What you need to know about fidget spinners

Can you guess what hula hoops, troll dolls, and Rubik’s cubes have in common with fidget spinners?

All of those are toy fads that enjoyed popularity in various generations. Up to 25 million hula hoops were sold in 1958 in the U.S. alone. Troll dolls were very famous in the 1990s. Fidget spinners are the craze among kids these days.

If you do not have a clear idea what a fidget spinner actually is, you are not alone. If you haven’t interacted with school-age kids lately, you probably may not be aware of its existence.

A fidget spinner is a small toy consisting of two or three ball- or paddle-shaped blades that are attached to a core. The blades flick and spin once you squeeze that core, using your thumb or fore/middle finger.

That simplicity in a toy comes with a relatively simple price as well. You can find and buy a fidget spinner in retailers and online shopping sites from about P150 to as much as P1,500.

Pros and cons
To kids (and teens) who are already hooked to it, the momentum produced by fidget spinners bring about an enjoyable sensory experience. To some, tossing and twirling the spinners could be a fun challenge, a task that can be recorded on video and uploaded on online video sharing sites.

In different parts of the world, the Philippines included, many schools are starting to ban fidget spinners from classrooms. In many cases, the toys are considered distractions, which supposedly deviate kids’ focus on their classes or lessons.

And fidget spinners can be more than just toys. A number of occupational therapists believe that as a sensory toy, a fidget spinner can help soothe children with sensory processing issues, or those with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). This is in line with findings of past studies that movements like fidgeting can help kids attain greater focus. However, significant research has yet to be conducted to look at the actual and possible benefits of fidget spinners on kids.

 

Safety issues
And just like all other toys, there could be potential hazards that can be associated with fidget spinners. First, some fidget spinners may contain unusually high levels of lead, an element that may pose health issues especially among kids.

Second, there are unverified reports in the U.S. that some of fidget spinners’ small parts may cause choking among kids. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is advising parents to carefully watch over their children who are playing with such toys as some parts may possibly pop out and cause choking or other possible accidents.

And lastly, there are several reported cases of fidget spinners catching fire. There is no need to worry though if you or your kids are not using the more expensive and complex Bluetooth fidget spinners (those types that come with built-in speakers to play music when connected to smartphones via Bluetooth). Those spinners come with rechargeable lithium ion batteries, which could possibly burst into flames when overcharged or when exposed to unlikely conditions.

So, do you think fidget spinners are cool?

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