Fidget Spinners: A Focus Helper or a Distracter?

A student holds their black and red spinner. There has been controversy over if the toy really helps people to focus or if it is a disturbance. (Photo Courtesy of Jonathan Spear)

What spins, spins, and spins again? It’s the fidget spinner. This new “toy” is quickly spreading across teens and adults – and it may be here to stay.

The spinners are made up of three spinnable blades attached to a ball bearing in the center of its small frame. There are many different ways to use the spinners, but the most common method is to hold the bearing with the thumb and middle finger while the index finger continually spins the three blades.

The spinners are marketed to relieve stress and help those with ADHD relax and focus. The spinners supposedly serve as a release mechanism for nervous energy and stress. However, there is no scientific evidence to back these claims made by advertisers. So, do the spinners really help with focus, or is it simply a distraction?

“I think that fidget spinners are just a distraction – especially for students. It takes away their focus in class and most of the time they are focusing on the fidget spinner instead of paying attention,” said Tommy Inacio, junior.

Many agree that the spinners are falsely advertised or that the spinners are scarcely used for their intended purposes. Some schools and districts around the country have even banned students from having fidget spinners, labelling the toys as “overwhelming” and “disruptions”. However, some think that the spinners minimize other distractions and allow for users to redirect their focus.

“I feel like fidget spinners actually do help students focus in class because then they have something to do on the side instead of being distracted by other things,” said Gabe Bailey, sophomore.

Whatever the case may be, it’s fair to say that the disagreement about the use of fidget spinners will likely continue to be contentious. Ultimately, only time will tell as to whether or not these spinners are a fad or the real deal.


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