Komputer Klinic: Digital 'drugs' claim to alter mood - East Valley Tribune: Business

Komputer Klinic: Digital 'drugs' claim to alter mood

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Posted: Sunday, August 10, 2008 5:58 pm | Updated: 11:52 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

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 Web sites are targeting your children with so-called digital "drugs." These are audio files designed to induce druglike effects. All your child needs is a music player and headphones.

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

DIFFERENT TYPES

Some sites provide binaural beats that have innocuous effects. For example, some claim they help you relax or meditate. Some allegedly help overcome addiction or anxiety.

However, most sites are more sinister. They sell audio files ("doses") that mimic the effects of alcohol and marijuana. But it doesn't end there. You'll find doses 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 THEY 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. Idosers could indicate a willingness to experiment with drugs and other dangerous behavior.

Theodore added that idosers are another reason to monitor kids' Internet use. And, he said, kids need frank talks with their parents.

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 if binaural beats induce drug 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?

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.

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.

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