Why Fidget Spinners are Needed

Kids (and their parents) are sold some utterly pointless trollop. Year on year there seems to be a different fad. I remember from when I was at school there were marbles and yoyos which had both made a come-back, Tamagochis, pogs and tazzos, not to mention football stickers, and now there are “Fidget Spinners”.

Spinners, from what I can determine after having one thrust into my hand by an 11 year old niece, who wanted it dismantling for no other reason than a shrug, are small chunks of plastic with three sets of ball bearings. Basically, another waste of resources, money and time.

Then I heard they’re properly called “Fidget Spinners” and there is some “science” behind their purpose, or rather, “excuse”. Kids sit in class and spin these things the action of which is said to help them maintain concentration.

Then I was round my 2 year old nephew’s house and as is typically the case, a children’s TV show was on. “Justin’s House” for which I’ve seen a couple of episodes now, one where many pizza’s are ordered, and this latest one, where some very strong plant food was about to be fed to the house plants… I didn’t get to see the outcome of that because my brother wandered in after putting the little man to bed and switched it off: I couldn’t bring myself to object with “Hey, I was watching that!”

But what I did witness was two sets of audiences. One, the ones that sit at home (like me) and the ones that are there in the audience. Each of these audiences have two sets of experiences for which I have experienced in my child hood past. When you watch such a program on TV you are THE audience; the characters talk to you and you feel like you are the centre of attention: their eyes meet the camera for all to see, but this act causes them to look at you; the show feels like it’s all about you. For those “fortunate” to be in the actual audience on set, the experience must be very strange. For all those children must have previous been an audience at home, prior to being a lucky one and getting to go to an actual show. They would have had the first experience of being the centre of attention, and feeling like Justin’s friend, but now, being in the audience with others, Justin’s gaze is elsewhere; directed at the cameras and occasionally at others in the audience.

I remember once having a similar experience as a child when I went to a live event and I saw a children’s TV presenter off in the distance: I called out to them and I was ignored! My reality was confused for a good while.

After watching this recent children’s TV program and the atmosphere is creates of loudness and silliness I think it’s hardly surprising kids struggle with such “disorders” as ADHD; fidget spinners, if they really do anything to counter those effects are just going to, if anything, slightly mask the symptoms of what is fundamentally wrong with how we treat and entertain (aka distract) our children.

As Wikipedia states “As of May 2017 there is no scientific evidence that they are effective as a treatment for autism or ADHD.” It doesn’t state how many pointless tonnes of metal and plastic will inevitably end up in landfill.


  1. I, too, struggle to see the point of fidget spinners and worry about the waste of resources. There are many ‘dislocating’ experiences such as the one you describe; recently I have been to several National Theatre plays beamed into cinemas across the country, and good though it is to be able to watch these at a fraction of the cost, I can’t help wondering about the experience, both of the audience (it is a weird experience to hear applause coming from an auditorium two hundred miles away) and for hte actors, who have to perform not only for hte live audience but for the cameras

    • That reminds me of my first experience of watching a movie at an American cinema… and being surrounded by an applauding audience at the end; the concept of applauding to a screen and not a live cast still baffles me.

  2. As a middle school teacher, these devices are not used by the ADHD kids to help them. They are used by “normal” kids as a toy which keeps them from on completing the assignments. They get stolen, creating class disruptions in trying to “find” it. What a waste of resources and time!

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