RIVERTON, Utah - Devyn Ricks may be the very definition of a "cool mom" as she supports her family by teaching video games to children online.
Ricks, 30, conducts her classes through Outschool from her home in Riverton, Utah. Her weekly hour-long courses cost $15 to tutor children in games like "Zelda," "Mario Kart," and "Kirby." Currently, many of her students are between 9 and 14 years old.
She rakes in around $4,000 a month through her classes. Her gig helps support her husband, who’s currently in dental school, and their four daughters, ranging from 2 to 9 years old.
"So it’s not like we can live off of the student loans and be in a one-bedroom apartment," Ricks told FOX Television Stations. "We had to find something that worked, and this is what I kind of stumbled into."
"I love video games. I really do," she added.
Ricks said her background is in teaching various academic and foreign language classes virtually to students in other countries. She then started a creative writing class around the video game "Zelda." That led to her starting a social club with other video gamers, which parlayed into a teaching course in February 2021.
Ricks said many parents support her courses because she’s providing a safe space for children to learn about the video games they play.
"These kids, they don’t know how to do a lot of these puzzles and things, and it’s dangerous for them to navigate the internet solo," she said.
Ricks believes she’s also teaching children other useful skills. Before showing students how to proceed in a game, she sometimes sees if other students know first.
"One of the biggest skills I like to teach them is a little bit of leadership," she continued. "A lot of these students want to share their knowledge."
She believes her method builds confidence, friendships and team effort.
The mother also believes she’s fostering a community of young video games, and breaking the stigma of video gamers being introverted homebodies.
"It’s opening up this community for kids and for myself," she added. "I do think I’m breaking that stigma a little bit."
Ricks would like to expand her classes, possibly even hiring other instructors to teach some of her courses.
However, there’s one game Ricks can’t teach. Ricks said she can’t tutor children in "Minecraft" simply because she doesn’t like it. She also stays away from teaching violent video games, opting more for the family-friendly ones.
As for being called a "cool mom," Ricks jokes she’s not sure if her daughters would give her that title.
"I think I’m a pretty fun mom," she added. "But not so fun when I tell them to clean their rooms."
This story was reported from Los Angeles.