Are Fidget Spinners Offering Help or Creating Problems?

Like the hula hoops, beanie babies, and cabbage patch kids from decades past, the fidget spinner is the 2017 “must have” toy. A spinner is a ridiculously simple device consisting of a pad surrounded by blades that require a tiny amount of effort to spin. The toys are colorful, made in a variety of sizes and materials, and are all the rage with children. While some adults feel that the devices offer benefits, others consider them problems.

A Cool New Toy That Came From Nowhere

With little fanfare, hundreds of stores began stocking fidget spinners in the spring of 2017. The gadgets soon flew off the shelves. Although the devices do nothing but spin, they quickly became the hottest trend in the toy industry and are often marketed as being therapeutic. In fact, stores sometimes describe them as Autism fidgets that can help children focus. Kids don’t seem to care about how spinners can help them, they just like having the coolest new toy, which is why millions of them have been sold to date.

Could Spinners Be More Than a Trendy Toy?

Online retailers that sell fidget spinners often describe them as therapeutic. They suggest that the repetitious movement has a calming effect on kids and even adults. In fact, some parents and professionals report that the gadgets provide a way for their kids to refocus their minds during play periods. Spinners are also being marketed and used as promotional items that workers use as mindless entertainment to counteract stress.

Not Everyone Is a Fidget Fan

Despite their popularity, many educators have now banned fidget spinners from classrooms or even entire schools. Teachers report that the spinning motion distracts kids and prevents them from learning. Although the toys have been advertised as helpful tools for kids with autism and ADHD, some experts in the field say that spinners offer distraction but not necessarily help. In addition, there is a worry that children can swallow the parts and that some devices may contain toxic lead.

The small, handheld, colorful spinning devices that are now everywhere are called fidget spinners and are controversial. They are marketed as relaxing devices that can help kids with autism, but their effectiveness is in question. The toys have also caused problems such as distracting children in classrooms.