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Is The Fidget Spinner Really an "Attention Helper"?

Updated on May 19, 2017

Background Information

If you're social or just active on the internet, you'll have heard about the hot new toy called a "fidget spinner", and almost as soon as it came out, it's popularity began to spin out of control.

The fidget spinner is a toy designed for children with ADHD, autism or anxiety, but it is also considered a stress reliever. Although this "stress reliever" was released in the 1990's, it only became popular recently.

It quickly began to blow up on social media. Instagram, Youtube, Twitter, and iFunny are all apps where multiple fidget spinner pictures and videos may be found. Jokes and memes feature these new toys and even some tutorials on how to do a few tricks.

Nonetheless, many people still despise these spinners, even though it seems as though the entire United States seems to praise them.

Children all around the United States, whether they buy it for medical purposes or not, seem to own at least one. Who wouldn't want them? They're cheap, easy to find, fun and friends seem to be impressed when a few tricks can be done.

These toys are amazing, right? However, little rays of sunshine don't revolve around this new toy with some people. Especially when it comes to the classroom.

Schools Ban Fidget Spinners

Schools are back lashing at these new spinners, calling them distracting and obnoxious. Hundreds of schools are banning fidget spinners with the exception of anyone with a disability such as ADHD, anxiety and autism.

Teachers are considering them highly annoying, and confiscating them almost immediately upon sight. Although the fidget spinner is considered a device to help students focus, students seem to be focusing more on the spinner than on their topics in class.

Ever since spinners began to appear in classrooms, students grades seem to have a slight drop, and productivity seems to also decrease. Perhaps teachers have a good reason to hate them.

Students Respond

Several students have varying opinions about the ban on fidget spinners. In fact, one school that does have these spinners banned is a BASCS school in New Jersey. "I didn't think that they'd get that popular, but many kids at the elementary schools started to buy them." A seventh grader who goes to a local school in NJ states. "Many kids started to use them in class but instead of it helping them, they were just missing a lesson."

"I agreed with their decision because I have seen many students slack off in class and focus on the fidget spinner instead of taking notes and focusing on the class; many students began to fail in class and the ban has prevented that." Says Mercan, another 7th grader. In her school, almost every kid seems to have a fidget spinner and most of them are very protective of their opinion.

For example, a 5th grader who goes to the same school has a different idea compared to Mercan's. "When the ban came out, I was disappointed. I actually have ADD, and I feel like the spinner helped me relax and focus in class." However, despite this students response, the fidget spinner's ban initially was a plus to schools everyone.

Standard fidget spinner.
Standard fidget spinner. | Source

What Is ADHD?

ADHD is a chronic condition that stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Children with ADHD don't function the way other children do. They have a need to constantly be moving, or fidgeting. There are more than 3 million cases of ADHD in the US a year. This condition, however, can be treated.

The motor centers and impulse areas of the brain of someone with ADHD are different than others. Children with ADHD often feel the need to get out of their seat in class. They often tap their pencils on the desk, bounce their feet on the floor, looking around and getting distracted. Unfortunately, sometimes this condition can lead to learning disabilities, lack of self-confidence and sometimes even relationship issues.


What is Autism?

Autism is also called autism spectrum disorder. It is a serious development disorder that impairs the ability to communicate and interact. This disorder can last for years, or even be life long. Unfortunately, this is a very common disorder, and more than 200,000 cases are recorded in the US a year. As well as ADHD, this condition may be treated, but there is no such cure for it.

People with autism often have trouble interacting. It is hard for them to read others emotions, and it may also lead to learning disabilities. This disorder may start as early in a 1-2-year-old, but it the US it mostly affects people ages 3-60. The fidget spinner came out to help people with these sort of disorders, but did it really help at all?

Is It Here To Help?

Everyone wants a fidget spinner. They're entertaining, they're fun to do tricks with, and all the cool kids have them, but does it actually do any good? As cool as they seem, they distract kids in class, and how long until they drop in popularity? Slowly, sightings in public are starting to decrease.

Children who don't own a fidget spinner seem to function just as well as children with one, and the biggest problem; it's kind of addicting. Once you get your hands on one of these, it's hard to put it down. Of course, a few days away from it and you'll lose interest. Nonetheless, that doesn't mean kids will be willing to during classes.

They don't seem to do any good to children with disabilities either. Even the kids that "need" them are becoming distracted by them. After all, they shouldn't be used for medical purposes, seeing as they haven't been very helpful so far. Maybe it's time to discard the idea of the fidget spinner being "helpful."

However, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Therefore, you're considering buying a fidget spinner, or at least have one try and see if it will actually help you, or if it truly is entertaining. Don't get a fidget spinner just because everyone else has one. Do your research, you might learn a lot more than you already know.

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    • Lilly Gato profile image
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      Lilliana Gato 5 months ago

      Deborah Nessmith,

      I see what you're saying, and I totally agree. The media has really ruined our view of fidget spinners.

      However, the reason for me writing this article was because of my younger brother who is currently about to enter 4th grade. A few months ago, our mom bought him a fidget spinner, and whenever he uses it, it's as if he's in a trance.

      When the spinner is spinning, that's where his attention is. It doesn't help him at all, and I'm glad that the schools banned them because if it weren't for the ban, his grades would be dropping due to the lack of focus.

      Our parents have tried to speak to him multiple times while he is using the spinner, and to be honest, it's like he doesn't hear them. The spinner hasn't helped him in the least bit, and I'm soo glad that their popularity is going down because summer is almost here, and I'd like my brother to focus on life, not a little copper gadget in between his fingers.

    • DeborahNessmith profile image

      Deborah Nessmith 5 months ago from Florida

      Great post. However, the fidget spinner isn't a toy, it's a tool to help children with ADHD, autism and other disorders. YouTube stars have turned them into a fad by showing children and adults alike how they can do tricks with them.

      As a mom with a son who has ADHD and Social communication disorder, I find it very frustrating that typically developing individuals are ruining this for them. Many schools won't even allow special needs kids to have them, and I know for sure in one instance where a child who would have greatly benefited from use was denied using it in class.

      Is this fair to those who need them? No, it's not. Personally, I don't let my son use them, simply because starting him with one and saying he can't use it in school won't help him much. So because others have taken it upon themselves to make these anything other than tools for these individuals, I am looking for less fad like alternatives. Hopefully, typically developing people don't ruin those for them as well.

      Like I said my child has ADHD and I just don't see the sense in ruining the ability of using tools that help them focus because social media has turned it into a fad.