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The Complete Guide to FIDGET SPINNERS
Do you guys remember Silly Bandz? In like, 2008 or 2009, they were the IT accessory. Kids across the nation and perhaps the world, adorned their arms with these cheap-ass pieces of rubber that, when not stretched out, were shaped like animals and other items. They came in packs of certain types of animals like safari, jungle, etc. Of course, their fame dissipated as quickly as it began. But animal bracelets– this cheap, simple idea– had made an insane impact on the world for that short time. Now, there’s a new cheap and simple idea sweeping the nation. If you have kids, work in a school, or have been in the mere presence of a child in the past few months, you probably know what it is: fidget spinners.
I recently read an article by the Chicago Tribune that tried to cause an incredible stir over the things with absolutely no facts backing it up. I couldn’t believe it had come from what I thought was a reputable news source. So, I decided to take on the topic myself, from a less sensationalist viewpoint.
Where the heck did fidget spinners come from? How did they get so popular? What is all the controversy surrounding them? Are they bad, good, or *dramatic music* absolutely fucking neutral?
Where the heck do fidget spinners come from?
Fidget spinners were invented to help people who have trouble focusing. They’re supposedly great for children with ADHD because they’re a channel for their energy. That channel should help them give their full attention to the important things, like classwork. It doesn’t end there though! They’re also supposed to help children with autism, because children with autism are often overwhelmed by their surroundings, and the spinners help them focus on one thing- spinning. They also help people with anxiety because they provide people with a task for their hands. How many times have you been alone in a crowded room, wishing you just had something to do with your hands??
How did they get so popular?
There are obviously many reasons why the spinners have become so popular. If you account for the prevalence of all three of those afflictions, you’re talking about a good chunk of the population! People also seem to like that they are a distraction from smartphones. Kids are sometimes reaching for the simple, barely mechanical spinners instead of their unbelievably complex smartphones.
What is all the controversy surrounding them?
–Fidget spinners have not been able to steer clear of controversy. Many of the concerns are legitimate, but don’t worry! Many of them are nothing to worry about. I’m here today to work through the issues with you, so you can decide for yourself if fidget spinners are right for you or your child. Of course, this piece is littered with my own opinion, but I’d also like to hear yours! Leave your thoughts in my comment box below.
The first controversy that comes up is whether or not fidget spinners actually do the job they were meant to do. Some sources say that they don’t actually provide a statistically significant amount of help to those with autism, anxiety, or ADHD. On this subject, I must say my personal belief is that they’re worth a shot. If it works, you found yourself a cheap, easy way to stay calm in stressful situations. Of course, this will never be able to replace therapy or medication. If it doesn’t work for you at all, you’ve only wasted about $5. Unless you’re insane, in which case the monetary loss can truthfully be up to $100.
The second issue I want to mention comes up with people who firmly believe the spinners ARE helpful. They worry that the resources are being used up by the general population, who are just using them for fun. I absolutely understand this, or at least I would have, two or three months ago. Now that fidget spinners are at the peak of their popularity, no store would be caught dead being sold out. To prove this point, you can check out my affiliate link for Amazon.com to see for yourself! There are tons available. And just so you know– I would never endorse a product I had not tried for myself. To get in the spirit, I’m actually playing with my sister’s fidget spinner as we speak.
The next reason people worry about fidget spinners is because they cause disruptions in the classroom. As some of you may know, I’m a substitute teacher, so I’ve seen a bit of this firsthand. I won’t pretend I know as well as a teacher who is in the same school with the same kids every day, but I’ve seen enough to form an opinion! My belief is that the worst disruptions seem to have taken place now that the new rules are in place– the bannings, the automatic detentions, the confiscations. Come on, what happens when you tell a child they can’t have something?
They want it MORE.
Plus, the disciplining takes more time out of the school day.
One day, I was doing a lesson on bar graphs with second graders, trying to help them with a problem that stumped them all. When a kid raised her hand, I asked her to hold her thought, because I wanted to get the explanation out. Instead of putting her hand down, she got up out of her seat to tell me that so-and-so had his fidget spinner out.
The kid spinning was staring right at me during the lesson, and I couldn’t hear him. He was just mindlessly spinning with his hands in his desk. To me, that’s no big deal, and no one else seemed bothered by it as far as I could tell. But, I had to stop the whole lesson to tell him to put it away, and to tell the girl that she hadn’t been a helpful friend just now.
This is not to say that school should be a free-for-all, complete with an ever-present whir of two hundred spinners. But, if a kid was fidgeting with his own hands in class, or a pencil, or even a water bottle, no one would say a word if he was also paying attention and being quiet. Why is it different if it’s a fidget spinner?
So you’re suggesting we do NOTHING about these nefarious pieces of spinny plastic???
Literally YES. Bros, chillax. When’s the last time you saw a kid wearing Silly Bands? Playing with a Rubik’s Cube? Taking care of a Tamagotchi Pet? Cuddling a Webkinz? These things pass. And the more we make a political statement out of them like that god-awful Chicago Tribune post did, and the more we criminalize the kids who like playing with them, the more we’re actually just playing into the hype. Not to mention making the kids feel bad for what they like. My suggestion is that we let the kids play with their toys (when acceptable!) and find some other news to write about.
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