Violent video games. They're super fun. And more than a little bit controversial.

Great teamwork, guys. Anyone else thinking Cheesecake Factory for dinner? Photo by BagoGames/Flickr.


When a young person commits horrific act of violence, as in June's church massacre in Charleston, South Carolina, or the Aurora, Colorado, movie theater shooting, or the Columbine attack, there's often a rush to hold video games responsible.

It's hard to deny that the connection between violent video games and real-life violence makes a certain amount of intuitive sense. It just feels true.

Scary. Photo by FireFishMike/Flickr.

But as it turns out, if something feels true, you don't have to just believe it! You can actually study it. Which is what Stetson University psychology professor Christopher J. Ferguson did.

Ferguson conducted three studies on 12- to 18-year-old gamers, which was published in September.

Basically, the studies found no correlation between shooting fake people on a computer monitor or TV screen and real-world aggression.

“Following violent tragedies involving young men, many frequently point to violent video games as a cause for the behavior, but the research does not back this up," Ferguson said. “As violent video games became more popular, it was understandable for them to fall under intense scrutiny, and claims about their harms and benefits may have been exaggerated including by the scholarly community."

When a person pretty much says that he shot a bunch of people because he's a huge racist asshole — as in Charleston — or because he daydreams about being a super famous terrorist psychopath — as in Columbine — he might ... actually mean it much of the time.

So violent video games aren't bad for me after all? Awesome! BRB playing "Call of Duty" all weekend.

Hold up a second. It's not all good news, unfortunately. While holing up in your basement and shooting at pixelated Nazis for eight hours straight won't necessarily make you run out and punch your neighbor's ferret — or shoot up a movie theater — video games are still maybe not, like, exactly totally good for you either.

Though TBH, the ferret has it coming. Photo by Scott Oves/Flickr.

Another series of studies show sedentary activities, such as sitting with a video game controller in your hand for an entire holiday weekend, might lead to an increase in anxiety.

Conducted by Deakin University's Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition Research, the studies are among the first evidence that a lack of physical activity might affect mental health.

"It was found in five of the nine studies that an increase in sedentary behaviour was associated with an increased risk of anxiety. In four of the studies it was found that total sitting time was associated with an increased risk of anxiety. The evidence regarding screen time (TV and computer use) was less strong, but one study did find that 36 percent of high school students that had more than two hours of screen time per day were more likely to experience anxiety, compared to those who had less than two hours per day."

While it's not, like, proof proof, it is a cause for concern, and something no gamer should take lightly. Because while occasional anxiety is normal, actual anxiety disorders are serious stuff.

OK, do I play violent video games then? I don't know what to think anymore!

Yes! You shouldn't be worried that it's going to lead you inexorably down the road to ferret or human assault, and you should never feel any sort of shame for taking a few minutes to just do completely absolutely nothing.

That said, to stave off that subtle, inexplicable sense of ever-increasing worry and dread you get from just sitting around for long periods of time, it might not hurt to copy my coworker Angie's daughter's innovative method of playing her Nintendo DS:

GIF by Angie Aker/Upworthy.

Your brain may thank you later.

Happy alien-blasting!

That first car is a rite of passage into adulthood. Specifically, the hard-earned lesson of expectations versus reality. Though some of us are blessed with Teslas at 17, most teenagers receive a car that’s been … let’s say previously loved. And that’s probably a good thing, considering nearly half of first-year drivers end up in wrecks. Might as well get the dings on the lemon, right?

Of course, wrecks aside, buying a used car might end up costing more in the long run after needing repairs, breaking down and just a general slew of unexpected surprises. But hey, at least we can all look back and laugh.

My first car, for example, was a hand-me-down Toyota of some sort from my mother. I don’t recall the specific model, but I definitely remember getting into a fender bender within the first week of having it. She had forgotten to get the brakes fixed … isn’t that a fun story?

Jimmy Fallon recently asked his “Tonight Show” audience on Twitter to share their own worst car experiences. Some of them make my brake fiasco look like cakewalk (or cakedrive, in this case). Either way, these responses might make us all feel a little less alone. Or at the very least, give us a chuckle.

Here are 22 responses with the most horsepower:

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Man uses TikTok to offer 'dinner with dad' to any kid that needs one, even adult ones

Summer Clayton is the father of 2.4 million kids and he couldn’t be more proud.

Come for the food, stay for the wholesomeness.

Summer Clayton is the father of 2.4 million kids and he couldn’t be more proud. His TikTok channel is dedicated to giving people intimate conversations they might long to have with their own father, but can’t. The most popular is his “Dinner With Dad” segment.

The concept is simple: Clayton, aka Dad, always sets down two plates of food. He always tells you what’s for dinner. He always blesses the food. He always checks in with how you’re doing.

I stress the stability here, because as someone who grew up with a less-than-stable relationship with their parents, it stood out immediately. I found myself breathing a sigh of relief at Clayton’s consistency. I also noticed the immediate emotional connection created just by being asked, “How was your day?” According to relationship coach and couples counselor Don Olund, these two elements—stability and connection—are fundamental cravings that children have of their parents. Perhaps we never really stop needing it from them.


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TikTok about '80s childhood is a total Gen X flashback.

As a Gen X parent, it's weird to try to describe my childhood to my kids. We're the generation that didn't grow up with the internet or cell phones, yet are raising kids who have never known a world without them. That difference alone is enough to make our 1980s childhoods feel like a completely different planet, but there are other differences too that often get overlooked.

How do you explain the transition from the brown and orange aesthetic of the '70s to the dusty rose and forest green carpeting of the '80s if you didn't experience it? When I tell my kids there were smoking sections in restaurants and airplanes and ashtrays everywhere, they look horrified (and rightfully so—what were we thinking?!). The fact that we went places with our friends with no quick way to get ahold of our parents? Unbelievable.

One day I described the process of listening to the radio, waiting for my favorite song to come on so I could record it on my tape recorder, and how mad I would get when the deejay talked through the intro of the song until the lyrics started. My Spotify-spoiled kids didn't even understand half of the words I said.

And '80s hair? With the feathered bangs and the terrible perms and the crunchy hair spray? What, why and how?

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