Fidget Spinners – stress relief, fad, menace or health magic bullet?

Posted on May 27 2017 - 9:24pm by Richard Sharp

The meteoric rise of fidget spinners in 2017 has surprised many, including me. These palm sized contraptions, fitted with bearings to make them spin, are hugely popular in the playground and are becoming more commonplace in the work environment. But are they all they’re cracked up to be?

Rise and rise of fidget spinners in 2017

You’d be forgiven for thinking fidget spinners are a fad; remember the return of yoyo’s, silly putty and stress balls? All of these things come and go; yet some quick research shows these little handheld gadgets have grown in popularity.

Charting the rise in popularity of fidget spinners worldwide in 2017

A quick search of Google Trends shows how 2017 has been a huge year for fidget spinners in the UK and USA. There is a slight drop-off at the end of the graph, but perhaps that’s because the sun has been out in the UK for once!

They are always in the public eye too. You can’t go a day without some major news outlet covering fidget spinners. Just this week the BBC reported a recent crackdown in Ireland that resulted in 200,000 being confiscated and destroyed by customs over safety fears. It’s not all bad news though, with many stories raving about the benefits and upsides of owning one.

Health Benefits

Fidgeting isn’t new, nor is it going away. People tap their feet, bang pencils on the table, click pens or exhibited other behaviour when feeling anxious, bored or stressed. Many recent articles have suggested fidget spinners can help reduce stress, increase focus and even aid ADHD sufferers. The fact of the matter though is that there isn’t any hard and conclusive studies to support this – yet.

Users themselves will support all the above benefits though. Many fidget spinner converts will rave about them; in fact pop to Amazon and read the reviews to see just that. Yeah you’ll find loads of people saying some are rubbish, but delve into those talking about the benefits and things start to sound interesting. Here’s a couple as an example;

 

Fidget spinner review from Amazon.co.uk

Bad Press – Are Fidget Spinners a menace?

For every positive news piece there seems to be a negative one to match it. Schools have started banning spinning finger toys; mainly because they feel fidget spinners are too distracting as they often need some level of hand-eye coordination to use and master. That presumably means little Johnny won’t be paying attention in class in this scenario. So some schools would have you believe they are a menace.

Parents are also feeling the strain because kids don’t just want one spinner, they want multiple spinners. There’s countless tricks and the best ones involve multiple spinners. Costs can soon mount up; but that’s nothing new.

These finger toys can be bought cheaply, but break easily and that was an issue for Irish authorities just this week (as mentioned above). So this can be an annoyance or dangerous should the bearings come loose or smash into billion bits when dropped (which presumably happens a lot). Does this equate to them being a menace though; i’m not convinced.

Pro-users and YouTube – anyone can learn

A quick YouTube search for ‘fidget spinner tricks’ brings almost 3.4 million results with the top ones showing you how to perform tricks. Some of these verge on the insane, but many are achievable by your average Joe – and there lies the charm of these little finger toys. It seems anyone can pick one up and quickly learn a trick or two – I have to admit the videos have really made me want one – so watch this space for upcoming reviews (and most likely epic fidget spinner fails).

Your Thoughts

I am yet to try a fidget spinner out for myself (so have tried to present a balanced view), but am on the lookout for a good choice to test out. It would be great to hear from the lovers and haters of fidget spinners. Post your comments and thoughts below.

About the Author

Richard Sharp is the founder of gadgetsandgizmos.org. He loves technology, gadgets (comes with the territory) and social media. You'll find him writing features, attending events and playing with cool tech. Life's good.

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