Rob: Ok, what would you say is the main message of the book?
M.S.: To inform oneself as to what these technologies are actually doing. We are in a really unique period in history, in that we did have various forms of brain imaging or brain mapping in place before the innovation, so before iTechnology really took hold. And unlike other innovations, I use the example of television. We know about the mesmerizing effects of television if you look at our popular terms of boob tube and things like that, we know what it does. It's been studied on the brain as well, we can "prove it" but we have essentially brain mappings of individuals or cultures with and without television, not pre and post television, and the interesting factor about iTechnology is, I'm sitting on the pre-post or pre-during as well. I don't think I'm the only one out there, I think there are a lot of individuals who would be surprised if they went and mined their own data files. So I also have a call to professionals to please look at that and see if they can support what I found. But bottom line, it literally is changing brain function.
Rob: What aspects of the brain do you have data on from pre-internet and during internet?
M.S.: Well the biggest change we're seeing is in what I refer to as hyperarousal and what we're recording" we measure certain brainwave in the occiput, in the back of the brain, and we're measuring slow versus fast brain waves. Depending on the ratio, this tells us about our arousal. And every single participant in my study who is an excessive user and or an Internet addict, or iTech addict, had extremely elevated beta in the back of the brain so it's hyperarousal. It's an inability to self-quiet. Now, when I was essentially doing official research, I noted this, but what is frightening me is in the general clinical population we are seeing more and more of this. So this is essentially talking about the dissemination effect and how much has technology really a part of our lives. I can go on and on about this in terms of the why, but essentially what it is we're always on call. We are glued unto the devices and it's directly affecting our arousal levels so we're all more anxious, there are higher rates of insomnia, essentially it's insomnia and addiction.
Rob: Insomnia and addiction. Now you talk about how this affects different generations differently before we started recording, you mentioned there are six generations, in the book you talk about three.
M.S.: I talk about three but if you go to other literature they top it up in 6. I essentially talk about my generation and older and I don't mind saying I'm in my late 40s, then there is what I call the iBabies so, essentially, the kids who were just raised on it from zero and then there's a mid generation. So I really see three generations. Now that said, each generation is using it differently, so our exposure rates are also different. There are, for example, parents out there, they are being, as far as I'm concerned very wise and not exposing their young children to iTech. Now they are still part of that generation but it's how the technologies are being integrated and used. And I'm going to jump in a little bit in terms of one of the catchphrases that I use is we're talking about the difference between interference and integration. And I don't want to say the technologies are all bad, they're not. It's definitely not the message that I want to give, but how and why we use it and how frequently we use it makes a huge difference in terms of positive integration versus negative interference which can affect mental health, which can affect socio-emotional development, cognitive development and all the rest.
Rob: Ok, I've gotta pause for a second, just hold on. So we're back, this is the Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show WNJC 1360 AM. I'm speaking with Dr. Mari Swingle, Neurotherapist and the author of i-minds. Now what I want to get clear though is I am interested in these three generations that you referred to. Could you be a little more detailed in your explanation of what the three generations are that you referred to?
M.S.: As I said the generation where essentially iTechnology did not influence development, meaning it's my generation and older, so this would be late 40s and older, where iTech started to become integrated in University culture in our mid 20s or so and for those who were not in university culture probably a little bit later. And essentially it didn't have a chance to seed in the brain for development. Now my generation and older also can suffer quite profusely in terms of how we do and don't use the technology and it's highly aligned with what we refer to as subclinical pathologies that can bloom into pathology or mental illness. It's married with anxiety, depression and excessive compulsion.