Are Kids Getting High Off of ‘Digital Drugs’?

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Sung-Il Kim/Corbis

D.A.R.E. to keep kids off headphones.

It’s no secret that music can have psychedelic effects (ever heard of the Pink Floyd laser show?), but these days teens are taking things to a whole new level with I-dosing. Dubbed “the latest Internet trend,” I-dosing involves listening to two-toned audio files meant to alter your brain waves in the same way that alcohol, marijuana or other drugs might.

A quick YouTube search for “idoser” turns up pages of videos, some of which have hundreds of thousands of page views. One video shows three boys after they “take a hit” of digital drugs said to induce hard laughing and shaking (and, unless these boys are faking it, they do). Other videos show I-dosers laughing incessantly on nitrous and seemingly tormented by an I-dose of Gates of Hades.

Though the websites tout the downloads as a safe, legal way to get high, the digital drugs have parents crying “gateway.” Concerns that I-dosing could lead to experimentation with other drugs has lead to the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics issuing a warning to parents. “Kids are going to flock to these sites to see what it’s about and it can lead them other places,” one official warned. But how is it possible for parents and schools to crack down on a “drug” that kids can access online, for free? After all, the only necessary supplies are a computer and a set of headphones — no bongs required.

But, seriously, sitting in a dark room listening to binaural tracks hoping to get high? No thanks. I pass on digital grass. And, kiddies, you should too.

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