By now you should be familiar with the term “fidget spinner” but in case you are not, what are these and why are kids going crazy over them? Fidget spinners are the new craze and to put it simply, they are toys which have ball bearings in the centre and can be spun. The momentum of the spinning toy creates a soothing sensation in the hand and this sensation is what started all the hype.
Initially, fidget spinners were marketed as toys that help patients with ADHD and autism alleviate anxiety but now they are advertised as being able to help anyone with stress and promote focus. These claims have been argued against by scientists who believe the toys act more as distractions. The noise the spinners make combined with how the toys have to be spun are thought to distract from the task at hand. Traditionally there have been tools that have proven to help patients with ADHD and autism improve focus. These generally involve large motions of the limbs rather than the small motions associated with fidget spinners. No thorough studies have been conducted with regards to the effects of fidget spinners specifically and anecdotal evidence supports that fidget spinners have had positive effects on some individuals. While there are two sides to this argument, we will not know the true effects of these toys until further research is conducted.
Up until early 2017, the mass market was not even concerned about this toy but it is believed to have gained significant popularity after school teachers in the US banned it from classrooms. After that, fidget spinners exploded onto the scene with hundreds of people doing tricks and flips and making YouTube videos on how to execute these stunts. Even mobile games have popped up where one can collect a wide variety of fidget spinners and compete to spin the toy fastest. The most interesting aspect of this new trend has involved people making fidget spinners out of virtually everything starting from phones and smartwatches to everyday household items.
If we ignore all the buzz about the benefits (or lack thereof) of fidget spinners, they toy looks like any other silly toy we played with in our childhood. It spins, makes a satisfying noise and annoys school teachers – basically the definition of “fun” for young children and teenagers alike. While these collectable toys seem harmless, there have been instances where children have accidentally removed and swallowed the ball bearings causing a lot of trouble a the hospital. At the same time due to the unexpectedly rapid rise of this spinner toy, some spinners have been found to contain extremely high amounts of lead.
Fidget spinners may be irrelevant in just a few months or they could continue to be the phenomenon that they currently are. Regardless of your beliefs of their drawbacks or benefits, these things are toys and so should be treated as such. Poor quality spinners can be choking hazards or toxic so be sure to get yours from a reputed source. At the end of the day these are toys so try to have fun with them and maybe pay a little less attention to what the scientific community thinks they can do.