I-Dosing as a study break?

For this weeks assignment I decided to do the less risky option of moral panics and explored the world of I-dosing. Since I have heard nothing but horrific stories about Chatroulette I decided to steer clear. When MySpace was the cool online hang out I quickly became obsessed, and used its artistic layouts to express myself. However, I never dabbled in the dangerous aspects of MySpace and left it as soon as it started to fade. This left me seeing MySpace as more of a boring option to choose when exploring technopanics.

I sat down and dove into the world of i-dosing at the end of a long Tuesday and sampled one labeled “Energy Drink”. I found this and many others at Binaural Beats. The reviews had people raving about how well it picked them up when they were feeling sluggish. However, I am not sure how convinced I really was after experiencing it. It was that time of day for me when I feel like ditching the homework and spending the rest of the night lounging around. This made me think I would be the perfect candidate for this virtual pick-me-up.

While experiencing the i-dosing I tried to not be distracted by anything else and let the different sound waves do their dirty work. After about 10-15 minutes of listening I was definitely more alert but I am not sure this had the same effect as a real live energy drink streaming through my system. I feel like having two different sound waves coming directly into your ear drums is comparable to a mental wake up, for the time being. The comments people left were outrageously positive and left me thinking I would never need to drink coffee again. Although, after experiencing it I am not left fully convinced on how affective this really was.

As far as this activity being considered a technopanic I am left unsure here as well. If anything I think that this would harm young people’s eardrums but I do not see the argument that young people are using this outlet as a way to be on another level and also experience any type of high. Maybe if the conditions were different such as higher quality ear phones or at a very high volume I could see a greater impact, but after my experience I was just in awe at how addictive these buzzing and rumbling noises seem to be.

When will people stop using Chatroulette?

When Chatroulette first came onto my radar I thought the concept was a breeding ground for bad ideas and disturbing images. How can pairing two random people with video cameras turn into anything good? Nonetheless, I really wanted to see what all the hype was about, so I  gave it a try. My findings were nothing short of creepy because my experiences were marked by a few disturbing images of the male anatomy and stuffed animals in compromising positions. I felt relieved when I encountered completely harmless groups of high school to college age kids waiting for something interesting to come up.

When taking a step back from this experience, I understand why there would be a moral panic about this site. Chatroulette is like a chat room with video involved, which honestly scares me. You get live two-way interactions with complete strangers. I do not understand the point or the appeal of using it. There is really no way to censor or prohibit pornographic behavior. I don’t believe the internet should be policed, however, this website really does not serve any purpose or benefit anyone. It does not link old friends or connect you with people that have similar interests. Clearly this behavior and these images appear all over the internet, but most pornographic sites do not foster any interactions between people. Chatroulette makes it easy for teenagers to physically engage in sexual interactions or encounters. Although some people use it in an innocent manner will not cause any permanent damage to a child, it does seem like it could be an easy route for online predator to connect with a lonely teenager.

I really hope this fad is not here to stay because it doesn’t really fulfill any social needs. There are way more productive and better ways to spend your time than speaking with random strangers with bad intentions on the internet.

I-Dosing…to be concerned, or not concerned?

Just like most people, I had MySpace way back in the day, so I know how it used to be and how it has evolved into something not used by many people anymore. From my guy friends, I have heard all about Chatroulette, so, needless to say, I didn’t really feel like engaging with random people on the website and possibly running into some X-rated material (and I’m also currently in the library, so I have a feeling it would’ve been extremely awkward for anyone who happened to gaze over at my computer to see I was on Chatroulette).  What’s left? Of course, that leaves I-Dosing.  I wanted to see what it was all about, since up until Section last week, I had never heard anything about it.

I started off Google-ing the term, and came across a news video titled, “Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics Warning Parents About I-Dosing.” It discussed parent’s concerns about their children and the evolution of I-Dosing throughout society.  I happen to think that they have an irrational concern.  I am not someone who has ever heard of this term before, so this is all going off of my gained knowledge from tonight, but I feel that possibly it is a generational thing.  The generation of current parents did not grow up with the technology that we have today, so anything “out of the ordinary” like I-Dosing which claims to “make people high” and “simulate drug use” from different frequencies and digital sounds absolutely scares adults to no end.  The idea that technology and noise can do what I-Dosing claims it does makes worried parents react in a way which seems concerning.

I listened to a few videos tonight, which consisted of different pitches and levels of noise, and if anything, it reminded me of an airplane taking off from the runway, or a calming ocean.  It did not seem like anything around me was changing, I was just clued in to how annoying it was, and spent my thoughts wishing it would stop.  The YouTube videos of the reactions of teens portrayed an image that I-Dosing actually works, and I beg to differ.  Curious teenagers want to experience this phenomenon, and in all honesty, its for nothing…I-Dosing, in my opinion, does absolutely nothing.

I was actually listening to the “Gates of Hades” I-Dosing video while writing this blog entry, since I saw in someone else’s post that was a common one, and I didn’t come across it in my studies…just like all of the others, it has not phased me at all (and now it’s even sounding like an annoying, moving train, which is making me laugh, but that’s just me and my imagination I guess).  You know how after you go into an ocean you feel like you’re in waves hours later, where you can literally feel it after the fact?  I thought that was what I-Dosing would be like.  It wasn’t at all.

iDid some iDosing

I suppose in an age when technology changes so quickly it can be frightening. I do remember my friends not being allowed to go to chat rooms and secretly doing it anyway behind their parents backs. I was always afraid of chat rooms myself because you never know who you are talking to. These different technopanics do make sense to me. I have been on chatroulette before and saw my fair share of body parts I did not care to see. I also think that myspace can be dangerous. Many people do post information that can compromise their privacy as the Marwick article suggests. I had not heard of iDosing prior to this assignment but I so think that it is worth worrying about if a kid is looking to get any sort of “high”. Because  I did not know much about iDosing I decided to check it out for myself.

An article I read about iDosing explained that there are slightly different frequencies in each ear that can alter brain waves. The article suggested that the placebo effect is in place here and that perhaps these kids are just feeling high because they think that this music will give them a high. After listening to some for myself I think I agree.

I found a short video on YouTube called 3rd Eye. The description on the video read “This is an advanced iDose. The audio is designed to be awaken your third eye (shakra). If you listen to this with headphones and your eyes closed, you WILL experience what is commonly known as an “iDose”. It is completely harmless, and strictly for meditative purposes only.” After listening I read some of the comments on the video and many of the comments said it was scary. I have to agree. I listed to few other “iDose” videos and they all sound creepy to me. The 3rd Eye one definitely freaked me out a little. I was trying to close my eyes while listening to it but I kept opening my eyes to make sure everything around me was alright. I do not feel “high” but it can give you some kind of rush, I suppose the same way a haunted house or scary movie would. That being said, many parents allow their children to see scary movies. I do not see this as being much different. There is a problem, however, with kids looking to get high. But, if this iDosing satisfied that desire and prevents them from seeking drugs, perhaps it is a good thing.


MySpace Who?!

At first, after reading my classmates responses I was actually very curious to see what all the fuss was about regarding chatroulette. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately considering everybody seemed to be majorly spooked by the site) my computer won’t allow me on the site. Instead, I opted to check out 15 random MySpace profiles. Since I never really got sucked into the whole MySpace craze back in the days before Facebook revolutionized social networking and online media, I have to look at these profiles from a non-user distance, which somewhat limits what I can and can’t see. However, after glancing at my first few profiles, I’ve decided I’ve seen enough.

Like Facebook, each Myspace profile consists of a profile picture, personal photos tab categorized by albums, a friends tab, comments tab, and tabs for whatever else the user wants to make accessible via their MySpace page. Unlike the ever popular Facebook, the website’s layout is far less advanced in its aesthetic and technological nature. While there seems to be a place for all of the social networkers needs, it is obvious that the site has lost popularity in comparison to other sites.

Besides these few first observations, I poked around MySpace to see how it fits into the world of “technopanics.” For one, Facebook may be used by people of all ages today, but it’s important to remember that it started as a place for high school and college students to connect with one another via schools. I remember when Facebook has links to friend’s networks right at the bottom of the page. Although it has far out grown that phase of its life, something about the fact that Facebook started as a place for only students, made it feel much safer and exclusive. Today, Facebook could probably be grouped into the realm of technopanics with the rest of these creepy sites. I know I’ve gotten a message before on Facebook from a 60 year old man in India asking if I would like to join him on video chat before. Just because I have the option of ignoring him and denying his friend request doesn’t mean he is unable to find, and contact me. That’s what makes MySpace so scary as well. For some reason, almost every MySpace page I encountered included a picture that somebody took of themselves either in a mirror or held up from a distance whereas Facebook Profile Pages tend to be perfectly cropped pictures out of high quality photo albums using a “profile crop” option. As Marwick mentions in his article, “These claims about MySpace fall into two broad categories: first, that the site makes it easy for online predators to contact minors, and second, that social networking sites generally lower cultural expectations around privacy, encouraging children to expose more of their lives online.” To address some of those categories, I decided to do some profile searching. What separates MySpace from Facebook is FB’s “report” button that allows a viewer to report a picture they find inappropriate to a technical team at Facebook. They then take a look at the picture themselves and decided whether it should be removed or not. This is a feature MySpace doesn’t seem to have and due to this it makes it easier for users to post material that may be considered inappropriate and for “online predators” to find children who do so. However, with all the points Marwick explains make MySpace seem like a place for panic, after examining these profiles, I don’t see much of a difference from Facebook and as Marwick also explained, MySpace has made major strides to ensure the safety of its users.

All in all, yes this website is a “public forum” and yes it allows a lot of freedom to teenagers– maybe more than parents want to allow. But the truth is, if teens aren’t posting what they want, when they want on MySpace, Facebook or other social networking sites, they will undoubtedly find somewhere else to do so.

Feeling “Unlucky” on Chat Roulette

I was curious to see if Chat Roulette was still filled with the same people as it used to be, for I hadn’t visited the site in at least a few years. I was not pleased to find that it was. I was greeted on my first chat with a naked man, followed by sounds of pornography in the background. I was completely offended and had to exit the page, before I got the courage to go back on again.

My second experience was a little less frightening. It consisted of a hello and me pretending I was from London with a British accent,  followed by me hiding my face from the camera. For some reason I felt more comfortable putting on an act than actually participating in the site. I think I am uncomfortable with the fact of strangers seeing my face and being able to do whatever they want, because they are in the privacy of their own homes.

The concept of Chat Roulette is both interesting and creepy at the same time. As I revisited this site many years after I used it for entertainment, I still say to myself “There is absolutely no way I am the only normal person on this thing”,but I always seem to be. There was not one comfortable experience I had on Chat Roulette. I see how it is considered a moral panic because it can make people feel violated and uneasy. While I am sure that many people have had a decent experience on this website, I have not. I guess that’s the “gamble” about it, there is a good chance you will get a creep. Overall, I can say that this is my last time using Chat Roulette. Ever.

Chatroulette scares me

I chose to check out Chatroulette for this blog post since I have been on the site before.  The last time and the only time that I was on the site, was about two years ago with my roommates freshman year.

Seeing the site again made me realize why I never went back.  The whole prospect of chatting with someone/seeing people that you do not know creeps me out.  I get the appeal of meeting interesting (mostly strange) new people, but for me, it just made me uneasy.  Being that the first time I visited the site I was unfortunate enough to have an older man flash my friends and I, I was actually pretty nervous that I would see something inappropriate again round 2.

Fortunately, this time on Chatroulette I was spared the nudity, and I mostly just had 2 second conversations with other people. It was a very short conversation consisting of “Hi what’s your name” and I surprisingly wasn’t the one who exed out of the chat a lot of the time.  I thought I would experience creepy groups of people and immediately get turned off from the chat, but they seemed to be turned off from me.  Perhaps once they saw that I wasn’t a group of guys throwing back some beers, or a couple of giggling teenage girls, or a perverted older man, they were not very interested in talking to me.

All in all, I do understand the appeal of Chatroulette as a one-time deal, just to see what all the hype is about.  But as far as being a persistent user of the site, I’m not sure I could handle that.  The site was probably intended for g-rated content, and meeting new people through a different means than what was previous available on the internet.  Unfortunately, it has gone to a different, sometimes r-rated, creepy place.  I do not intend to return!