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Podcast    H4'ed 6/3/15

iTech Addiction, Danger and Damage-- Mari Swingle, author iMinds

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Broadcast 6/3/2015 at 9:41 PM EDT (60 Listens, 24 Downloads, 1493 Itunes)
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Dr. Mari Swingle and her book, iMind
Dr. Mari Swingle and her book, iMind
(Image by Dr. Mari Swingle)
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Dr. Mari Swingle is a Neurotherapist who practices at the Swingle Clinic, in Vancouver British Columbia.

She's the author of a new book,

i-Minds: How Cell Phones, Computers, Gaming, and Social Media Are Changing Our Brains, Our Behavior, and the Evolution of Our Species

Rough Interview Notes

This book explores how the brain is affected by iTechnology

What's the main message of the book?

You talk about generations-- three generations, six generations.

1-generation where iTechnology did not influence development-- late forties and older

2-individuals20s to 30s, where iTech was always a part of their lives, but they still had exposure to play and social interaction without iTecth.

3- iBabies, where iPads, etc, were introduced in the cradle.

Let's talk about the developmental issues first.

one of the first issues is in terms of attachment. They literally attach to objects as opposed to their caregivers-- it's the absolute ideal babysitter. The catch is the child is not attaching to the parents-- we were already seeing this in peer vs elder attachment.

Neufield and Mattei

Rob: Peer vs adult attachment?

peer attachment--

Rob: how would a transition from adult to peer attachment affect authoritarianism?

The main issue is who is defining the authority. Authority is the first thing to change.

Rob: How would it be different if there was adult attachment.

Rob: I would think that this transition to peer attachment has been going on for forty years, maybe even since WWII.

getting back to authority-- today the authority is Google. Students will literally pull out their phones and check-- disputing teachers.

Equality given to anyone who posts.

Rob: talk about what attachment is, then how it's transitioned from adult to peer to iTech.

iBabies are not being touched as much, sung to, tickled, caressed or looked at as much. This is compromising neurological pathways for attachment.

Parents are on their cell phone, not looking at or interacting with the child. Essentially they are wiring the child to attach to the object.

The child is not attracted to the screen due to the emotion of curiosity, more on rejection because the parent isn't looking at them.

Rob: attachment leads to healthiness or attachment disorder. Connection of mother and child affect brain growth and circuitry.

Neuronal darwinism-- if pathways are not excited they will prune themselves.

connection with autism-- researcher took grade sixers half continued with life, other half went on three day hiatus on all form of iTech-- compared afterwards-- the ability to read facial cues was lower for children who stayed on iTech.

Rob: Individuals who have a dysfunctional relationship with the internet.

but what will be the new normal in 100 years.

Rob: you talk about integration vs interference

people can't make face to face contact

Rob; Apple store manager-- looks for people who can make face to face.

Integration-- where iTech is used positively.

it's not IF we use the technology, it's how and why we use it.

Rob: three types o f transformation: 1-facilitating accentuation or acceleration

Bullying is a good example.

50% addiction, 50% perceived

Rob; Perceived survival

Rob; How old are the older iBabies?

baby to six, sometimes eight. I can't give a specific ages because it's depending on parental behavior.

Rob: Steve Jobs limited his kids to something like an hour a day and didn't allow them to have iPads.

Rob: I have a granddaughter ten months old and have probably taken thousands of photos of her, many with face view. It starts very young.

Just look at what's happening in their current behavior and project it forward. Consider attachment. They're reaching for iTech.

The huge effect on learning, creativity and innovation. They're not taking in things from their environment. it also has implications in terms of integration of knowledge.

You need blank spaces"

None of this is happening.

Rob: what do you mean "none of this is happening.

If a child is focusing on the digital device they are not learning from their general environment.

Rob: your take on use of iTech and games is that they don't do the performance enhancements they claim.

Rob: Tell us about Alpha and how it's tied to games and Rote learning.

Rob: What is an alpha brainwave, how does it manifest in a healthy way.

associated with creativity, attention, ability to relax, some associated with intelligence. want alpha to switch on and off.

Want to be in a state of calm alertness. People in a chronic state of hyper vigilance then you develop a state of fatigue.

You don't want a lot of low alpha the frontal brain.

Rob: that's the top-down, filtering, analytic part of the brain.

they talk about how gaming augments alpha--

look at alcohol-- the way the brain reacts depends on your relationship to alcohol.

A Sommelier-- a person who has to cognitively analyze wine

A social drinker-- emotional centers light up

Problem alcoholic-- addictive centers light up. It's all based on our relationship with the substance. With gamers it's all based on the process. Look at an adolescence who's an excessive gamer the addictive centers light up.

Enjoy a game, unless you're an addict

There is a social area here-- a Catch22. The primary form of social bonding today is gaming.

Rob: when you talk about gaming you're talking about massive multiplayer online gaming? (MMPG)

No, also about two kids playing facing a console.

With MMPG there are commitments and responsibilities-- it's highly married with depression and anxiety.

Rob: You talk about how there characteristics which make people more at risk for iTech addiction.

There are clusters anxiety, emotional deregulation, high frontal alpha, a form of ADD associated with SMR-- sensorimotor rhythm--

what I refer to as a liability, meaning people who knock our doors for a reason. They need help. There are a lot of people out there who don't come to us, who are fine. The trigger is use of iTechnologies.

Rob: You say that "the only fundamental difference between drive and addiction is outcome."

You need a bit of an obsessive nature to get through law school, to make it to the olympics" they have the addiction brainwave signature-- but it was flipped into what I call drive. The culture, parents or situation directs

Rob: So it's a matter of learning how to tap it and regulate it?

cites how addiction can also manifest in negative ways in lawyers, doctors, athletes, especially after they retire.

Rob: talk about how alpha is associated with creativity and how iTech is making a scary change

When you close your eyes and alpha goes up a certain amount in certain areas, it's associated with creativity.

Around ten years ago I found that kids that come in here have behavioral disorders, etc. We try to give them good news. When we see this signature we'd refer to it in a positive way-- that it's associated with creativity.

Around ten years ago I started to notice that parents were reporting that the child used to have creativity but it disappeared when they got into gaming. It's not you came and continue to sing and dance. it's completely taken over by gaming.

When I was doing my phD dissertation on internet addiction. I saw an alpha fluttering a spindling alpha that was a lot higher than I'd see anywhere else-- something we'd see in seizure disorders. I found it was in every single participant's data. What I was finding is that for individuals who acknowledge that they excessively use internet or any screen based device, you get this extreme augment in spindling alpha with eyes closed and it's not associated with creativity.

Rob: And that's different than the creative alpha.

It's a lot bigger and the morphology looks a lot bigger.

Rob: what does that mean in terms of the way the brain is functioning.

I don't know ,but these individuals have diminished creativity and have anxiety. It could also be exposure to EMF fields.

Rob: Another area of the book is how this ties in with socialization.

Bottom-line is we're becoming much more isolated-- this is really affecting our wellness and happiness. There's the Facebook effect. Individuals who spend a lot of time socializing on Facebook are becoming depressed compared to people who are out and about, socializing with people.

Rob; why do you think that's happening.

Rob: Talk about timing. Used to be you'd send a l ether and get a response a week later. Now we send an email and

This where I connect with gambling and addiction. We're actually getting aroused from this by opening our mail.

Rob: you talk about the unwrapping the gift high:

It's not the high of receiving and the satisfaction. The expectation is a lot higher than satisfaction.

Rob: talk about this a bit more.

Multiple gift giving holidays-- kids are anticipating many gifts. When you get only one gift,

When many the child doesn't spend time appreciating, moves from one to the next-- it's the anticipatory high.

Rob: What's involved in the anticipatory high

the heightened arousal of what will o r won't be. Gambling-- it's putting the coin in, feeling in the breath, belly and brain when you pull the handle or push the button-- that state of excitement that you have.

Rob: so you're saying that the anticipation

it's what we're seeing in texting, searching-- they're not after the content. It's crossing over into everything. Another good example is the internet dating phenomenon. It's the anticipatory cycle. It's completely thwarting pair bonding.

Rob: You also have a chapter on sex

the mass dissemination of porn has really changed arousal cycle-- it's the needing of more. Due to excessive exposure to pornography, men need more and more to become aroused and interested in person to person sexual activity. In cultures of old, the viewing of a woman's ankle would send a man spinning. Now men are seeing everything on line-- the exposure is absolutely extreme" and real life experiences don't match up anymore. My greatest concern is for young men. First stages of sexual development are awkward-- people fumble, they don't know quite what they are doing. What's happening is young boys are learning what they should or should not be doing online, through port. Their expectations are through the roof. It goes further because the young women know this-- so we're seeing young women and adolescents more and more to be accepted, completely mimicking porn actions.

There are writings of the loss of intimacy-- the sacrifice of heart to heart.

Rob: Do you think that porn is contributing to the development of friends with benefits, F-buddies, etc.

There are apps that help people find people nearby to help people find others who just want sex.

Rob: What affect is that having on marriage and healthy relationships?

infidelity is climbing. It always was around. it's the accessibility issue. Before, they had to actually go out and seek it. They had to want to go out and have an affair. We see this in terms of the dating sites. Standardized sites have whole sections who are dedicated to people who are in monogamous relationships.

Ashley Madison-- one of the first cheating websites-- people who were in relationships, wanting extramarital affairs. Many dating sites have sections for that. it's becoming normalized.

It used to be more covert. It's the availability that's augmenting the acceptability. People can click

Rob: where to you think this will go with iBabies. I have friends who tell me they have three year old grandchildren who can download apps.

App downloading is a tech issue. Less eye contact, not learning true physical boundaries, attachment issues-- using iDevices to bridge phases of awkwardness.

Rob: using iDevices to bridge phases of awkwardness?

adolescents will use digital interfaces to talk to each other.

Rob: They cannot talk face to face but they can use texting.

Rob: Psychopaths, sociopaths and narcissists don't care are not empathic

It's going to exacerbate it if not create it. Look at Facebook and selfless, Cyberbullies, cybersex-- it's all narcissistic process-- for many individuals, people on the internet are not people, they're internet people and the rules are different.

Look at the phenomenon of friends with benefits--- where did that come from-- sitting next to someone on the phone and one asks

Rob: I have a concern that the iTech situation you describe is leading to more psychopathic, sociopathic, narcissistic people and behaviors.

theres's sexnology-- tech developed strictly for sexual purposes-- attachments for the computer that you attach to your genitals. it's a huge industry.

Dr. Mari-- there are hopeful things happening-- people opting out of Facebook, indivs choosing not to care cell phones--

Deciding what your personal boundaries are.

I have a very overt rule on Facebook. I don't have many Facebook friends. It really is my personal relations.

I might choose to have a personal Facebook, a Dr. Mari Swingle Facebook. I very rarely respond to professional emails .

Rob: It would be nice to have an email auto responder that told people we don't respond to emails between 5 PM and 9 AM.

Rob: but it's also a part of our personal lives.

Rob: you could be the Dear Abby for Technology.

Perfect. Hire me.

people have what they think is insomnia, but they have their phones under their pillows and they are texting all night. it's fatigue. I strongly believe parents should take cell phones away after certain hours.

Rob: Where do biofeedback and neurotherapy fit into all of this?

We have a really good success rate of satisfied clients feeling much better at the symptoms they come in for. Then, all of a sudden our success rate was dropping. I started noticing the connection with the use of iTechnologies-- excessive use of iTechnology is sometimes the cause of and sometimes helps maintain the problems" You must ask about the use, especially in anxiety, learning problems, insomnia, learning disorder, and certain forms of ADHD.

Rob: how many hours a week

I'm saying 72 hours a week--

Rob: That's over ten hours a day

essentially every waking moment when they are not in school. If it is affecting you you have to be prepared to change your behaviors.

Rob: what do you tell them to do, if the iTech is a major part of their problem.

with gaming-- stop it.

with others, treat it like eating disorders. you have to learn how to mediate or mitigate the behaviors, be very conscious of your behavior and set boundaries.

Rob: What about work? I go to a job, work on the computer all day, develop anxiety or depression? Could this be a disability that the employer is accountable for?

Rob: Are people making claims like that?

I have not heard of any? I think it would be an area for abuse.

Rob: It's hard to image that all of this you've describe, applying this to employees doing it eight hours a day, that it wouldn't cause.

Rob: What next for you?

I want to continue with public speaking with this to spread the word.

Size: 50,222,752 -- 1 hrs, 44 min, 37 sec


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Rob Kall Social Media Pages: Facebook Page       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Rob Kall is an award winning journalist, inventor, software architect, connector and visionary. His work and his writing have been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, CNN, ABC, the HuffingtonPost, Success, Discover and other media.

Check out his platform at

He is the author of The Bottom-up Revolution; Mastering the Emerging World of Connectivity

He's given talks and workshops to Fortune 500 execs and national medical and psychological organizations, and pioneered first-of-their-kind conferences in Positive Psychology, Brain Science and Story. He hosts some of the world's smartest, most interesting and powerful people on his Bottom Up Radio Show, and founded and publishes one of the top Google- ranked progressive news and opinion sites,

more detailed bio:

Rob Kall has spent his adult life as an awakener and empowerer-- first in the field of biofeedback, inventing products, developing software and a music recording label, MuPsych, within the company he founded in 1978-- Futurehealth, and founding, organizing and running 3 conferences: Winter Brain, on Neurofeedback and consciousness, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology (a pioneer in the field of Positive Psychology, first presenting workshops on it in 1985) and Storycon Summit Meeting on the Art Science and Application of Story-- each the first of their kind. Then, when he found the process of raising people's consciousness and empowering them to take more control of their lives one person at a time was too slow, he founded which has been the top search result on Google for the terms liberal news and progressive opinion for several years. Rob began his Bottom-up Radio show, broadcast on WNJC 1360 AM to Metro Philly, also available on iTunes, covering the transition of our culture, business and world from predominantly Top-down (hierarchical, centralized, authoritarian, patriarchal, big) to bottom-up (egalitarian, local, interdependent, grassroots, archetypal feminine and small.) Recent long-term projects include a book, Bottom-up-- The Connection Revolution, (more...)

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