BY: NADIA ZAIDI
From shopping centres to grocery stores, fidget spinners are being sold everywhere — and the Internet is no exception. But what the heck are they, and how did they become the latest craze?
Fidget spinners are exactly what they sound like. An apparatus of sorts that you can spin and engage using your fingers. They have a bearing in the middle, with three prongs on the side that are designed to spin.
But what’s the craze over? I think with any toy that blows up in popularity, its appeal rests in the convenience and ease of its use. Additionally, fidget spinners are contending to be an effective means of managing attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
A deeper, more humane beginning:
The fidget spinner we know today actually began as a means of peace. An American woman named Catherine Hettinger invented it in 1993. The idea was inspired after a trip she took to visit her sister in Israel. It was there where she heard about Palestinian children throwing rocks at police officers. She attempted to solve the problem in her own humble way by providing a safe outlet for excess energy. She attempted to sell her design to various large toy companies, but her patent expired in 2005, which meant that other companies could now sell their own versions of this invention.
Fidget spinners are being banned across schools because they are being cited as disruptive and potentially dangerous toys. Due to their sudden surge in popularity, various manufacturers are producing fidget spinners at quick rates using cheap materials.
There is a general misconception that fidget spinners were made for people with ADHD or ADD, but they were simply manufactured for recreational use. Their claims stem from irresponsible marketing online, and have made their way to various news outlets and credible sources like BuzzFeed.
While it is very common for children (and adults) with ADHD to have accompanying gadgets or toys as a form of distraction and stress relief, and this toy is claimed to help stimulate those who use it, claims are not rooted in fact. On the contrary, schools and teachers are claiming that this toy is distracting them more than enabling learning and attention.
Manufacturers claim that fidget spinners provide users with comfort during stressful situations, and help sustain deeper focus. Researchers believe that there is a lack of empirical, tangible evidence to support these claims. According to the Centres of Disease Control and Prevention, as many as 6.4 million children between the ages of four and seventeen are diagnosed with ADHD.
The (my) verdict:
It almost seems obvious, doesn’t it? If a student has a choice between playing with a toy versus paying attention in the classroom, they’re going to choose the former. I think students who have any type of mental disorder(s) need to be assessed and dealt with on a case-by-case basis, rather than allowing them to trivially manage their symptoms. The fidget spinner looks like another cheap ploy to gain revenue off of concerned parents who might believe this toy can potentially help manage their child’s symptoms. Ultimately, though, the choice to buy it is yours.