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Typical Fad or Stress-Buster?

We can always count on the latest toy trend or “fad” to make an appearance at least once a year, blowing up social media and dominating the store shelves. There have been many good fads that have come and gone: Yo-yos, the Rubik’s Cube, Pet Rock, Pogs, Gak, and Beanie Babies to name a few. Becoming a well-known toy fad has its perks; every child wants one and many get them. The children plea, adults supply, and the sales soar. For some, the latest craze of Fidget Spinners and Fidget Cubes fall into this category.

Joel Best, of CNN News, categorizes these gadgets as “this year’s leading toy fad.”

It is not surprising that children have been able to get their hands on these items so easily. With Fidget Spinners and Cubes available for as little as $3 and $4, parents do not have to worry about breaking the bank. Children can happily spend a small portion of their birthday money to score this popular item and still have change to burn.

But what about the claims that Fidget Spinners and Fidget Cubes are not just a toy; they are an anxiety and stress-reducing tool, and helpful for those with ADHD?

U.S. News reports, “Nearly 11 percent of children ages 4 to 17 have received an ADHD diagnosis.” With ADHD prominent in the U.S. and stress an ever-present problem, the potential for Fidget Spinners and Fidget Cubes to be the answer can seem very inviting.

Director Julie Schweitzer of the UC Davis MIND Institute’s “Attention, Impulsivity and Regulation” program,” offers that there is a lack of evidence showing the health benefits of this latest go-go-gadget. For starters, Fidget Spinners were not developed by a medical professional or anyone in the mental health field. According to Ryan Bort of Newsweek Magazine, the Fidget Spinners were actually developed by chemical engineer Catherine Hettinger in the 90’s but did not hit their stride until now.

Clinical Psychologist Scott Kollins from Duke University also cited that there are other toys and games that make similar claims, but that there is “basically no scientific evidence that those things work across the board.” He also cautions, in an interview with Newsweek Magazine, that treatment for anxiety and ADHD is not as simple as buying a toy. Treatment options for struggles related to anxiety and ADHD are a therapeutic process, not a quick fix.

In addition, schools are also beginning to ban these “helpful” toys. With a pervasive population of Fidget Spinners and Cubes in the classroom, students are finding themselves more distracted than focused. There is also concern that those with gadgets are a distraction to the students around them. This is quite the irony, given that these tools boast of their laser-focused attention capabilities.

So, what can we take away from the Fidget Spinner/Fidget Cube trend that’s sweeping the nation? It certainly pays to do a little digging. It may not pay out what the toy market is making from this fad, but peace of mind and full confidence in a product is worth a lot more. Eventually, this fad will fade and with it, all the claims that it can solve the world’s stress, anxiety,  and ADHD. Fidget Cubes and Spinners will slowly find their way into the bottom of toy boxes, dresser drawers, and under the bed with the dust bunnies. Like the Yo-yos, Rubik’s Cubes, Pet Rocks, Pogs, Gak, and Beanie Babies before them, Fidget Spinners and Fidget Cubes will eventually hang up their hats and join the fad Hall-of-Famers. Don’t worry, it will not be long before a new toy steps in to fill their shoes and we will have the opportunity to worry, wonder, and research all over again.

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