TL;DR – If you have too much time on your hands, literally.
Have you seen one of these on the hands of kids or even grownups and wonder what the heck is it?
Well friends, here’s presenting the latest toy in town – the Fidget Spinner.
It claims to help users stop fidgeting and better focus at their daily tasks and some even go as far as claiming that it is “designed to relieve Stress, Anxiety, ADD & ADHD and Autism.”
The invention was patented in 1997 by Catherine A. Hettinger in the U.S. The patent has since expired and many manufacturers have started creating spinners in a variety of different shapes and designs. I suppose this thus explains the sudden surge of this toy in the market.
For the uninitiated, a fidget spinner is a toy slightly smaller than your palm, with a bearing in the middle that allows it to spin. It’s typically made of metal or plastic and some come in different shapes and colours.
A quick search on some online shopping sites will show that this piece of “plastic” will cost you from as little as $2 to as much as a few hundred dollars depending on how extensive the design gets.
Intrigued by the idea, I actually got my hands (or rather fingers) on it. There really is no skill to it unlike the now out-of-trend kendama. Does it really help me to focus better or stop fidgeting? While i do not feel the immediate effect yet, I think that those who have sat through meetings with me for the past few days have been getting quite annoyed.
A quick interview conducted with some teachers I know about this toy also confirms that students are now seen with this. When asked about the effect, most teachers pointed out that it’s nothing more than a distraction. Kids were more focused on spinning this gadget than actually paying attention during lessons. Some teachers and schools have started to confiscate them if seen playing during lessons.
However, a minority of the interviewed teachers consider this is a better alternative as compared to students spinning their pens and constantly dropping them on the floor.
As some of the fidget spinners are actually pretty costly, it has also caused theft cases in schools.
Some parents I spoke to also said that they have gotten one for their child hoping that it works but they also pointed out that they do not see any help so far in overcoming their fidgetiness.
I guess it’s no surprise then that Catherine did not continue the patent.