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Instead Of Just Playing, These Two Grade 8 Students Code Their Own Video Games During Their Free Time
PHOTO BY GENILO SOSA, MARIFE REBUYON
  • "Puro ka computer!" "Kaka-computer mo yan!"

    If you are a parent of a teen, then you must have said these lines at least once, especially during a time when children and teens are restricted to go out due to a global pandemic. 

    But as one teen pointed out, sometimes, teens find comfort and refuge in the virtual world that they are in when they are playing.

    In a video posted by Genilo Adrian Sosa on TikTok, netizens were amused that 13-year-old Andrei Lloyd Sosa is able to code games using python programming language. 

    "I was in Grade 6 when the pandemic started, I learned to code just as a hobby. Because my parents restricted me from video games, I thought making games is not considered as playing games, since I'm making them," Andrei told Smart Parenting.

    His brother was shocked when he saw that the game that his younger brother was playing was THE game that he actually created.

    "Nagulat ako, lahat ng code binuild niya sa natutunan nya sa YouTube," he said.

    Set healthy limits

    Their mom, Liberty Sosa, told Smart Parenting that they were amazed to learn about their son's feat after they got featured in a story by Manila Bulletin. Andrei's dad works as a seafarer, and his mom works as a local government employee.

    "I was surprised and amazed na he learns programming languages on his own. My husband and I encourage our kids to study on their own but they can always ask me anytime about anything kung kaya ko rin lang. We set limits po, and I am happy naman po that they comply willingly."

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    PHOTO BY GENILO SOSA

    An incoming Grade 8 student at Cavite Science Integrated School, Andrei has already created two games using python programming language that he mostly learned from watching YouTube videos.

    "Because my parents restricted me from video games, I thought making games is not considered as playing games, since I'm making them." 

    He has a message to parents who are banning their children from playing games. "In restricting their screentime and [use of] gadgets, they are also restricting them from the good that they could find. Don't fully restrict them or give them freedom, because they will not know what is wrong and what is right. The right balance of restriction and control they will be good in what they are pursuing."

    He shared what he does to keep the trust of his parents, "I can build their trust by continue doing what I like, and if I show them results, they will allow me more and more over time."

    PHOTO BY GENILO SOSA
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    Andrei tells parents that setting limits can also be healthy if executed properly. He said, teens first need the right motivation to do something. "A restriction that you can't play games during schooltime - how do I get around this? How do I continue? From there, they will still do what they like but in a more productive way."

    He said he wants to be an engineer someday, but game development is something that he also wants to pursue. 

    He vows, "I will continue my education and my hobby like doing robotics and programming when I have free time. I'll continue to make it."

    Support your child all the way

    Among the netizens who were able to relate to Andrei's story was Jan Christopher Rebuyon, 13, from Davao City.

    Jan told Smart Parenting, he was invited to join a robotics competition when he was in Grade 4, and that's how he discovered programming. Then he was able to buy a book about C++ programming language that helped him in creating his first game. 

    Marife Rebuyon, Jan's mom, revealed that ever since her son was younger, he has been an achiever.

    PHOTO BY MARIFE REBUYON
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    "Sinusuportahan talaga namin, kami ng husband ko. Ginagabayan namin sila paglabas nila hanggang paglaki, dun mo malalaman ano ang growth and devt nila at anong gusto nila at hindi."

    A mom of four, she tells parents that their kids' success depends on them. "Dapat andyan pa rin tayo palagi naka-support sa kanila everytime kahit meron tayong trabaho, bigyan natin sila ng time every day kahit 1 hour lang, makita natin ano yung movement, attitude, ano yung ginagawa nila."

    Jan has been creating a game inspired by Pinoy mythology, which fascinates him. "Ang goal ko sa game development ay makagawa ako ng mga worlds where lahat ng gusto mo magagawa mo," Jan said.

    He has been diagnosed with diabetes mellitus at an early age, but it didn't stop him from excelling in his studies. Thanks to the help of his parents and his mentor and teacher, Anna Kristine Osorio.

    "Lahat tayo special, lahat tayo magaling sa isang bagay, kaya try their best na i-expose nila yung anak saan sila magaling, kung makita nila kung saan sila magaling, i-support nalang nila dahil malayo ang maabot nila."

    Jan said he wants to become a mechatronics engineer someday.

    "The only way you can convince them [your parents] is by showing them results. I am a director's lister, but I also publish games at the same time."

    He revealed the biggest contribution of his parents to his success. "Not holding me back. isang problem sa generation namin, pag makita ng parents na hindi sa kanila ang time, hinohold back. Like gaming, it's good as long as you don't overdo it."

    For his mom, "Tingnan kung anong gusto ng anak niyo tapos pakinggan niyo sila anong sinasabi, bigyan niyo sila ng pansin, doon mo malaman ano ang interes nila, doon mo suportahan anong gusto nila." 

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    "Bigyan mo sila ng oras, bawat araw, malalaman mo doon ano at sino sila sa buhay nila habang lumalaki," Marife stressed.

    Jan is an incoming Grade 8 student in the Philippine Science High School Southern Mindanao campus.

    He added, "The only way you can convince them [your parents] is by showing them results. I am a director's lister, but I also publish games at the same time."

    Finding a middle ground

    Andre and Jan prove that striking a balance between setting limits and supporting your child's passions is key in raising a well-rounded child.

    Parents always think that they have the best intentions for their children. However, a 2020 study found that teens who feel that their parents are overly controlling may struggle in building relationships when they become adults.

    While setting rules and structure might be a good thing, there should also be trust built between the parent and the child, for this to work.

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