When something becomes trendy in the offline world you can almost guarantee it’ll show up in some digital form. The theory rings true with the latest elementary school kid craze, the Fidget Spinner. While doing my daily scroll through the most popular apps on the Apple App store I noticed a couple of Fidget Spinner games. “Of course!” I said to myself, “it was only a matter of time before the app store tried to cash in on the popularity of the toy trend. Fidget Spinners have caused a lot of conversation among psychologists, sociologists, parents, and educators recently. Everyone seems to be talking about them. My goal was to avoid them on the blog because, “Hey, they aren’t on a smartphone or tablet.” Well, that’s no longer the case.
Fidget Toys have gained popularity recently as a way to help kids with ADD, ADHD, and anxiety focus during class and other times when they need a longer attention span. Blocks, dice, balls, and other items have served teachers and psychologists well as they help these children excel in their every day tasks. Spinners toys gave another option and even boast in their advertising that they can increase focus and productivity. The problem with that according to some teachers and psychologists is that a good fidget tool will allow you to keep your eyes focused somewhere else while playing with it. This will increase your attention on the speaker or teacher or video simply because your hands are busy. A Spinner’s main benefit is the spinning itself. This spinning must be viewed to be fully enjoyed. This is why many teachers are banning the toys from their classrooms. They are saying the Fidget Spinner is simply a distraction. In a recent CNN story a teacher said:
We have kids using them in class and the kids nearby are distracted by them. There are kids playing with them (during class) and showing other kids. – CNN
Many kids have a Fidget Spinner simply because its the latest craze. They don’t need it for focus, its just a toy for them and that’s completely fine. The benefit I’ve heard many parents mention from using the Fidget Spinner as a toy is that it keeps the off of their screens for a longer time. Well, app developers have an answer to that too. Currently, the fasting rising apps on the Apple AND Android app charts are Fidget Spinner games. I downloaded a couple of the iOS games and played for a bit. Here’s how it works.
What Parents Should Know
Obviously these apps aren’t dangerous on their own. There is advertising involved, however, and it will most likely not always be geared toward young users. You can also watch ad videos to get coins, the ads were mostly for other free, casual style games. You can pay to get rid of the ads if you’d like. If screen time is a problem then these games could cause some issues. The one I spent the most time on, Spinner, had me trying harder and harder to get more spins out of my spinner. I wanted those coins so I could see what the next spinner design looked like or upgrade my speed. Kids who find themselves hooked on games like this would definitely have the same problem with one of these fidget spinner apps.
My advice is, as always, to know your child. You have to know if your kid is the type to get hooked on something like this. If they use fidget toys because it helps their attention span then apps like Spinner may not be a good idea since its well known that screen time can cause kids to have more trouble focusing. Let me just finish by saying that these apps are not designed to help your kids with focus or attention. They are simply created to capitalize on the Fidget Spinner craze. In fact, playing the game could take the place of the real spinner altogether for some kids. That just means more screen time, more advertising, and more distraction. We, as parents, have to have the right information and make quality decisions about how our kids spend their time. Hopefully the info in this article can help you take the right steps.