Move over Hatchimal! There's a new toy in town that's got kids across Southwest Florida begging their parents to hunt one down. They're called Fidget Spinners.
The spinners are designed to be stress relievers, and they're all the rage right now with kids from elementary to high school. But many people, including teachers, claim they're causing distractions.
A fidget spinner is a small toy that can be spun between a user's thumb and middle finger. The spinners have quickly gained popularity and many sellers have sold out quickly. Some sellers on sites like Amazon claim the colorful toys "bring out the genius" by helping users to focus and reduce stress.
There are also claims to relieve ADHD anxiety but some teachers are calling the gadgets distractions in the classroom and posting their frustrations on social media.
Four In Your Corner spoke with a counselor at Elite DNA Therapy to find out if fidget spinners really do serve any benefits. "It just keeps kids involved," Clinton Greene with Elite DNA Therapy said. "It keeps them in their seat. It allows them to focus on something besides the anxieties that they're dealing with at the time."
Greene says he has suggested fidget spinners and similar gadgets to clients with anxiety and even ADHD. "The fidget cube or fidget spinner can help those with ADHD by just allowing them to kind of put out some of the sensors that they have and focus it more on something they can hold in their hand and look towards," Greene said.
Greene says parents who choose to purchase a fidget for their child to take to school should make sure the child understand the purpose behind it so it doesn't become a distraction.
"I could see a kid throwing across the room or passing it around to other students that's why it's important for parents to explain the purpose behind them," he said.
There are claims of the fidget spinners to help children with autism. Greene says he would need more empirical evidence that it helps clients with autism before becoming a proponent for it.
Fidgets have been selling quickly across southwest Florida. Superstores, drug stores, and gas stations carry the inexpensive toy. Gadget Guys Cell Phone and Tablet Repair just got a shipment this morning. One of the store owners tells Four In Your Corner they sold about 50 spinners in just a couple hours.
"People are buying three at a time," Brad McIntire said. "We are expecting a shipment of a thousand more for this weekend."
Fidgets are not banned from Lee County schools. A spokesperson with the district tells Four In Your Corner says the majority of elementary and middle schools are allowing them on campus and only intervene on a case by case basis if they become a problem or distraction but ultimately it's up to each school to decide.