Five steps to turning your kid's video game obsession into a career
If you’re feeling like your child spends more time in a virtual world than in the real one, don’t stress; you can make it a good thing. Here’s how.
Step #1 Change your outlook
The catatonic stare of a video game-addicted child can be hard for parents to witness. It’s almost like we can see the spark of active brain cells flicker and then die, through their wide eyes. But this obsession isn’t going anywhere and nagging or threatening will not take away their desire to play. It might, however, create a tense and negative vibe in your home and put a strain on your relationship with your child. As the parent, you have the power to change your attitude towards their obsession. But how?
Everyone is different. Everyone likes different things. Your kids will like what they like, whether you like it or not. Some people go through life without ever finding something they love as much as your child loves the virtual world, so you could even say, they’re lucky! Inspiration can come from anywhere. Once you've come to terms with the fact that its video games that inspire your child, you can start working on turning that inspiration into motivation for something more. Of course, set boundaries—no child should be allowed to wither away on the couch while life passes them by—but once you’ve opened your eyes to the positive side of their obsession, things become a lot easier.
Step #2 Think ahead
There are many surprising benefits of playing video games; building problem solving and visual-spacial skills, as well as making social connections through shared interests are just a few. Kids who play video games are often very creative, which, combined with their love of gaming can lead to some great career options as video-game designers, animators, or coders.
The average yearly salary for a coder in Australia is around $100,000, almost double the average salary in Australia. Coding is arguably the most important job skill of the future, so if your child already shows an interest in it, you’re in luck. It pays to nurture that interest properly.
Step #3: Broaden their interest
Now that you have accepted your child’s obsession, you can encourage it, but on your own terms. Talk about coding legends at the dinner table—Mark Zuckerberg started coding when he was 8; Bill Gates started when he was 13. Drop fact-bombs like “Elon Musk taught himself to code at the age of 10 and sold his first computer game when he turned 12!” Invest in some coding books and talk to parents of your child’s gamer friends to get them on the same page. Your mission: to turn your child's video-game obsession into something tangible.
Step #4: Talk to your kids about their future
Now’s your chance to convert their passion into a goal for a future career; they can do what they love and get paid (pretty darn well) for it! There are a few directions they could take in Australia:
Video Game Programmer - Responsible for writing the code that brings the video games they love so much to life. They take an idea, and work on transforming it into a fully functioning, playable game that other kids like them can become obsessed with.
Video Game Designer - Responsible for designing the player experience and creating the storyline, characters, and dialogue in a video game. They also help set the rules and the strategy.
3D Artist – Responsible for creating the models for all 3D art assets in a game ie, characters, weapons, surroundings etc. They take a brief or 2D drawing from a concept artist and turn it into a 3D experience
Step #5: Develop their skill early
It may feel like this is encouraging even more gaming, but what you’re actually doing is encouraging them to learn the skills behind the video games they play, in a fun, creative and safe space. At Code Camp, kids develop skills like creativity, collaboration and critical thinking while they design, code and create their very own game, which is super cool (not something any of us could have imagined doing as kids!) Since 2013 Code Camp has inspired more than 100,000 kids to unleash imaginative ideas through technology, and they get to do it, surrounded by people who have real life coding experience and are probably as game-obsessed as your child. How great is that!?