Opinion

Published on June 1st, 2017 | by Contributor

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Anti Fidget Spinners

Madison Garrett ‘17

As someone who attends high school, it’s suddenly become nearly impossible to remain unaware of the latest random fad sweeping the nation: fidget spinners. The palm-sized gadget has kids nationwide mindlessly twirling as they’re meant to be paying attention in class. Though they’ve become a normal appearance around campus, the reasoning behind the current obsession isn’t as commonly known as the gadget itself.

According to manufacturers, it was originally not only meant to be fun, but to help aid people with ADHD, anxiety, autism and various other conditions. The product focuses on those who have trouble focusing or are constantly fidgeting. The validity of that purpose is questionable, due to the fact that it just seems like an odd plastic object kids spin on their hands (and occasionally their faces) as they slowly annoy the people around them to the point of extreme frustration.

The main goal of the fidget spinner isn’t specific, but there are multiple theories that all lack scientific proof, but are all of relatively the same concepts. For example, body movement is a major component of expressing thoughts coherently, so spinning the gadget must help with that. This belief coincides with the idea that doodling while thinking or performing cognitive activities would actually help the process. This notion unfortunately also allows for a commonly abused excuse for students to do anything other than pay attention, so it tends to be looked down upon by those trying to teach.

Teachers have made it clear that they don’t approve of the object simply because it tends to lead towards the user or those around them not paying attention. Samo teacher and soccer coach Jimmy Chapman had a lot to say about the subject.

“Simply put, I view them as a toy,” Chapman said. “While I’ve heard from students that it helps them focus, I know that they are definitely a distraction to teachers and those around the student using the spinner.”

He also touched upon the idea that they tend to keep students off of their phones in class, which would be a good thing, right? Well, if only that were true.

“They don’t diminish the use of smart phones. While walking down the hallway between periods, I literally saw a student texting with one hand and spinning with the other,” Chapman said.

Fidget spinners have been banned from schools across the country, specifically because multiple doctors have expressed skepticism about whether they actually aid restlessness.

“They’re not FDA-approved, so there’s no regulation in terms of how they’re being made,” pediatrician James DuRant said.”You don’t know where they’re being made or the conditions they’re being made in, so you really don’t know exactly what you’re getting when you’re getting these toys.”

“Students probably shouldn’t take them to school because they can impair learning and could distract other children,” clinical therapist Roshini Kumar said.

Instead, she suggests that they’re great for long car rides, or other scenarios where kids can’t burn off energy in other ways.

There have also been reported incidents of children coming into dangerous situations with their spinners, such as a ten-year-old girl from Texas who put a part of it into her mouth to clean it and accidentally swallowed it. She ended up having to undergo an endoscopic surgery to remove the quarter sized object. Her mother used social media to talk about spinners and warn parents about their possible lack of safety.

From this I wish to offer some word of caution to parents. Fidget spinners are the current craze so they are widely distributed. Kids of all ages may be getting them, but not all spinners come with age-appropriate warnings,” her mother said.

Hopefully, highschoolers won’t have to worry about fidget spinners being a possible choking hazard, but the craze has also brought along a thread of gruesome spinner related injury videos on the Internet.

So, what is a fidget spinner, and why is everyone suddenly twirling them around all the time? No one really knows, but maybe that’s the whole point.  If you’re in a school setting reading this while shamelessly spinning that thing around, please, for the benefit of yourself and those around you, put it down.

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