In recent weeks, fidget spinners--small, handheld toys with extensions that rotate around a center point--have become the "it" gadget of choice with kids (and are especially helpful for children/adults with ADHD or autism). The gadgets, which you can buy for just a few bucks, are said to relieve stress and help focus. But teachers and staff in schools across the country say the spinners do nothing but distract the students, and schools now are banning them. A recent study now shows just how bad the problem really is with 32% of the

Key points from the study

After hearing that schools were having issues with spinners causing problems in the classroom, Alexi Roy of SpinnerList wanted to make sure the commotion was for real. He figured out which private and public high schools were the largest by enrollment in 2016. He then contacted those schools--100 private and 100 public--by email, following up by phone, to see if the spinners were banned. Roy discovered that

  • 63 out of the 200 high schools contacted (32%) had spinner bans
  • More private schools had spinner bans than public (36% versus 2%, respectively)

Notably, Roy received a response from 177 schools (89%), not all 200. Some of the schools that didn't reply might also have spinner bans, so the 32% figure is an at least point.

What's next?

In a way, the ban is every entrepreneur's dream--who wouldn't want their product to be so desirable people can't keep their hands off of it? It also cracks the market wide open for more 'silent', less distracting fidget gadgets. And to an extent, the ban might make the spinners more attractive, as not adhering to the rules could serve as added rebellion. However, it also could be the beginning of the end for the fad. The more they're banned, the more kids might rush to find something else to mess around with that won't get confiscated. And parents, who hear of the bans, might be less willing to buy, too. So right now, the spinners are on a seesaw. We'll have to wait and see which way the lever tips.