The Fidget Spinner Fixation - What Were They Made For?
The age in which we live, this non-stop distraction, is making it impossible for us, especially the newer generation to focus on subjects that need our attention. Everyone fidgets; whether it’s touching your hair, constantly tapping your foot or spinning pens. Toys like the fidget spinner enter the market with the premise that they will relieve stress and anxiety and become an outlet to channelize your energy. However, they do none of that but still manage to become the next big trend.
Here’s a walkthrough of the newest fad of the fidget spinner- why it was made and what it has now become.
Why they were made
These colorful and quirky little hand-held pieces are much like a helicopter or fan. Their spinning has been known to create a pleasing and calming effect. The predominant reason for their creation was for ADHD and autistic children along with those dealing with anxiety although their efficacy has been debated. This is the one reason we’re all aware of. Catherine Hettinger, the 'inventor of the fidget spinners' claims that the reason she created the ubiquitous new toy was to distract young boys from throwing rocks at police officers and passersby in Israel. She came across such a situation when she was visiting her sister in Israel and the connate inventor in her wanted to find a solution to this predicament.
However there are sources that contend that Catherine wasn't the inventor of the fidget spinner in the first place. Apparently Hettinger filed a patent application for a "spinning toy" in 1993 and a patent was issued although this "spinning toy" was later known to not be anything like the fidget spinner in the least. Hettinger allowed the patent to lapse in 2005 after she could not find a commercial partner. She agreed to an article by Bloomberg news in May 2017 that showed she wasn’t the inventor of the fidget spinner.
Although this new means of fidgeting should occupy the brain enough to exclude obsessive and unhealthy thoughts, the evidence of it doing so has been unjustified. Psychologists attest that it has not been a remedy for individuals who have ADHD.
In fact, the fidget spinner has become more of an impetus for magnified fidgeting. It’s like shouting out loud that you’re fidgeting. It is one thing to block the unrequired thought trains from your brain, but the fidget spinner has managed to block the train that focuses on what you need to do as well. Teacher claim that classes are now “spin classes”. Children have stopped focusing on the lectures and instead spend hours looking at a sturdy center-point disc toy with paddle-like wings that can orbit between your fingers. And now that they are sold in every color and finish imaginable, with endless options for add-ons and upgrades, their demand is on an all-time increase.
Additionally, they have raised safety concerns in younger children. News of a 10 year old girl swallowing a fidget spinner part and having surgery to remove it has made parents question if this gadget is as harmless as it looks. They contain no safety information or minimum age and some of them feature LED lights with lithium-ion batteries which could cause internal bleeding if ingested.
Apart from the safety issues, another ground for distress is the fact that this simple toy can cost as much as $900+ in the US. A quick search on Amazon India tells you that the cheapest spinner is only ₹38 while you also have the option to buy one that costs over ₹8,000.
Agreeably fidgeting can be much worse if it was in the form of biting your own nails (or someone else’s but we hope that’s not the case), tapping a table etc. But using a new fad should for the sake of being cool should not be done at the cost of your attention to that which is necessary. Is the fidget spinner helping you relieve stress or is it distracting you? We’ll let you decide that yourself.