I should open by admitting that I'm probably pretty wasted right now.
I just took my headphones off after spending the past fifteen minutes listening to some of the droning music that is being heralded as the newest way to get high. It's call i-dosing and in some quarters, there is a concern that these thumping beats represent a dangerous trend and that the internet-delivered buzz could lead to other harmful activities.
Kids around the country are getting high on the internet, thanks to MP3s that induce a state of ecstasy. And it could be a gateway drug leading teens to real-world narcotics.
At least, that's what Oklahoma News 9 is reporting about a phenomenon called "i-dosing," which involves finding an online dealer who can hook you up with "digital drugs" that get you high through your headphones…
So, let me get this straight. Kids are putting on some headphones, lying down and cranking some really monotonous music and that's supposed to be the internet-era drug we should worry about?
That's like worrying that a crack addict is drinking too much decaf.
What we now call i-dosing are sounds previously known as binaural beats that have been used for research and sleep therapy. What's amazing is that these beats are suddenly being viewed as something dangerous or even as an illicit drug. If anything, the i-dosers are taking a break from the real threat of the internet age: Information speedballs.
The multitaskers of Generation TMI are consumed by an always-on internet twitch that keeps them connected to news, friends, data, entertainment, academics, gaming and more; all of which is never farther than the palm of their hand. Not being able to read a book, watch a movie or interact with a friend without texting or opening Facebook is the drug-state of this era.
One in three teens sends more than 100 text messages a day. I heard from one parent whose kid broke ten thousand text messages in a month. Think he views a little downtime listening to white noise as a threatening scenario?
If i-dosing means putting on your headphones and being alone in your head for a few minutes at a time, then it sounds more like a cure than a disease. The participating kids think they are getting high, but they're really feeling the sensation of turning off their social network and reducing multiple incoming feeds to one monotonous signal. And it makes perfect sense that, after being surrounded by incoming data from every angle, kids would look for a "high" by closing their eyes and covering their ears. Maybe i-dosing soundtracks are the Om sounds of the internet age?
Critics of i-dosing are worried that listening to these sounds over headphones could ultimately act as a gateway. But a gateway to what - just sitting there?
Here's my message to kids: If you think narrowing things down to one incoming signal gets you high, wait until you try zero. The only thing better than being totally out of your mind is being totally in it.
Maybe I'm missing something here since I'm only about fifteen minutes into my first hit. I'll put my headphones back on and give it another shot. But if this next tune doesn't get me wasted enough, I'm switching to Bieber.
Dave Pell is an internet addict, early adopter and insider. He blogs regularly at Tweetage Wasteland.
Illustration by Sam Spratt. Check out Sam's portfolio and become a fan of his Facebook Artist's Page.
Related: Get High Now (The Book, The Site, The App!) [GetHighNow.com]