Study reveals the impact that violent video games actually have on your brain.

There is a catch, however.

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!

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I'm staring at my screen watching the President of the United States speak before a stadium full of people in North Carolina. He launches into a lie-laced attack on Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, and the crowd boos. Soon they start chanting, "Send her back! Send her back! Send her back!"

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WATCH: Trump rally crowd chants 'send her back' after he criticizes Rep. Ilhan Omar www.youtube.com

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What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

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Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

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It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

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