Every once in awhile, there is a new viral sensation that captures the world’s attention. The most recent one is not some high-tech, virtual reality system, a time consuming phone application, or a flammable, personal transportation device. The newest gadget is a cheap, plastic toy that has taken over the world with its addicting characteristics– the fidget spinner. The spinner itself is quite simple: it has three “arms” (each around two inches long) that can be flicked and spun around with ease. Many companies have taken advantage of this trendy product with numerous brands selling them. In fact, Milken’s own student store, the Milken Mart, is currently selling the spinners for $8; however, with the prevalence of this craze, they can go for as little as 99 cents online.
Many of the people who manufacturer fidget spinners claim that they can help kids focus and can even be a stress and anxiety reliever. The actual science behind this has mostly had inconclusive results. In an article from Business Insider, a trained psychologist laughs at the idea that a children’s toy could replace treatment for mental health issues. In contrast, in a CNN article explaining the fidget spinner fad, Elaine Taylor-Klaus, the co-founder of a group that specializes in ADHD support resources for children and parents, claims that stimulative toys are a common and fairly successful treatment in helping people with ADHD. While it does not replace medication and certainly is not a permanent fix, a fidget spinner can, Taylor-Klaus claims, be a temporary and fun treatment option for children. Whether or not a fidget spinner is a medical breakthrough or just another cheap toy is irrelevant to its massive popularity throughout the world.
Here at Milken, fidget spinners have been seen throughout the hallways and in numerous classrooms. Students balance them on their nose, elbow, arm, knee, and basically spin them wherever they can. Some students are even using the 3D printers in the Guerin Family Institute for Advanced Sciences to print their own fidget spinners. A leader of this group of students is Jared Hasen-Klein ‘18, who says, “The classic fidget spinner design was created for 3D printing. The design was actually stolen and then mass produced, and now you can find them anywhere. I figured that if that is the origin of the spinner, I should be able to find other designs online, customize them, and print them for free in the Guerin.” Hasen-Klein and his team regularly have a steady stream of students coming into the Guerin to learn how to make their own fidget spinners. In addition, students are learning how to make their own types of fidget toys that aren’t even available to buy. Perhaps one of their new inventions may be the next big viral sensation.
What do you think about fidget spinners? Do they help you focus or are they just another pointless trend? Let us know in the comments!