The Fidget Spinner Controversy
If you have kids, have been around kids, or have been outside the house recently, you’ve probably heard of the fidget spinner, the newly ubiquitous toy that has taken the world by storm.
What is a fidget spinner?
The fidget spinner, marketed by some manufacturers as a viable treatment for easily distracted children or even for those with a clinical diagnosis of ADHD, is a small, metal toy that looks kind of like a miniature UFO, and has ball loads that make it spin quickly after a little push and some careful balancing. The idea is that in order to keep the device spinning, you have to focus energy on balancing and tilting it so that it stays spinning and doesn’t fall out of your hand.
It sounds ridiculous, but it’s addictive.
Fidget spinners are everywhere. And though they’ve been around for decades, their popularity suddenly surged in early 2017, with fidget spinner hysteria reaching an all-time high in April of this year. And it’s no wonder; the toys are being marketed to parents and stressed professionals as a calming device for people who are easily distracted. Specifically, fidget spinners have been marketed as an easy fix for kids with ADHD.
Do fidget spinners work?
Psychologists and ADHD experts have recently come out to publicly question the efficacy of fidget toys for kids, in helping to soothe restlessness or distraction. In fact, some experts argue, a person who is easily distracted might actually end up more distracted by a toy that demands constant attention — and a fair amount of manual fidgeting. Some school have gone so far as to ban the use of fidget spinners in class.
Read about ADHD on The Swaddle
Whether this particular toy craze lasts through the year may depend on who reaches parents’ ears first: the toy manufacturers or the psychologists who are warning against the spinners’ use.
Either way, this toy is another example of how kid crazes can have such a powerful commercial impact, and how desperately consumers want to believe that a quick fix to a behavioral problem is possible. At the very least, the manufacturers of the fidget spinner are onto something. Because all is takes is a little clever packaging to make a cheap, useless, handheld mini-propeller thingy fly off the shelves.