You have all seen them. The little plastic things that you grab, give a spin, and that supposedly relieve you from stress. Hated by many and deemed as the new “cancer of crazes”, kids love them and I can see why. Let me explain.
They are so simplistically designed and effective at the single thing they are made to do, spin, that they just work, and, having tried one myself, from an engineer’s point of view, it is sort of addicting. Holding it while it spins and at quite a fast rate, depending on how hard you push, gives a sense of resistance when the whole thing is moved around, and this is - in a way - satisfying. This is due to a combination of forces keeping the spinner in its own axis, or simply due to its angular momentum holding it in the plane it was rotated in. When trying to flip the spinner from a horizontal position to a vertical one, the slight resistance it gives makes it even cooler. It is not a feeling I can explain in words but I completely understand the reason why it’s a craze. Admittingly, it gets boring after an hour of playing with one, but different people have different attention spans and likeliness to get addicted to the thing.
There are claims that the spinners are made for people with ADHD and other attention disorders, helping them focus and not deviate from what they are doing by keeping their hands busy. It is on the same scale as when people doodle or tap pens and pencils in a lecture, it helps one cope by fidgeting. According to Mark Rapport, a University of Central Florida clinical psychologist, it is the opposite with fidget spinners. He says that using these fidget spinners serves more of a distraction for kids with ADHD than a helping aid, and focus should be put on exercising full body movement such as running, as it engages the brain regions involved in focusing better. In general, studies say that fidgeting is not the best option to avoid lack of attention, but is more of a way to pass time and do something while sitting down and having a break.
In any case, should you try one of these devices and join the bandwagon, do so, and don’t be scared of getting ridiculed by many; in that case, let them try it. It’s fun for an hour or so but can get boring so don’t get your hopes up. A good thing about them is that there are loads of different designs and styles so you can get one that matches your taste and, if you don’t find one you like, you can make one for yourself with the help of tonnes of guides available on YouTube.