Unless you have been living under a rock for the last few months, you must have come across a fidget spinner. Be it on the train to work, your office/classrooms and especially your newsfeed- they are everywhere.
Fidget spinners are the next big thing (though quite small-ish in size) in the toys departments across the globe, and they have caught the attention of adults and kids alike.
They are usually made of either plastic or metal, can spin for a really long time with just one flick, and are just too pretty to look at in motion. However, these merits don’t seem to be enough for the manufacturers of these toys. Many of them are marketing these shiny trinkets as being medicinally beneficial to those who suffer from a variety of developmental disorders such as the autism spectrum disorder, ADHD and general anxiety.
The troubling news is that this marketing gimmick is misleading and these companies have no scientific or medically tested backing for their tall claims.
Though there have been stories of people who suffer from these problems and are finding the spinners helpful, but there has not yet been a scientific enquiry that verifies these stories. It is a good thing if the toy is helping people cope with their condition, but misleading claims such as these do more harm than good.
Firstly, they give false hopes to the parents and dear ones of people that have either autism or ADHD. Secondly such claims undermine the acute need of proper treatment and medication which is demanded.
The claim that fidget spinners increase concentration by stopping fidgeting too stands on shaky grounds. Leg shaking, nail biting are all hyper activities which people tend to do when their mind works too fast. However, tapping your feet, does not take added attention whereas playing with a fidget spinner is an activity in its own right.
Instead of body movement, you are applying force to make a toy move. The movements which you do under ‘fidgeting’ can be easily performed while doing something such as reading, writing or practically anything else. Moreover, in some cases the child needs these physical activities to keep their cognitive functions running and their senses aroused to understand and process new information. In such a scenario, the spinner is more of a distraction rather an aid.
The secondary movement required is highly distractive sometimes and hence many schools are banning these from the premises.
As mentioned before, the companies which are marketing their products as being helpful in relieving stress and anxiety cannot provide any scientific data to back their claim. The only source for their information is word of mouth and random, scattered experiences.
No medical professional or Doctor has yet come forward to support any such claim. Companies often cross the moral grey area while promoting their products; however that does not mean we can believe anything they say. Therefore it is advisable not to build your hopes on the healing properties of these little spinners and enjoy them for what they are- shiny, rotating little toys.