Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Video Game Advantage for Kids: Video Games = Good? (Part 6 of 6)

By: Kate Camillo

Hopefully everyone is realizing the many positive, exciting and fantastic aspects of video games for children! Video games are actually an important contributor to children’s interactions, socialization, development of strategy and reflex action, and more. Our exploration of this topic has us saying with confidence - Video Games = GOOD!


We have talked about problem solving skills, concentration, focus, creativity, history, culture, neurogenesis and so much more. Video games are a normal part of childhood now as we are in the age of technology. There are games out there for everyone; sports games, racing games, historical games, single player games, multiplayer games. There is a video game that suits everyone’s interest whether it be tending to pets or racing your Lamborghini through the streets of LA. Your children will be able to meet other children through games and form a friendship based on similar interests. They can play together and learn how to work as a team or they can work on their leadership skills while teaching the rookie how to play a game. The act of teaching is very powerful for a child because they not only feel confident in their skills, but they also feel listened to. Competition is in our nature as humans and video games are a healthy and safe way for kids to express those competitive urges. Games help to motivate children, with rewards for going further on in the game. This motivation and drive can be rekindled as a child grows in school and their career. They will always feel driven to reach that next level, that next step. Video games aid in the improvement of the brain’s speed. This can affect coordination, decision making and multitasking skills. If your child is the best of the best, they can even compete in international competitions where they battle other gamers. This is a new category of sports called eSports, the “e” standing for electronic. By 2019, it is estimated that eSports will have an audience of 427 million people. Yup, MILLION! The top eSport gamer in the world has earned $3.7 million. Again, MILLION! Gamers are no longer the quiet kids in the class, they are strong, personable and are making some serious money. Video games just keep getting better and better!

Thanks for tuning into this series, I hope you enjoy what we have coming up for you next!

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Video Game Advantage for Kids: Video Games = Good? (Part 5 of 6)

By: Kate Camillo

Welcome back guys! I hope everyone has been enjoying this series so far. We are almost done and will be moving on to a new topic in the next couple of weeks. Before we get down to business, I just want to suggest to you guys to follow ONCEKids and Fujimini Island on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for updates, posts, and much more! 


Let’s talk about parent-child relationships. It can sometimes be hard to relate to your child if you have completely different interests. Video games can be a great way to connect with your child. You can play together or against each other. Video games also switch up the dynamic between parent and child. It will be your child’s turn to teach you how to do something. This will give your child a chance to have a leg up over mom and dad in something. This can do wonders for a kid’s confidence and overall mood. By giving a child the opportunity to teach a skill, you are helping their communication and social skills. They are also learning the value of practice and patience. Playing a game together is a great way to bond, the conversation between the two of you will come naturally. Playing against each other is also a great way to bond. It will spark a healthy competition between the two of you and will create a continuous setting to spend time together. No one gives up after a loss, there is always a rematch! Always a “same time, same place!” Always an “I’ll get you next time!” This ensures more time to bond, compete and grow a relationship. 

Video games help as a way to alleviate many things such as anxiety, stress, pain and cravings. The focus needed for games can be used as a helpful distraction from everyday bothers. Video games let you escape the outside world and completely dive into a new one where those everyday stresses do not exist. What a great book can do for some, a great game can do for others. Your kid had a hard day at school, let him go play his favorite game for an hour and watch his bad mood get replaced with an awesome one!

I am going to take this opportunity to drop a quote from a CBSNews article about a study done on effects of video games on children and I am sure it will speak for itself. “Those who played video games ... were associated with the highest levels of sociability and were most likely to say they were satisfied with their lives. They also appeared to have fewer friendship and emotional problems, and reported less hyperactivity than the other groups." 

The next time you see your child playing a video game ask to watch or even join! Hope you enjoyed this week’s blog and we’ll see you next week!

Monday, July 2, 2018

Video Game Advantage for Kids: Video Games = Good? (Part 4 of 6)

By: Kate Camillo

Welcome back, I hope you are enjoying your summer and having fun with your children! We’ve talked about problem solving skills, organization, culture and history. It’s now time to discuss some more educational benefits of video games! Who knew video games provided such great benefits for our kids? Studies have been done and research has been collected and I’m here to present it to you week by week in small bite-sized portions and who doesn’t love a little bite-sized snack? So get ready to sink your teeth into this week’s blog on video games.

Let’s start out with some words that parents will inevitably find impressive. Video games are proven to aid in neurogenesis. Neurogenesis is the growth of neurons. Video games stimulate that process. How impressive is that?! Video games also help kids recognize patterns. Along with seeing patterns, video games help with seeing in general. Video games can provide children with improvement in vision as the contrast sensitivity function of their eyes is being used. This allows them to be able to better detect contrast in images and surroundings. There’s even rumors about video games helping people with dyslexia develop learning strategies! The constantly changing environments that require intense focus can help those who suffer from dyslexia by providing them a place to practice the intense focus that is needed when dealing with the disorder. 

Having your child play video games increases their ability to think on their feet, make decisions, and enhance their multitasking skills. Throughout a game there will be multiple challenges a player  faces and there is absolutely no way to be successful without rapid thinking, action, and reaction; multi-tasking is built into the games leveling systems.  Video games reward risk-takers, but only the smart ones! Most games are programmed to be pro-risk. Learning to take educated risks that pay off? Sign me up! That’s exactly what kids should learn and why video games are important. Not only are your children learning and having to abide by the rules of the game, but they also have chances to take risks and have those risks pay off in real time. 

Last but not least, video games help kids make friends! They play online with each other; they can use a new game as a topic of conversation, and they can play against each other. Sometimes children have a hard time making friends because of a lack of similar interest or connection. Through video games, children interact with others playing games they are passionate about. Video games are worldwide; your child is potentially interacting with others from different countries and learning about those cultures. (Rewind to last week). While competing and working as teams, children are bonding and becoming friends. Children look forward to not only playing the game, but playing with their friends. It kills two birds with one stone. Video games provide friendship for kids, along with the dozens of other benefits! 

We are deep in this series and it just keeps getting better and better. Check back next week for more. Thanks for reading and keep on playing!

Monday, June 25, 2018

Video Game Advantage for Kids: Video Games = Good? (Part 3 of 6)

By: Kate Camillo

This week, we will be discussing how video games can spark children’s interest in history and culture! If you’re new, check out our previous blogs on other awesome benefits video games can bring to children- self-expression and problem-solving skills are on the rise! We’re halfway through this series and if you’re not on board yet, you are about to be! So, sit back, relax, and enjoy the virtual ride!
Children divulge into other worlds and outer dimensions easily; they dive head first into other cultures and new places, learning about cultural traits and exploring places through their games. Most popular games bring kids into a new virtual world, leading to expanded perspectives and knowledge of the surrounding world. The content in these video games inspires kids to learn and research. And we certainly cannot forget that content counts! As a parent, there are many opportunities to encourage your kids to learn about all sorts of topics such as world history, geography, ancient cultures, and contemporary international relations. It's time to take advantage of these opportunities and spark your child's interest in history, culture, and all related subjects. Video games are part of our contemporary culture; we need to embrace and pull out the best elements and benefits of them. 
As we know children's brains are like sponges, absorbing everything. It’s time to embrace video games’ learning and growth opportunities. Whether it’s the history of the very streets they walk on or the culture of a country thousands of miles away, children are constantly learning about what interests them and their peers. This creates a bigger platform for you, the parent, to be more involved in your child’s interests. This is a way to connect to your children; help them learn more about the place where their favorite or loathed character lives – whether it’s ancient Greece or the farmlands of Scotland, video games animate what can tend to be a boring subject for many – history! (sorry Mr. Moore; my high school history teacher). Learning history through a video game is a great tool that we need to take advantage of, parents!

The Fujimini Island Adventure book series, website, social media and game app appreciates and strives to expose children to Asian culture. While playing our game and reading our books, your children will be learning and having fun at the same time! Which truly is what we want, right?

Thanks for tuning in and staying clicked in! Next week, same time sound good to you? Awesome, see you then!

Monday, June 18, 2018

Video Game Advantage for Kids: Video Games = Good? (Part 2 of 6)

By: Kate Camillo

Welcome back! If you are new, we are in the middle of a series about why video games are actually good for your children! Check out last week’s post that really got the ball rolling. We talked about improvements to problem solving skills and concentration. This week we are going to be talking about goal setting and self expression, two qualities that are important for your children to master. Both play a monumental role in helping children develop into successful and happy adults and isn’t that all we can ask for of our kids?

Whether you have played video games or not, there are levels and stages to every game. Games keep score and track progress. This can teach children to set goals and work to achieve them. Without challenging themselves or thinking of things in a different light, children would not be able to complete the mission or slay the dragon. The act of setting goals is an important part of life and can lead to advances in work and school. It can teach kids discipline as they are pushing themselves to reach whatever goal they set.

Practice makes perfect, that’s why kids spend a huge chunk of time playing games. They are trying to perfect their moves or reach the next level. Often times, in multiplayer games, players will have to work together to complete the mission to upgrade to new gear or unlock a new item. Your kids are using teamwork and goal setting together to conquer the game. Video games open kids’ eyes to the realization that they can achieve what they once thought was impossible, using practice, hard work and a little creative thinking.

Self expression can be a HUGE challenge for children as they don’t have many outlets; sometimes there are restrictions on how they can express themselves in public settings like school. Through video games they can express their inner beings, whether it be through the look of the character or through the design of the game. As a parent, one thing that is important is that your children loves themselves and is able to project who they are so they do not feel stifled. 

Luckily, self-expression is a huge part of video games! Especially if we are talking about Sims or any other character based game. “Modding” is a term that describes modifying something in the game. This can include how something looks or how something behaves, depending on the game. Kids can pick their avatar and change its clothes and hair. They can customize their tools of choice and most of these tools come from upgrades which they get how? By achieving their goals! See it all ties together to make video games this wonderful little ball of benefits! Modding is a great way for kids to express themselves and it also helps them understand the game better. Video games allow for a new way of highlighting personalities and interests among children.

Come back next week for our post on how video games help kids develop more of an interest in history and culture, a topic we hold very dear to our hearts here at Fujimini Island!

Monday, June 11, 2018

Video Game Advantage for Kids: Video Games = Good? (Part 1 of 6)

By: Kate Camillo

“Video games rot your brain!” your mom yells as she comes into the kitchen door from work. You’ve been playing Super Mario Bros. (circa 1983) since you got home from school and are one challenge away from making it to the next level, the highest you’ve ever achieved! And no one is going to stop you, especially not the false statement that your mom yelled from the kitchen while preparing dinner.

Back in the day, video games faced push back from many claiming they were detrimental to children. However, scientists and parents have turned over a new leaf and now acknowledge the benefits that these games can provide to kids of all ages! Video games are a norm to modern childhood and often riddled with significant advantages. Throughout the next couple of weeks, let’s dive into these benefits and much more; let’s really explore why video games can improve aspects of your child’s life such as problem-solving, creativity, and societal skills. Does your kid have dyslexia? Don’t worry, video games can help that too! And we’ve got the blog post coming up!

Current research shows that video games provide much more than entertainment for children. While flying through space and time, and decoding maps and finding coins, your child is demonstrating problem solving skills that can help them throughout life. Not only are they able to use strategy, but they can also anticipate consequences. They see they are rewarded for some actions and punished for others. This can help them understand when the reward/punishment system is paralleled in their daily lives.

Have a dream of your child becoming a surgeon? Good news, some video games help that too! A study of small incision surgeons showed that surgeons who played video games more than three hours a week made 32% fewer errors during practice procedures compared to the surgeons who didn’t play at all. Who knew we were compromising the future of our doctors by telling our kids to turn off the video games and get some fresh air? “You know what Jimmy, you get back inside and you play those video games for as long as your little heart desires!” (Well, maybe not for that long, but at least until dinner!) 

Video games improve concentration and focus; they help enhance memory, and reward kids for being risk takers! From an early age, kids can learn the risk-reward payoff, but also see how educated risks advance them more than spontaneity and recklessness. They learn how to challenge themselves and build a healthy competitiveness that, with the ever-growing competitive job field, they are going to need a little fire under their butts! Video games motivate kids like no other and this intrinsic motivation is going to help with school, jobs, and most importantly, life itself.

We have decided to embrace video games in all their glory as they are powerful tools important to your child’s growth! Bring on Candy Crush, bring on Minecraft and bring on Fujimini Island!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The Mom’s Code -- Girlfriends and Girls Night Out: It Gets Dark Sometimes (Part 3 of 5)

Written by:
Eileen Wacker

I often thought about that night when I was alone in Seoul. I could picture my friends’ faces and hear their voices. I missed them and the person I was when I was with them. The day my child was born, I, as a mom, was born. My definition of who I was shifted enormously with marriage, being a mom and having a family. But I hadn’t realized how much this shift would cost until I was paying the price.

I lost my soul in Seoul. My former jobs brought me to China, Indonesia, Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, Thailand and India so I thought I knew Asia. My husband and I lived in three European countries together so I felt I could handle the expat challenges. I’d never been to Korea. My first trip was to find our apartment. My second was to move there with four little kids in tow, alone because my husband was already there, working.  


Korea is a tough place for any person to acclimate to. The whole culture is in a hurry. ‘Bali bali’ means hurry, hurry. No one waits for anything. People cut lines, and men walk in front of you, cutting you off and shut the door in your face. They spit on the sidewalk in front of you. One day Koreans like Americans and the next day, they can’t stand us. They regularly have protests against us. But none of this is personal and by the end of our time there, this stuff bounced right off me. It is just the way it is.

Tom and Lydia arrived when I returned from the summer. My husband hired Tom as a risk consultant, having worked with him in Connecticut. Lydia was like a fresh, lovely gardenia. She had raised three children so she was very wise about relationships and being a mom. All the Itaewon shopkeepers were captivated by her Southern charm and called out to her from their stores. One morning, Lydia and I were walking, sipping on coffee when someone spat on the sidewalk at our feet. Busloads of Koreans were protesting against a free trade agreement with the U.S.. One store owner shouted, “Pretty Americans, go home! Not a good day for American people.” I felt angry but Lydia, in her southern voice, said, “Darlin’, it’s young people everywhere. In some office, someone is calling the American Embassy, apologizing, but it’s better to let people get things off their chest. Don’t get all rattled. It will give you wrinkles.” Her words calmed me down. This was not personal to me. And I didn’t want wrinkles.

But from the start, I was artfully put in my place and it felt personal every time. When I called my husband at his office and asked for him by name, his staff was mortified. Some of them referred to me as the ‘foreign wife’ and all requested I use his title ‘hengjamneem’ which means CEO or president in Korean. Even my husband asked me to refer to him as Mr. Wacker or ‘hengjamneem’. I joked, “Maybe I’ll call you that in bed.” He wasn’t kidding. “We have to respect their culture.” I told him he was drinking the Koolaid which led to yet another bitter argument.

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When I took the four kids to see my husband’s office, his secretary escorted us up in a private elevator to an elegant conference room with glass windows on three sides. She was shy and formal, and did not look me in the eye or engage me in conversation. Other staff came by and peered in, smiling and curious. Many bowed to us. His secretary poured Cokes into crystal glasses and gave them to the kids. I didn’t want to be rude so I let them have the soda. My son spilled his all over himself within thirty seconds. “Sorry Mommy,” my son said ruefully. Then he asked for another soda. I said no to that one.

A slick executive in an expensive suit, Kim Dae Yun, strolled in ignoring the kids and said, “My name is ‘Korean title’ Kim. I understand you went to Harvard. I’m not impressed. Here in Korea, a good wife stays in the background looking pretty, so her husband can do his job without interference.” He didn’t wait for a response, just strolled out. He looked me directly in the eye and didn’t bow; two things I knew were insulting. I looked around, confused. My kids were quiet and looked at me for some cue. Did he really just say that? The secretary had a blank look. I wasn’t sure if it was because she didn’t understand English well or she didn’t see this behavior as out of the ordinary.

We waited for almost twenty minutes. The kids were squirming and twirling in the big conference room chairs. The secretary stood at the door like a sentry. Finally, my husband walked in, flanked by an entourage. There was Man Friday, his secretary, his driver and his translator. They stood and fussed over my husband. I felt very foreign while he looked very comfortable. My husband kissed each of our kids, then looked at me and said, “Uhh, thanks for coming.” I cocked my head. He whispered, “Korean couples don’t show any affection. It makes people uncomfortable. We have to respect their culture.” I squinted at him and said, “Fine. They don’t have sex either. Enjoy that part of the culture.”  This meet and greet was not going well at all.

After two minutes, the kids started a game of tag. The translator announced they had another meeting to go to. As I left, my husband said, “Why would you give them Coke?” Then he walked out with his human wall. I rode down the elevator with the sentry, my stomach in knots. My kids wanted to go to the park and ride on the swings. I had to dig deep to find the joyful, light hearted me who could push a swing for an hour straight, without yelling.