Are Fidget Spinners Really a Fix or Is It Just a Fad?

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Unless you live in a cave and have a pet dinosaur snoozing under your stone bed you’ll have heard something about fidget spinners by now.

But have you actually seen one?

What is a fidget spinner

How does a fidget spinner work?

The idea is that while holding the center part steady, you flick their outer fingers with one of YOUR fingers to see how fast and how long it can spin! It’s simple and really quite satisfying for a while. Truth be told, however, I did find it a little tedious after a few goes. And now of course you can get them in different colours, sizes and weights – so buying one is obviously not enough – you definitely NEED at least three or four… deffo…

Psychotherapist’s analysis on fidget spinners

They were originally marketed to concerned parents as a ‘fix’ for kids diagnosed with ADHD and/or anxiety. The premise – promise even – being that it would act as a salve, an activity and soother of sorts. The proposed settings for spinning were both the classroom and the home where the child found it particularly hard to focus. 

About 6.4 million children aged four to 17 have been diagnosed with ADHD, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. And their parents, who are in need of help and reliable evidence based tips and information are vulnerable to potentially false marketing. Naturally are also vulnerable to feeling pressured into buying something that has gained huge international traction as a potential ‘treatment’.

expert analysis on fidget spinners

And guys, that’s a lot of parents.

If I had a dollar (although honestly I’d prefer a euro!) for every time a parent has asked me about fidget spinners this year…

The problem is that there are no true evidence of its effectiveness for the treatment of ADHD. In fact, no proper research has been done at all. Yes, there are surveys, but let’s not confuse this with actual research.

With surveys, dramatic, unfounded claims are often made and parents who are conscientious about being ‘good’ parents are being targeted. Scaring parents and following up with an offer of hope in the form of a one stop cure all for complex psychological states is how unscrupulous companies make money.

I feel like this is what’s happening here on a large scale and in case you haven’t already sensed it – I have the rages. And the secondary problem is that now they’ve become an accessory, a toy. What’s more is that they are toys which already spun out (sorry) parents, and not necessarily ADHD kids’ parents are being asked to buy – along with all the other fad gadgets that come … and go …

experts say about fidget spinners

And go they will – indeed they seem to be going already – which I’m sure is a relief to hopeful teachers everywhere as the summer holidays roll in giving everyone time to become bored of fidgeting with their spinners! It seems they deliver the opposite of what the marketers offer – they facilitate a deficit of attention. Indeed many schools in different regions have already banned them from their classrooms.

The teachers I know personally are quietly hoping the spinners will spin off into oblivion over the next two months and that a new, less irritating and  less distracting gadget will be in vogue by September.

Is there one or more in your house? How do you feel about them? I’d love to hear!

Looking for alternative stress relief toys?