You’re going downtown, kid. Then we’ll all listen.

I can’t wait for journalists to discover other teen risks such as “buttsex,” “alco-hol,” and “military enlistment.” I hope Kim Komando was on vacation when someone wrote this, because I remember her as smart and funny and pretty much sane.

Web delivers new worry for parents: Digital drugs

We all know that music can alter your mood. Sad songs can make you cry. Upbeat songs may give you an energy boost. But can music create the same effects as illegal drugs?

This seems like a ridiculous question. But websites are targeting your children with so-called digital drugs. These are audio files designed to induce drug-like effects.

All your child needs is a music player and headphones.

Understanding binaural beats

There are different slang terms for digital drugs. They’re often called “idozers” or “idosers.” All rely on the concept of binaural beats.

It is incorrect to call binaural beats music. They’re really ambient sounds designed to affect your brain waves.

For binaural beats to work, you must use headphones. Different sounds are played in each ear. The sounds combine in your brain to create a new frequency. This frequency corresponds to brain wave frequencies.

There are different brain wave frequencies. These frequencies are related to different states like relaxation and alertness.

Digital drugs supposedly synchronize your brain waves with the sound. Hence, they allegedly alter your mental state.

Binaural beats create a beating sound. Other noises may be included with binaural beats. This is intended to mask their unpleasant sound.

Different types of digital drugs

Some sites provide binaural beats that have innocuous effects. For example, some claim to help you develop extrasensory powers like telepathy and psychokinesis.

Other sites offer therapeutic binaural beats. They help you relax or meditate. Some allegedly help you overcome addiction or anxiety. Others purport to help you lose weight or eliminate gray hair.

However, most sites are more sinister. They sell audio files (“doses”) that supposedly mimic the effects of alcohol and marijuana.

But it doesn’t end there. You’ll find doses that purportedly mimic the effects of LSD, crack, heroin and other hard drugs. There are also doses of a sexual nature. I even found ones that supposedly simulate heaven and hell.

Do digital drugs work?

Many are skeptical about the effects of digital drugs. Few scientific studies have been conducted on binaural beats. However, a Duke University study suggests that they can affect mood and motor performance.

Dr. Nicholas Theodore, a brain surgeon at Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, said there is no real evidence that idosers work. But he noted that musical preference is indicative of emotional vulnerability. Trying idosers could indicate a willingness to experiment with drugs and other dangerous behavior.

Theodore added that idosers are another reason to monitor kids’ Internet usage. And, he said, kids need frank talks with their parents about correct choices.

“I suspect this ‘Pied Piper’ phenomenon will pass rapidly and quietly,” he said.

Online, many people have posted their experiences with digital drugs. They tout the effectiveness of binaural beats.

Or, go to YouTube. You’ll see videos of teens experimenting with digital drugs. You can decide for yourself if binaural beats induce drug-like effects.

Companies that sell digital drugs take both sides of the argument. They say that the doses are extremely powerful. Some are recommended only for experienced users.

But they often hedge their bets. Some users may be immune to binaural beats, they say. They also say the situation must be right to feel the effects.

Should you worry about digital drugs?

Companies that sell digital drugs claim they’re safe. Supposedly, they won’t affect your physical health.

Let’s think about this for a moment. The sites claim binaural beats cause the same effects as illegal drugs. These drugs impair coordination and can cause hallucinations. They’ve caused countless fatal accidents, like traffic collisions.

If binaural beats work as promised, they are not safe. They could also create a placebo effect. The expectation elicits the response. Again, this is unsafe.

At the very least, digital drugs promote drug use. Some sites say binaural beats can be used with illegal drugs.

The sites also look favorably on the effects of illegal drugs. So, talk to your children. Make sure they understand the dangers of this culture. It could be a small jump from digital drugs to the real thing.

Kim Komando hosts the nation’s largest talk radio show about computers and the Internet. To get the podcast or find the station nearest you, visit: www.komando.com/listen. To subscribe to Kim’s free e-mail newsletters, sign up at: www.komando.com/newsletters. Contact her at gnstech@gns.gannett.com.

32 thoughts on “You’re going downtown, kid. Then we’ll all listen.

  1. Anyone who can seriously compare annoying buzzing sounds to drugs has been doing the wrong damn drugs. This is the sort of ignorant shit that DARE leads to.

  2. “tl;dr”
    … worry …
    … ?
    … ridiculous … so-called … supposedly … allegedly … allegedly … purport to … supposedly … purportedly … sexual … heaven and hell … suggests … could … worry … Some sites say … drugs … drugs … dangers … culture … drugs

    1. Re: “tl;dr”
      “Some sites provide binaural beats that have innocuous effects. For
      example, some claim to help you develop extrasensory powers like
      telepathy and psychokinesis.”

      1. Re: “tl;dr”
        oh good point
        allow me to revise and extend my remarks
        … worry …
        … ?
        … ridiculous … so-called … supposedly … allegedly … Some sites provide … telepathy and psychokinesis. … allegedly … purport to … supposedly … purportedly … sexual … heaven and hell … suggests … could … worry … Some sites say … drugs … drugs … dangers … culture … drugs

      2. Re: “tl;dr”
        I don’t know what I love more, the recitation of this “claim” as if it’s worthy of consideration or the idea that there’s no problem if teens start developing the ability to set shit on fire with pure thought.

      3. Re: “tl;dr”
        If I were to give any credence to any part of the article, this is actually the only thing that would make me worry at all.
        I mean, think of all the teenagers you’ve ever known.
        Now imagine them with telepathy and psychokinesis.
        Now imagine high school teachers around the country finally crossing the border from “functional alcoholic” to “pathetic, beaten, shellshocked wreck swimming in ‘teacher appreciation hour’ pina coladas.”

  3. OMGz0rz…people are doing stuff to their brainz with musikz.
    holy crap. we are just beyond the realm of paranoid stupidity, aren’t we?
    don’t worry miss “newswriter”. more kids are listening to utterly shite pop and rap than anything else. they will stay stupid so as not to cause worldwide panic amongst people dumb enough to think making your brain do new things is bad.

  4. I tried the iDoser thing… i listened to some white noise on headphones for about 45 minutes. then I fell asleep, and had what felt like a seizure in my sleep followed by a brief moment of sleep paralysis.
    I will not be trying it again!

      1. Are you kidding me? I respect the rye to a degree which may in fact be diagnosable. There is a nearly empty bottle of the Old Overholt on my shelf which is screaming, begging me to be put out of its misery.
        It might just make a Manhattan.

  5. Dr. Nicholas Theodore, a brain surgeon at Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, said there is no real evidence that idosers work.
    That’s a good deep burial on that lede, but it really could’ve been deeper. Try a little harder next time, mainstream media!

  6. man that is the most sensationalist thing i’ve ever read. i expect, “oh no satanic terrorists are putting lsd in temporary tattoos and they might be raping YOUR CHILD next!!” from local media, but national stuff is on it now, too? why are they always trying to scare parents with absurd stories?

  7. I ignored this because I had no idea what kind of meta-satire musichead shit you were talking about. Then someone sent me the USA Today link and my skull was bleached on the inside from the super duper uuper stupid happening.
    She really thought she was jumping the curve on this one. Damn.

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