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!


Chatroulette is Creepy

My experience with Chatroulette was a different one. In the five minutes I was on it I saw about 10 people and attempted to chat with 2 or 3 before it just creped me out. Maybe it’s an age thing. I know my little brother and his friends spend like hours on it randomly just messing around like high school kids do sometimes. All I know is it is for sure not for me.

I’ve heard some Chatroulette “horror stories”, if you will, from my brother and his friends, luckily my experience was not that dramatic. I’ve also read some other classmates experience with it and was not looking forward to checking it out. I would click and some random person would pop up on my screen. A couple of times I couldn’t understand what the other person was saying. On one hand I can see why people may like it because of the surprise element. On the other hand I’m sure there are a lot of people out there bringing a lot of x-rate content and that is a little scary. Overall, it was a different experience that I probably wouldn’t try again. However, it is kind of interesting to think that there is website  like this that pairs you with a person that could be on the other side of the world and that so many people are interested it something like this.


I-Dosing

I was really excited to see what exactly I-Dosing was and how I could give it a try myself. Apparently, I-Dosing is a new trend amid kids online wanting to get “high” off of audio sound waves. The “music” is typically loud and consists of a two-tone technique that allegedly alters brain waves, creating a sense of induced awareness. For a more technical description on how this binaural mix creates this sensation through different frequencies, refer to Mike’s post, 2 posts below this one.

There is the foundation for I-Dosing. Now the next part was to explore it’s effects for myself. I went to YouTube and found a video called “Gate of Hades,” one of the more well-known I-dosing videos. Part one of the video was 15 minutes long, so naturally I didn’t stick around for the entire show. This may have reduced the effects of this music, but I doubt it, for I felt virtually nothing after sampling the video. Perhaps I am high while typing this now, but I would definitely need some convincing. Arguably, I felt a sense of hyper-awareness after listening, but I would compare this feeling to the emotions felt after listening to a dissonant, contemporary classical work. After sitting for an extended period of time, trying to focus all of your attention on something that you would normally avoid listening to, you feel a different sentiment than you would feel on a normal basis.

I would agree that parents have a legitimate concern if their kids are experimenting with this new phenomenon, but the issue isn’t so much with I-Dosing as as it is with what I-Dosing represents. If your kid is looking to get high, this might be something you would want to address as a parent, as it could obviously lead to an actual addiction to an actual drug. Overall, I have come to the conclusion that I-Dosing is harmless, and I wish I could say I was surprised. People freak out with any mention of children getting “high,” and since the older generation is less tech-saavy, they tend to fear anything on the internet. Combine these two things, and you have a recipe for overreaction.


i-dosing and binaural beats

Having been aware of the danger of spending more than 5 minutes on chat roulette, I decided to take a look at the  less dangerous threat of i-dosing! Reports suggested that kids may be trying to get high on the internet by listening to binaural beats on stereo headphones. While binaural beats do not chemically alter your brain in the same way taking drugs, some parents and educators were worried that the effects these beats have on children could potentially act as a gateway to using drugs.

Hemi-sync, a company that produces binaural beats, among other things, lays out a brief synopsis of how the beats work in sync with your brain. Each side of a stereo headphone produces a frequency that is very similar to the other-say one side 40Hz and the other 41Hz. Since they are so close to each other in Hz, they essentially sound the same. However, since they are actually producing the different wavelengths, a pattern (beat) emerges. Your brain automatically combines these two frequencies into the binaural beat. The Hemi-sync webbsite reports that “binaural beats originate in the brainstem’s superior olivary nucleus, the site of contralateral integration of auditory input.” This then initiates brainwave activity that equalizes the frequency that your brain is working on. Binaural beats have been used for therapeutic treatment and generally helps people to relax.

I think it is funny that people would see this as a threat to children. Heaven forbid children have access to something that can relax them and stimulate creative thinking-and its not drugs!


i-dosing…trippy??

Fearful to venture into the world of chatroulette and unsure of where to start on myspace, my curiousity was peaked by the phenomenon known as “i-dosing”. Initially unsure of what i-dosing was I naturally had to do the first thing one ever does when beginning research: I googled. Google returned a lot of information, but an article on the Smoking Jacket summed it up quite nicely: http://www.thesmokingjacket.com/entertainment/tsj-investigates-will-i-dosing-get-you-high. To sum it up for you, the idea behind i-dosing is that certain music, when listened to, can alter your brainwaves to stimulate the effects of various illicit drugs. I can certainly see why many people, particularly teens, have become excited over the prospect that simply by downloading an mp3 and listening through headphones, one can get “high”. It is important to use headphones because two different tones (binaural beats) are played in each ear but through headphones are perceived by the brain as a single pulsating noise. I-dosing websites offer beats whose effects apparently range from those of  “aspirin” to “marijuana” to “heroin” and “The gates of Hades”…uhhhh….

Call me a skeptic on this whole i-dosing trend…but I guess I’ll have to try it out now. The website I am on warns me to lie down in a comfortable place. I chose to see if I can have an “out of body experience” which they describe as:

  • You will be able to leave your physical body and start exploring our world and others. OBEs can spontaneously occur during a near death experience, such as through car accident, an operation, and clinical death. The person experiencing this state will suddenly see his or her own body, as if he or she is standing next to it or floating above it. The sensation is like that of being an observer. You will be able to float in any direction you wish and move through walls. Most importantly, you will remember everything and in great detail. The “Out Of Body” track helps you to achieve an OBE while lying in the comfort of your bed. By using high Beta waves, the recording will guide your brainwaves directly to an OBE state, allowing you to leave your body and start exploring new levels of consciousness.

Unforunately the full version is between $10 and 15$ so the sample will have to do. Let’s hope I’m not too incapacitated to finish the rest of my blog post….

Well I did feel very relaxed and sleepy for that one-minute sample, but no crazy effects yet. It’s a very cool idea that sounds could have such a significant effect on one’s body-mind state but I am not sure I buy it. To be fair, I didn’t get the full experience. I would be curious to hear if anyone else has had a more intense experience with i-dosing. While I believe that sounds, music in particular, have the power to shape and change mood I don’t know if they can induce such powerful physical states. I won’t be trading in my coffee for the “coffee break/ energy” beat anytime soon.


Never Going on Chatroulette Again, Either!

Wow, I can start off this post by telling you all that my stomach dropped out of nervousness after being on Chatroulette for not more than 15 minutes, and that will be the last time I go on that site. When I was in the middle school, in my beginning teen-age years, I had a MySpace profile, but due to my little knowledge and interest in technology, I never updated it or viewed others’, but all of my friends had one. I had never even heard of the site Chatroulette until this assignment came up. So, today I went on the site, and little did I know, I would be talking to people I have never met, from all over the world. I also made sure to keep the volume of my computer on silent because I was unsure whether or not I would be able to hear the person, but out of fear, the last thing I wanted was to hear someone I have never spoken to before. The thoughts going in and out of my mind were, “What if he/she is child molester? a pedophile?” I had no clue what to expect. Anyway, the first person happened to be a 17 year-old boy from England. His light was also off, so I could not see his face. Therefore, he could have been a 65-year old man from who-knows-where. The stories that anybody can make up on these sites has no limits, especially when one cannot even see the physical appearance of the person. This “17-year-old boy” said he was from England and going to Cambridge University for college. I thought it was very interesting to speak to someone of another cultural background, but he could have said he was from anywhere. Although the site says that you are only allowed to use the camera application if you are 18+ there was nothing stopping this 17-year-old boy from using it. I then moved on to the next person, who had his shirt off. He said he was 19-years old and from Italy. I asked him why he goes on this site, and he said, “to meet girls.” I quickly moved on to the next person, and the next, and the next. I kept clicking, “next,” because each person was either an old man, or there was extremely inappropriate content on-screen! It was an appalling experience, and if I were to say that it is a way to meet new people, learn about other cultures through speaking to other people on these chats, every other negative opinion of mine about this site would overrule any positive aspects.

As Marwick’s article states truly, “Today, we live in a society where sexuality, has led to the modern spate of moral panics over children (Zgoba, 2004), including child abuse (Hacking, 1991), ritual sexual abuse (Victor, 1998), abductions by strangers (Zgoba, 2004), and pedophilia (Critcher, 2002).” I believe that sites like this one promotes this outbreak today. I have never witnessed more “online predators” than today while observing this site for as little as 15 minutes, but without my viewing it, I would never have known or received first-hand experience, where I am able to learn the most about the spread of moral panics of sexual harassment today (for example) through technology.


Never Going On Chatroulette Again!

Since I will be participating on Myspace this semester for my practicum project, I have chosen to spend some time on Chatroulette for this blog post.  I have been on Chatroulette once before about a year and half ago with a few friends to check out what all the commotion was about.  The purpose of the site is to go on and chat with strangers with no expectations of who or what will pop up on the screen as you move to and from different chats.  The site was really popular at first and I actually remember that we ran into some of our other friends who were on the site as well which was funny.  However a lot of the times that we moved into the next chat there were a lot of grown men doing inappropriate things and exposing themselves which I found disgusting.

Since I have not been on the site in a while I was curious to see if it is still as popular as it used to be and also to see if it has changed at all.  I found that there was still a lot of inappropriate activity going on.  Many of the chats I entered involved young teens that did not speak at all and it was pitch dark in the room they were in.  Then, like I expected there were a lot of perverted older men showing their private parts as well.  I did however run into some normal people who just wanted to chat and have fun (some of them were even foreign and did not speak English), which I believe is the main purpose of the site even though it is not used appropriately.  Furthermore I have found that the only thing that has changed about Chatroulette is that it is not as popular as it was when it first came out.  Similarly to Nick’s findings I agree that the site serves as a platform for people to get away with doing disgusting things on the site.  Realistically I do not believe that a friendship can be built through meeting another person on this site and that it is just used for fun.