BENGALURU: Spinning, we have been told, makes you feel like you are losing control. But a new toy in that market, which spins with one flick of the finger, is making people feel just the opposite. They say this toy -- the fidget spinner -- helps them feel more in control and even helps them cope with conditions such as ADHD and severe anxiety.
Used by children and adults alike, these spinners have taken the Internet by storm and there are YouTube tutorials demonstrating ways to start using three-pronged toy or master the spinning with tricks. There are contests and professional fidgeters! These toys, made of plastic, steel, brass and copper, are marketed as a stress-relieving toy to help people dealing with ADHD, anxiety and autism.
Helps get rid of bad habits
For Pierre Andre, a 32-year-old from Mumbai residing in Bengaluru, the toy has not exactly helped relieve stress but it has stopped him from biting his nails. Andre had been worrying his nails from his childhood but the toy gifted by his cousin six months ago helped him get rid of the habit. “One week, while I was traveling, I left my fidget spinner at home and it was that one week that I bit my nails again in months,” says Pierre, adding that is not addictive just “effective”.
Even Aseem Anand, who just completed his 12th board exams, says fidget spinners helped him get rid of his nail-biting habit. “I use it to keep my hands engaged,” says Aseem, who used to use a spongy stress ball while preparing for his exams.
Vaping, spinning are connected
Pierre is currently in Malaysia designing fidget spinners. He runs an online vaping company and says the new combo of vaping and fidget spinning is catching up in the market.“Majority of those who vape are trying to quit smoking. This can leave them fidgety and that’s where the spinners help,” says Pierre.
Bharath Srinivasan, an engineer by profession, says that the toy helps relieve stress. He watched many tutorials on fidget-spinning and how it was highly recommended before buying a 3D-printed spinner for Rs 799. There are those that are priced at Rs 5,000 and above as well and Srinivasan says he is willing to spend that if the spinners prove beneficial.
For Bharath, fidget spinning was a substitute for fiddling with pens. “I take it to meetings and I fidget spin at work or while taking a break,” says Bharath. “I feel better and don’t feel alone.”
Though the toy is marketed for children, Bharath uses it more than his son. “He is 5 years old so a bit small to fidget spin. He will use it when he grows older,” says
People have compared the toy to Beyblade and Yoyos but fidget spinners disagree. They say this one is more instantaneous, effective and lasting.
More a distraction
The toy is banned in schools across UK and the US. The reason being that instead of helping develop concentration it causes distraction to others. A student anonymously wrote to her principal and said the fidget spinners have made her do less work because the sound of it spinning was distracting. Many teachers and professors agree.
Bengaluru-based professor, Sanjay Padode, from Institute of Finance and International Management, says that the problem is the limited attention span of the current generation. “They are quick learners and are not up for boring lectures. They end up fidgeting when they have to sit through them,” he says.
Sanjay has seen students play with fidget spinners in and around the campus. “Using devices is the new normal,” he says. “From mobile phones to fidget spinners, those born after the 90s are the most fidgety generation, and now, they have another toy to fidget with.”