
All parents raising children born in the age of social media know it: it is important to discuss the dangers of the internet and the amount of screen time spent on screens. In the face of overwhelming evidence that social media harms the mental health of children and teens, many parents are concerned about how often their children spend online. And Lorna Klefsaas, an American mom, is one of them. To protect her youngest son from all of this, she took a unique and surprising approach.
He accepts his mother’s challenge and deprives himself of social networks until he is 18
6 years ago, Sivert, Lorna’s youngest son, is 12 years old. For her birthday, the mother of the family challenges her: to stay off social networks until her 18th birthday. If he succeeds, Sivert will receive $1800, or nearly €1600. The boy tells the Mirror he accepted the challenge, not really realizing the value of money at the time. Lorna knows that she asks a lot of her son. However, Sivert takes up the challenge brilliantly! After receiving his reward on the occasion of his birthday, the young man confides: “I would not say that there was never a moment when I thought of cracking.” But he was able to resist… until today, since now 18 years old, Sivert created his very first Instagram account.
“It’s about not getting weighed down by it, getting addicted to it”
If this decision on Lorna’s part may surprise, the mother of the family knows that it has been beneficial for her son. Indeed, she had this idea after seeing her daughter struggle on a daily basis, after becoming addicted to social networks. “She was so obsessed with looking at her Snapchat messages that it was really affecting her mood and her friendships,” Lorna says of her daughter. At the time, she therefore made the decision to withdraw her from social networks, which upset the teenager. But a few weeks later, the young girl was relieved and grateful for what her mother had done for her. Lorna noted that while the family isn’t against social media, they want their kids to use it in a healthy way. “It’s about not getting weighed down by it, getting addicted to it, or being affected by the things that people post.”