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Yet another dumb thing to worry about

Parents, beware! There is a new scourge threatening the health of your children, and while it may seem harmless enough now, there’s no telling how dangerous things could get.

Ask yourself these questions about your child: Does he or she have a pair of headphones? Does he or she have access to the Internet? Does he or she have about $17 to spend? If you answered yes to any or all of the above, there is a good chance your child is already addicted to digital drugs.

Even worse, if your child has an iPod, iPhone or some other sort of MP3 player, he or she could be doing digital drugs — known in digital druggie slang as “i-dosing” — at school!

Digital drugs, for you unhip and unaware types (which I was until learning about them yesterday), are essentially sounds called binaural beats that one can download from various websites. Similar to trance music, binaural beats play one sound in one ear and a slightly different sound in the other ear, creating an effect that i-dosers claim can make you “high.”

This may seem ridiculous to folks like you and me and Dr. Brian Fligor, the director of diagnostic audiology at Boston Children’s Hospital, but it’s all too real to your kids, and it’s spreading like wildfire.

“To my knowledge there is no science that backs it up,” said Dr. Fligor in an interview with BBC News. “It’s neat and interesting, but it has absolutely no effect on your perception of pleasure or anything else that was claimed [by i-dosers and i-dosing websites].”

That may be Dr. Fligor’s studied opinion, but there are dozens of videos on YouTube of dorky kids and adults attesting to the power of digital drugs. Even more troubling, there was an actual documented case of kids i-dosing at school.

Three students at Mustang High School just outside Oklahoma City were sent to the principal’s office recently because they appeared to be intoxicated. All three confessed to i-dosing, setting off a bit of a panic amongst local authorities, who quickly sent a letter out to parents warning them about the dangers of digital drugs.

The main concern for parents and school officials in Oklahoma is that binaural beats could become a “gateway” drug, one that leads kids to try harder substances.

“If you have a kid wanting to explore this, you probably have a kid that may end up smoking marijuana or looking for bigger things,” said Mark Woodward, a spokesman for the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control, in an interview with The Oklahoman newspaper.

Sure, Woodward’s statement may seem like a ridiculous generalization, but then how do you explain the names of the various audio “doses” available at i-doser.com, a leading binaural beat website?

A quick scan of i-doser’s bestsellers list revealed names like “Peyote,” “Marijuana,” “Ecstasy” and “LSD.” Clearly, if a kid can get high listening to sounds that are meant to re-create the effect of peyote, he’s bound to want to try the real thing to see what it feels like. (No word on whether audio peyote makes kids vomit the way real peyote does.)

It is possible, though unlikely, that the whole digital drug craze is nothing more than a testament to the power of suggestion. Exhibit A would be i-doser’s No. 1 bestseller, a dose called “Orgasm,” that is meant to make users feel sexually stimulated.

I’m just guessing, but I imagine the typical i-doser has never had an orgasm that involved another person, so it stands to reason they could be easily convinced that the audio track, which features the sounds of a woman having sex, is just like the real thing.

Dr. Fligor, who called binaural beats “not the least bit harmful,” would probably agree with this assessment, but just in case i-dosing is the first step on the path to heroin addiction, it would behoove you to know how to spot the warning signs of a digital drug problem.

If you see your child lying in bed with headphones on and their eyes closed, you should immediately call 911 and have him or her checked into an intensive rehab program, preferably one that involves no listening to music whatsoever.

If that doesn’t work, replace all their downloaded music with songs by Celine Dion, Abba, Perry Como, anything that is so offensive to young ears that it will make your kid hate all music.

I know that sounds a little extreme, but isn’t your child worth it?

About The Author

Todd Hartley

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07 2010

2 Comments Add Yours ↓

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  1. 1

    Wasn’t there a study once where a significant percentage of people who were told they had been given a drug (but had actually only been given a placebo) started to act high?

  2. 2

    Actually, that was an episode of Cheers. They found out that their liquor license had expired, so they served non-alcoholic beer all night, and Cliff got hammered off it.

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