SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (KUTV) — A Utah mom is supporting her family in a way she never thought possible: through video games. Devyn Ricks said she grew up playing video games on and off.
"For a long time I felt very self-conscious about playing video games, especially as a girl,” she said.
But about a year ago it became much more than a hobby.
"I never ever would have thought I'd be making money playing video games of all things."
Ricks said she makes about $4,000 a month teaching video games and hosting gaming social clubs for kids online. She teaches through the online platform Outschool.
“My students are all over the world."
Working from home has always been important to Ricks, as she has four daughters under nine years old. She got her start teaching language and writing classes online, and would often use video games and the characters to teach lessons. But her students wanted more.
Now, Miss Devyn teaches around 30 video game classes a week, mainly for kids ages nine to eleven years old. The classes cost $13-$15 dollars each. Her lessons cover "Pokémon," "The Legend of Zelda," "Mario Kart," and "Animal Crossing."
Her class structure depends on the game, and how much assistance a student wants. She might help them solve puzzles, beat levels, or practice playing against each other and sharing gaming advice.
"We all get online together, and we race against each other. And then I have this little trophy in my office and I'm like 'You're the star!' And they're like 'I'm the star!' It's so fun,” she said.
Her classes not only help the kids have fun while playing, but also ensure gaming isn't an isolating experience. Her students are connecting with kids who understand them.
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"They can talk about it and not feel judged or self-conscious because we all love video games."
Her classes are also a safe haven for parents, who know all too well the dangers kids face online.