A while ago my daughter-in-law published a Facebook post to ask where she could buy a fidget spinner. I laughed out loud and replied ‘the fidget spinner shop’, because I had never heard of a fidget spinner, and I thought she was joking.
But no, it seems that fidget spinners are the new children’s craze. Kids love them, but parents and teachers are not so enamoured. These contraptions are supposed to help children deal with stress who suffer with conditions such as autism, but now they are a playground must-have.
Safety fears have been raised about some of the spinners on sale on eBay. Tests found that spinners in the shape of a ‘shuriken’, an offensive weapon in the UK, can damage eyes and puncture skin. EBay has confirmed they will be removed from the site. BBC Watchdog also bought 5 fidget spinners from local shops, which did not pass essential safety tests. A parent found one spinner with a large shard of metal protruding from it.
I’ve never seen one of these spinners in action so do not know what the attraction is, but every year it seems a new playground craze appears. When I was at school the craze was two wooden balls on the ends of a piece of string. We held the middle of the string in one hand and banged the balls against each other above and below our hand as fast as possible, often bruising our hands and wrists in the process (can anybody remember what they were called?). Parents rushed to buy them to stop their children whining, and teachers banned them from the playground. It was ever thus.
Who starts these crazes? Is it the manufacturers of the toy, the kids themselves, or TV adverts? I rather favour the manufacturers, who are only too pleased when their toy goes viral!