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A Teenager Explains Fidget Spinners

Adults don't get them. Schools are banning them. So what's the hook of fidget spinners? An 18-year-old explains.

They’ve been called a short-lived fad. Adults don’t get them. Schools are banning them. And experts say their purported health benefits for autism, anxiety and ADHD (attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder) are a bunch of poppycock.

Yes, fidget spinners have their share of detractors. Meanwhile, tens of millions of the popular toy have been sold, and fidget spinners occupy 18 of the 20 spots on Amazon’s Toys & Games best-seller page. Industry suppliers too have gotten the message, with dozens of companies bringing their own branded versions to the promotional product industry. [And having fun with them too – just check out this video from Prime Line (asi/79530)].

So what’s to the fidget spinner craze? Why do kids love them? To find out, we asked one: Isaac Rudofker, an 18-year-old from Voorhees, NJ, who will be attending Syracuse University in the fall.

Q: How many fidgets do you own and when did you buy them?

Isaac Rudofker: I have two fidgets. One is a standard rounded model; the other one has little extensions coming from each blade. I usually use one of them every day. I bought my first one a month and a half ago.  

Q: How did you first learn about fidgets?

IR: It was at a youth group event last year. One of the kids was playing with a fidget, and at the time no one knew about them and didn’t really think anything of it. And then suddenly they kind of blew up. 

Q: Where did you start seeing them more?

IR:  I saw other kids in school with them, and all over Twitter there would be something about fidget spinners.

Q: So what interested you about it then?

IR: I liked it immediately because I have what I would like to call intense ADD and get distracted easily. It was something that distracted me, so I liked it.

Q: When you use it, what does it do for you?

IR: Because of my ADD, I have a hard time focusing and take daily medication for it. I found that the fidget adds to the medication’s purpose. I can spin the fidget as a substitute to fidgeting myself. I’m sure that was the intended purpose of the product. I also use the fidget to avoid my bad habits. I most frequently use it to avoid picking at my fingernails, which I commonly do.

Q: When you first learned about fidgets, did other people talk about them in relation to ADD?

IR: No one was talking about the fact that this was something that people with ADD can use. It was just a toy.

Q: Does it matter if other people who don’t have ADD use them?

IR: Hey, to each their own. It doesn’t matter what kind of person you are; anyone can use a fidget spinner. If it helps you, that’s awesome; it if doesn’t help you, I’m sorry to hear that. It really doesn’t matter at all who uses them.

Q: Where do you use it and how often do you use it?

IR: I used to take mine to school, but not anymore. At home it’s in my room and I’ll take it out when I’m bored. Maybe I’ll be doing my homework and it’ll keep me active with my other hand, or it just keeps me wanting to move around a lot.

Q: Why don’t you bring it to school anymore?

IR: One day I forgot it at home, and then it was just like I don’t need it there.

Q: It seems to be me that school would be a place where people would really need it.

IR: It helps to a point where it’s like “This is nice but, it’s not really helping that much [anymore].” It’s not like it’s not helping me focus – I just don’t need to use it as often.

Q: When you used it in school, did teachers care?

IR: No teacher ever commented on it.

Q: Do you think it’s a distraction to other people in class?

IR: Not anymore. Sometimes I would use the fidget under my desk and no one would notice. Other times people would be like “Oh you have one of those,” they would recognize it from social media. That would be the distracting part. But now, because it’s more normal for people to have them, it’s no big thing.

Q: If people ask why are you using it, what do you say?

IR: I ask them if they want to try it. They’ll say it looks dumb and they don’t understand why everyone loves them. And I say “Well have you tried one?” and then I give it to them. Most times I found that they say “Alright, I don’t know why I like this so much.” I don’t know why people hate on it.

Q: A lot of people, especially online, say it’s a fad and that it’s going to go away. What do you think about that?

IR: It’s already starting to die down. Two months ago, everyone was talking about it everywhere. But today, the talk about fidget spinners is starting to diminish. It’s just a normal thing now.