For kids in school, fidget spinners are all the rage right now, and the source of rage for all educators. The boom in popularity of fidget spinners has seen the trendy toy whirring away in fingers absolutely everywhere.
While the toy is innocuous enough and provides a mindless diversion for the user, it’s how the product is being advertised that is dividing experts.
The “stress-relieving” toy has been promoted as being a product that helps people who have trouble focusing or fidgeting, but one clinical psychologist begs to differ.
Fidget spinners are very simple in their design, typically they have three prongs centered around a circle with bearings in the middle. Once the user gives a prong a spin, the spinner whirls at mesmerizing speeds with the intent to relieve stress.
These spinners are supposed to work as a release mechanism for nervous energy or stress, which in turn is believed to be of benefit to those with ADHD, autism, or anxiety.
It’s these wondrous benefits advertised by the makers of the toy that have divided experts on the matter. Some believe the toy could be used as some sort of aid while others see it as more of a distraction.
A toy to help kids concentrate might seem like a great tool for the education system, but more and more schools are banning these fidget spinners due to their distracting nature.
Scott Kollins, a clinical psychologist and professor at Duke University told NPR that there’s no actual evidence to support the claim that these fidget spinners are beneficial to the issues they are marketed to address.
“I know there are lots of similar toys, just like there are lots of other games and products marketed towards individuals who have ADHD, and there’s basically no scientific evidence that those things work across the board,” Kollins stated.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, surveys have shown that approximately 11% of children 4 to 17 years old have ever been diagnosed with ADHD as of 2011.
Unfortunately, this is a statistic a lot of marketers have become aware of, so they will prey on that vulnerability. Considering there is a lack of any real research, most of these toys or gadgets geared towards ADHD have no real backing.
Scott Kollins told NPR, “If their description says specifically that this can help ADHD, they’re basically making false claims because these have not been evaluated in proper research.”
Fidget spinners are undeniably the toy of the moment right now. However, a majority of kids probably aren’t interested in the supposed focusing benefits and instead are using that as an excuse to get their hands on one.
While there are ADHD treatments that have been thoroughly studied and documented, there are no easy fixes, which is what fidget spinners seem to promise in how they are marketed.
“It’s important that people don’t get into trying these fads when we do have treatments that can help these kids,” Kollins shared.