I heard about fidget spinners a few months ago when I was looking for something to help my son relax. We opted for creating a calm down bottle instead and moved on. Just recently everywhere I turn someone is either playing with one or talking about spinners. My son has asked a few times for a fidget toy like the kids at school, and I keep saying no.
What is a Fidget Spinners
A fidget spinner is a stress relieving toy designed with a central bearing and two or more ‘arms’ made with different types of material that spin around the center bearing. They come in a variety of colors and patterns to amuse the masses. Up until recently, they were primarily positioned as a tool to help children and adults with fidgeting. Originally finding a niche with children suffering from ADHD and Autism. In no way do I want to diminish the success parents and kids have found by using this tool. I do not judge; I am merely stating my opinion.
My View on Saying ‘No’
Last week my son asked again for a spinner with the same response, “no”. Only hours earlier at the library, this boy just sat there spinning and spinning. He didn’t read a book, play with any of the toys, or even play with the masses tub of LEGO®. Watching that boy and suffering from the distractive spinning had me wondering; could fidget spinners be doing more harm than good? After some research, I found that the views divided both personal and medical.
The Risks from Fidget Spinners:
- Choking Hazzard: The media is abuzz with images from x-rays showing pieces of a spinner inside the esophagus of children. My son puts everything in his mouth, and if there are versions with quality issues, I cannot risk potential suffocation.
- Distraction: I felt the distraction of watching and listening to someone with a fidget spinner I know to an observer they are distracting. Watching the boy play with the toy reminded me of the way children get when watching television; a circus could walk through, and they would not notice. So if the fidget spinner is supposed to help a child concentrate on school work, it could equally be distracting the user or the classmates. Some schools have banned the spinners outright while others are taking a more lack position. I checked with my kids, and one allows spinning if you remain quiet; the other class does not permit in the classroom.
- Habit-Forming: If my child does not already fidget or experience another tick that distracts them from learning why would I encourage them to start a repetitive task and create a habit-forming activity? One of the brands is called ‘Addictive’ if my kids should get addicted to something I would rather go with something healthier.
Like any fad, this may be short lived. I can only hope so. My final position? I will not buy one for my children. If my kids find a way to make one from LEGO® on their own, I will congratulate them on an excellent build and ask if they can try to incorporate it into a building of some kind.