What to do with kids addicted to video games? Make them code.

I was a teacher in East Asia for nearly a decade, I taught thousands of students and had my own academy towards the end. The number 1 complaint I still get from all the parents I came across is ‘my child is addicted to video games, how do I get them to stop?’

For a long time I bit my tongue, simply telling parents that I will talk to their kid and try to get them to change their ways. But I knew it was hopeless, for most kids, nothing in this world is as captivating as the worlds they step into in their video games.

So how to get them to stop? The answer is simple. Don’t. Let them play, just make them code.


The future belongs to programmers. Linkedin recently listed the top 10 skills of 2016, all 10 are related to computer programming or computer science.

What’s more, every other job is in jeopardy. Automation will kill the factory worker and servicemen. Artificial Intelligence will eventually consume the rest. The last to go? Entertainers, perhaps teachers, and programmers. (Though one day machines will be better at each of those as well)

But that is still a long way away. We need to think about what to do in the interim period, a period which has already begun. Unfortunately most people are woefully unprepared. This is due in part to a failing of our education system as much of it is based on rote learning, a skill that will be one of the least valuable in the future as it is among the easiest things to get a computer to do.

The most difficult jobs to replace will be those that require ingenuity and creativity. Both of which are traits that programmers are forced to develop as their job essentially is to tackle problems by thinking of new ways to write and weave together lines of code.

So how to start? Thankfully that’s easy. Enroll in one of a number of online courses, download the software, and start coding. Once they see what it’s like to create their own worlds they’ll be hooked.

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