Mom Pays Son, Sivert Klefsaas, $1,800 to Stay off Social Media 

TisBest is on a mission to #RedefineGifting by replacing gifts of stuff with gifts of good. In that spirit, we like to feature heartwarming stories of special people, like Sivert Klefsaas, who are also doing good in this world. We hope it inspires you to spread some kindness and love in your communities.

When Sivert Klefsaas was 12 years old, his mom, Lorna, challenged him to stay off social media for the duration of his childhood. In exchange she offered to pay him $1,800 on his 18th birthday. Sivert stuck to the challenge for six years and cashed in his reward. Then he got more than he bargained for after, ironically, his mom’s social media post about the challenge went viral.

Sivert Klefsaas Accepts His Mom’s 18 for 18 Challenge

Lorna Klefsaas of Motley, Minnesota has 4 children. Her three older daughters all had social media accounts as teenagers. Over the years their social media use caused various issues including struggles with self-esteem. In fact, one of her daughters felt particularly anxious and depressed and it affected her friendships. When her youngest child, Sivert Klefsass, turned 12 she wanted to protect him from the addictive apps.

Lorna heard a story on the radio about another mom who offered her daughter $1,600 to stay off social media until her 16th birthday. It was called the 16 for 16 challenge. Lorna loved the idea, but wanted to keep social media off limits for her son until he turned 18. So she proposed an 18 for 18 challenge. When Lorna asked Sivert if he would stay off social media until he turned 18 in exchange for $1,800 he gladly accepted the challenge. Later, he learned that $1,800 wouldn’t buy him as much as he hoped it would.

Money Isn’t the Biggest Motivator

Then 12-year-old Sivert Klefsaas had big plans for his future windfall of cash. He dreamt of buying a house and a car. He even thought he wouldn’t have to work. As he got older and learned the value of a dollar he realized that dream was quite far-fetched. Over the six years there were moments when Sivert considered forfeiting the challenge. At one point, while working at Dairy Queen, he earned almost as much as his $1,800 reward. That made him chuckle, but he still stayed the course. Even during the social isolation of the pandemic he didn’t waver. Sticking to the challenge wasn’t about the money. Sivert is super competitive and simply wanted to win his mom’s bet.

Mom Worries Son Will Be a Social Outcast

Lorna admits that she had some concerns about the challenge. Social media is how teenagers communicate. She didn’t want her son to feel ostracized. However, after witnessing the impact social media had on her daughters she knew it was worth a try. It was always a battle taking phones away from her daughters when they got into trouble with social media. She thought it would be easier to start the challenge when Sivert was 12 because, unlike his older siblings, he wasn’t yet addicted to the technology.

Sivert Klefsaas admits staying off apps like Snapchat and TikTok wasn’t all that difficult. His friends didn’t give him a hard time about it and usually kept him in the loop with the latest trends. In fact, he was happy to avoid all of the drama he saw his friends going through. What’s more, staying off social media didn’t really affect his social life at all. Sivert was a great student, a running back for his high school football team, and enjoyed lots of actual face time with his friends.

Mom’s Social Media Ban Facebook Post Goes Viral

When Sivert turned 18 he woke up, cashed in on his $1,800 prize, and downloaded Instagram. That same day, Lorna posted about her son’s successful completion of the 18 for 18 challenge on her Facebook page. Ironically, the post went viral generating attention from local news stations and national media including The Washington Post, CNN, and Good Morning America. She and Sivert also were surprised with an invitation to The Ellen DeGeneres Show!

Sivert Klefsaas receives a TisBest check on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

The Ellen DeGeneres Show Blows Up Teen’s Instagram Feed

The Ellen DeGeneres Show welcomed Sivert Klefsaas and his mom, Lorna, to the show. Sivert shared what it was like to spend his teen years without social media. Then he showed the host his first Instagram post. It was a picture of his six-year-old self holding a firecracker. The caption read: “How I feel about my new Instagram.” Since he only had one post so far the host held up her phone and took a selfie with Sivert to add to his feed. Then she said she would follow his account. Next, the host invited Sivert to take on another social media challenge.

Sivert Klefsaas Cashes in Way More Than Expected at Age 18

Since Sivert missed out on a lot of social media trends over the past six years, The Ellen DeGeneres Show invited him to try some old-school viral challenges. He had 45 seconds to take on TikTok’s whipped cream, water bottle flip, and cup challenges. After successfully completing two out of the three he was surprised with an unbelievable birthday gift. The Ellen DeGeneres Show partnered with TisBest Philanthropy to give Sivert $10,000 towards his college education. He also received a $5,000 TisBest Charity Gift Card to pay forward to the charities of his choice. 

In the fall Sivert will attend the University of Northwestern at St. Paul where he will play football. Now that Sivert is on social media he has some advice for other teens. In an interview with Good Morning America he shared, “Social media is great. Absolutely use it, but make sure you invest time in other areas of your life, too, especially those in-person relationships.”

A TisBest Charity Gift Card featuring a cheerful happy birthday candles design.

Create More Warm Fuzzies!

Join us in the movement to #RedefineGifting by replacing gifts of stuff with gifts of good. If you feel inspired by this heartwarming story, spread a little more love in our world. Send a TisBest Charity Gift Card to those close to your heart so they can pay it forward to a charity that is close to theirs. Or give a card to a stranger as a random act of kindness. Together, you’ll do a world of good.

Share your giving stories with us on social by tagging your post with #RedefineGifting.