Fidget spinner finally came! It works great! 5/5! 💯 pic.twitter.com/WECSuCpTdL— Eric Dedicke (@eric_dedicke) April 25, 2017
Every now and then, a new fad takes over the country — and the globe. With “fidget spinners” making a huge comeback 20 years after their invention, the country is now divided between those who can't get enough of these devices and those who are tired of them.
Designed by Catherine Hettinger in the early 90's, the first fidget spinner debuted in 1993. It was envisioned as a device that would distract children in a soothing way. Earlier this year, after her patent expired, several companies started producing them in mass.
“It started as a way of promoting peace,” Hettinger said. “[T]hen I went on to find something that was very calming.”
But what appeared calming to her is causing some trouble to others. Now, some parents and schools are finding the trend terrifying, and kids are even being punished for their obsession with the palm-sized gadget.
I was trying to find out what Fidget Spinners are and this kid sums it up. pic.twitter.com/2rkgI9sScb— Killysunt (@killysunt) May 3, 2017
Those in favor of the small devices contend that they serve as a way to help kids concentrate by relieving their need to fidget. Children struggling with anxiety or ADHD find it soothing, as Hettinger put it, and their parents say the device is helpful. Still, others doubt the toy's efficacy.
As a series of schools started banning the spinning device because of how highly distracting they are be, it could be argued that manufacturers might be selling the device as “soothing” just so they may capitalize on the inventor's original intent.
Still, the craze is real and it's everywhere. Even adults are becoming obsessed, as you can see on social media.
When the local shop has a new delivery of fidget spinners ... ???? pic.twitter.com/FZt69XX8zd— Hazel Gaynor (@HazelGaynor) May 3, 2017
Had to kick a small child and rip them out of a mothers hand but I GOT MYSELF SOME FIDGET SPINNERS!!! pic.twitter.com/f1C3gte1Ur— Gregory Brown (@Whalewatchmeplz) May 2, 2017
My nieces and nephews are obsessed. Whatever happened to spinning a pencil? 'Fidget spinners' are all the rage https://t.co/8IvR2YwOEm— Nicole Norfleet (@nicolenorfleet) May 2, 2017
But in some schools where students are too focused on the spinners, teachers aren't holding back on their criticism.
“Fidget spinners are being misused by children who don’t know what they’re intended for," a New York City private school teacher told the New York Daily News. "They’re using them as a game to see who can balance them longer or spin them faster.”
Until there's a consensus on what these devices should be used for, it's hard to predict whether this fad will fade soon or continue on for a long, long time.
The best we can hope for is that the obsession doesn't put an end to children's enthusiasm for learning. Perhaps, more teachers will find a good use for the devices so they are used to help kids learn instead of simply distracting them.
Thumbnail and banner image credit: Flickr User Ryan Dickey