Parents Beware Of “digital Drugs”

In what some might call a sensationalist article, USA Today reporter [Kim Komando] warns parents of a new danger to their kids: digital drugs. Throughout the article, [Kim] tries to explain how binaural beats (idosers) can effect the brain in many different ways, claiming that some even emulate the effects of illegal drugs. Furthermore, she claims that the “digital drugs” can act as a gateway to trying real drugs. While it seems unapparent to [Kim] that I-Doser has been around for years, it’s not surprising that this article is only being published now. While I understand her argument, parts of it just seem illogical. If anything, wouldn’t binaural sounds provide kids an alternative to illegal drugs? If these sounds really provide the same effects as drugs, wouldn’t they act as a safer option to kids? While this story seems to be one of many sensational stories warning parents to protect their kids, it seems as though parents should really be warned about these sensational stories that are concocted solely to sell newspapers.

[via Woot]

[photo: BrittneyBush]

46 thoughts on “Parents Beware Of “digital Drugs”

  1. This program is based on sbagen [url]] a free software developped by Jim Peters.

    Idoser “drugs” are only fu**ing simple tone beats mostly the same or with some minor variations. I can say that because there was a way to read the sbagen files created as temp files by idoser, I don’t know if this “feature” exists anymore and I’m not really interested by this anyway.

    This is mostly a marketing product trying to use old “frequencies” tables coming from nowhere that exists in the binauralist’s world and that come with no proofs and no any explanation… [url]].

    So parents don’t be affraid this won’t hurt your kids at all (maybe if they are epileptic but pokemon can be harder in this case)…

    Maybe is this kind thing: [url]] a lot more dangerous for your kids.

  2. @ bjonnh

    I agree 100%. Many times these sensationalist articles are simply meant to promote the products.

    If they were a danger, how many kids that have never even heard of it before, do now and will be trying it now?

    Exactly. Sometimes “bad press” is a useful tool. The advertisers have us, the drones, all figured out.

  3. Meh, it’s just the same old hollow debate of what influences youth to do drugs, this time spun in an even more ridiculous way. But now I don’t see how lyricless sounds are going to influence someone. Usually the “yes” argument tends more towards lyrics influencing youth to try drugs, from Jimmy Hendrix to 50 Cents. If a kid downloads these ‘beats’ for the goal of having trip, he had drugs on his mind before falling for some Internet cash-crab.
    But then the other side goes “Ah but how do you know he wouldn’t have done drugs if he didn’t try the ‘digital drug'”. Hollow debate.
    1. Download The Piper At The Gate of Dawn, 2. Go to bed, 3. Play it, 4. Crazy-ass half asleep dreams, 5. Check for subconscious urge to try LSD the next morning.

  4. hehe… this is interesting. Even better, the required circuitry can be as simple as two transistors (a pair of phase shift sinewave oscillators), frequency counter to fine tune them, and a quad bilateral switch as oscillator and headphone switch. Voila, electronic ‘shrooms :)

    (memo to self:- build a dozen or so for Vale Earth Fair)

  5. They do have an effect on me, the i-doser ones.
    And sometimes it can be strong, but never is it the same as the real McCoy.

    Also, the effect only lasts 10 minutes or so.

    Still, it’s fun to try in a lost half hour, but nowhere near as dangerous as real drugs.

    BTW I don’t believe in so-called “gateway” drugs, there has never been solid evidence on this effect.

  6. hopefully this will catch on and replace and undermine the the illegal drug trade thereby reducing crime because users can just mix the tones into an mp3 and play it anytime.

  7. This is the first I’ve heard of the claims of drug-like effects from binaural audio. I did a little research to see how it works, and then used a simple audio editor to create some of my own, at different frequencies studies ‘show’ affect a certain wavestate(ie, Beta, Delta, Theta, etc). Two of the five I created managed to make me seriously dizzy, a vertigo-like feeling. It stopped moments after I took off the headphones, with no lasting effect. I tried these 5 at different levels and found that louder volumes made the dizziness worse. I think it’s safe to say, this may be an interesting experience, but there’s no danger here. Well, don’t listen when driving…other than that.

  8. Binaural beats are simply how “stereo” works.
    It works just like listening to songs on an ipod
    but without any music, just stereo-effected noise.

    i-doser is a scam though, and you’d have
    to be on dope to buy it anyway… after which
    you’ll be taken advantage of again by the scammers,
    probably by ID theft, most likely.
    People with half a brain to fry usually download free
    an mp3 of i-doser and then find out that it’s nothing.

  9. I echo the “it doesn’t work”.

    I’ve tried very hard with the binaural beats because something like that would be a very good addition to my life, I made a hardware generator with zero crosstalk (isolated outputs), used high fidelity sealed headphones, did the blinking light thing, and, well, nothing…. All the way down to 4Hz, and after a few hours of “listening” to it, nothing. I’m still as awake as when I got up…

    It just doesn’t work. If it does something, I’m willing to bet actual money that it’s all inside your head… (OK, maybe “all inside your head” is a bad expression in this case, but you get the point)

  10. It works for me, somehow that is.
    It has mostly interesting effects on my dreams before sleeping, but the drug thing is just exaggeration. What you feel and perceive is not at all entirely based on brainwaves and therefore the real thing has much more influence on you than something that just helps you to alter your brainwaves.

  11. Does this mean we are all drug addicts?

    Damm i dont think i should tell it round the table any more i was on the 360 all night.

    We will be seeing rehab clinics packed with gamers!

  12. I’ll stick to the old fashioned chemical drugs. They’re proven to be reliable, and have all the features of these newfangled computery drugs. Cannabis is plenty relaxing, and stimulates creativity. Take enough lsd, and you’ll probably hear sounds that aren’t there.

    Kids these days.

  13. This article is proof of quite a few things.
    The list of these things does not include any biological danger posed by audio files of any kind.
    I’ve assembled a short, list that is not all-inclusive, but it should humor you ever so slightly.

    1) Ms. Komando is definitely a sensationalist. Though I have not read any of her other articles yet, this one proves that she was caught up in the moment and put very little actualy thought behind it, before making such a bold, and uninformed statement.

    2) Ms. Komando is over rated for the actual content in her articles. She begins with the implied statement that there is a way to use digital technology to somehow induce a mind altering state in humans that is both dangerous, and implied to be addictive, if even for its ease of use, potentially unlimited and freely available supply, and that it can do bodily harm in the same way that drugs which are illegal, or illegally used, can. But her article spends too much valuable text space on binaurul sound, and its definition, while stating that “digital drugs” are not binaural sound.

    3) Ms. Komando did not in fact write an effective warning to parents about this supposed danger. Assuming that she did intend to do as is evidenced on the surface, and warn parents of this potential danger, she ran off half-cocked. No evidence was cited, linking any digital media or media player, audio or video, to an actual altered stete of mind. She did not cite any laboratory findings. She referenced no personal experience in the matter.

    4) Ms. Komando, for all this warning, has raised a far greater potential for perpetuating this supposed danger by writing a controversial topic that it is reasonable to expect that some over protective parents will remove any and all music from their children post-haste, and others will research the buzz words of ‘binaural’ and ‘digital drugs’, and may even pioneer new research into this supposedly/potentially dangerous new world.

    5) I don’t need to read USA Today ever again. A paper as supposedly reputable as this one, that would allow something like this to come to print under its label, isn’t worth my time, or yours.

  14. i tried it just to see what the whole fuss is all over, its all just a bunch of crap. It may work for some people, however it doesn’t work for me. i will just stick to smoking weed and leave all of the others alone. its my choice don’t judge me.

  15. yet again i am going to scream
    this link should be 100% legal as sbagen IS open source;6596176;/fileinfo.html
    the way i-doser works, it has a picture of said drug and a description, you read it and that makes it work, if you look at the source script files, most of them are identical
    i want you to all try this, maybe it’ll work for 1 or 2 people but all in all, its a big scam and a bunch of bullshit, if you fall into the hype and it works then good for you but unless this was posted for a laugh, it isnt a hack(unless you also include instructions for copying the temp file it creates while its running(100% fully runable as is in sbagen fyi) content like this is as bad as your grandmother emailing you a chain mail “do not open a email that says i love you” and does not deserve to be on hackaday

  16. Its real, the brain works on different frequencies and screwing around with those or simulating then makes the brain short or react. I cant explain it but theres a lot of hardware out there for just this – it makes you really screwed up if you misuse it. I have a strange gizmo that a friend gave to me and its got these electrodes that clip to the ear lobes (Its intended use too) and theres a headphone jack that you plug into, it makes you instantly feel like you are riding on waves and when yu open your eyes it clearly disturbs the vision making it blink in and out really fast. I was told its design was for helping someone come off drugs lol.. I can say that you dont feel the electrical impulses but they are there and they do work because disconnecting them makes it stop working.
    strange and true..

  17. Sounds like they are trying to create,…
    “Subliminal Messaging.” And it is just not working!.

    I have always been curious about Subliminal Messaging, and what one could re teach themselves!. Through Subliminal Messages, I have tried to create Subliminal sounds.

    I guess I just did not know enough about what I was doing!. It would be a killer hack and a great device to re teach people things like ‘math’ in my case.

  18. As a tech some 20 years ago I was asked to construct an “Electro-Neural Stimulator” that applied very low audio frequencies to electrodes placed on the back of the neck. At the time this was being advanced as a TREATMENT for drug addiction, a kind of “electro-methodone”. So-called “brainwave entrainment” was pure Kozmik bunkum then, and in this reincarnation it still is.

  19. What about brain wave entrainment cd’s that are supposed to altar your brain

    waves to accomplish everything from relieving depression, to achieving

    a state of deep meditation, to energizing you, to releasing all your

    creativity, to helping you achieve deep sleep, etc., etc.. Interested

    in any opinions on this. I do not believe they contain

    binaural beats because you do not have to use headphones, but

    somehow these entrainment beates (or whatever they are) are

    woven into music that you listen to.

  20. I-Doser DOES work. However it is ripping off an open-source
    project, and are in violation of the GPL. Plus, the beats
    they sell rarely have the described effect. “White Crosses”
    is a pretty strong one, it made me have “false awakenings”
    aka i thought i woke up but i was in another dream, and the
    dreams were pretty freaky, and the Anesthesia one is really
    good for putting me to sleep.

    But of course i didn’t spend money on them. Anyway, binaural
    beats and other types of sounds designed for brain entrainment
    are by no means new, and I-Doser isn’t the first to do
    “digital drugs”, they just did a little more marketing. and offer plenty of free
    samples and also have tutorials that teach you how to mix
    your own beats.

    I can confirm 100% that they have NO adverse effects and that
    they DO NOT trigger epilepsy. I had epilepsy from age 5 to 9m
    now i’m 17 and i’m fine. I’ve listened to those beats for
    quite a while and i had no symptoms of a seizure ever.

    And unlike drugs, these beats are things you get bored of
    after a while. I haven’t listened to one in several months
    since i had better stuff to do and less time to waste.

    Anyway, they’re fun to try, and trying to mix some
    on your own leads to interesting results. But would i spend
    money on them? Nah. They are in many ways safer than drugs,
    but like all mind-altering things, it’s best not to overdo
    them. Still, the way the media described them is way way off,
    there’s nothing to worry about, and they certainly do not
    act as a gateway to real drugs.

    Weren’t the people that wrote this the same that said the
    LHC will blow the entire Earth?

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