They say fidget spinners help people concentrate. But as the toys proliferate among youths, throughout the subways of New York City and into the corridors of schools, some educators say they’re becoming a problem.
“I hate these things,” said an area high school teacher who asked not to be identified. “They are counterproductive, as they are supposed to improve concentration, but instead, [they] lead to students fighting over them, veering the students off-task and even distracting the teacher.”
Given all the distractions, the teacher said a ban would be appropriate.
“I'm standing up there speaking, and I see these things whirring around,” the teacher said. “I have gone so far as to ban them from my lessons. I understand that students aren't going to throw them away, but I want them stored during my class time. The only positive thing about them is that they keep the students off their phones.”
Just like other epic toy trends before them — from pogs and Pokemon cards to Tamagotchis — as fidget spinners grow in popularity, they’re also planting seeds of conflict.
Fancier and fancier versions of the toy are coming out, with kids more focused on their so-called concentration toys rather than on their classes, teachers across the country say. MS 442 in Carroll Gardens has banned the toys as have other schools in New York, Connecticut and Indiana.
They’re being confiscated from students in Florida by school administrators who said one model was a “potential weapon” because it had “three sharp points and was more like a Chinese star.”
LemonLimeAdventures, a blog run by a former teacher, recently wrote about why the toys should be banned from every classroom in America. She wrote that there is “no real evidence” the gadgets, intended to help kids who fidget or have ADHD, actually do anything.