Kids today live in pretty amazing times.
They live in a day and age in which the world is, quite literally, at their fingertips. They have all manner of electronic devices — phones, computers and tablets — that hook them up to the Internet and keeps them in tune with the world around them. They can Skype and Tweet and Facebook and all sorts of other things that makes our string-and-tin-cans technology look pretty feeble by comparison.
And don’t even get me started on the toys kids have today. They have video games in their homes that far exceed what I had to ride my bike over to the local arcade with a pocketful of quarters to play on summer afternoons. They have dolls and action figures that walk, dance around, speak 14 different languages and can do their parents’ income taxes for them.
There’s also organized leagues and teams for nearly every sport they could ever possibly want to play. There’s rec teams and select teams and enough training and expertise out there to make them Olympic champions.
There’s never been a better time, it would seem to be a kid. They have all they could possibly ever want.
Seems all they want, however, is fidget spinners and slime.
Seriously, in a world in which the possibilities for kids has never before seemed more endless, the thing kids seemingly can’t get enough of these days are something that spins around in a circle and something else that … well, just kind of sits there.
I’m sure you’ve already heard of fidget spinners. They are the small, hand-held devices that were ostensibly invented to help kids who have issues paying attention and maintaining focus. Their initial intent seems humorous now, however, as they quickly became the ultimate distraction for kids — and the bane of teachers across the nation — who would spend their time in school watching them spin around instead of paying attention in class.
It got so bad that some schools had to ban fidget spinners. Of course, it’s summer now, which means kids can fidget-spin until their little hearts are content … and the kids I know seem to have every intention of doing just that this summer. Of course, the fidget spinner industrial complex realizes it has tapped into this market and now is producing all manners of fidget spinners. It’s not enough to merely have a fidget spinner anymore — now you have to keep up with the Joneses and get customized fidget spinners. Some of them are becoming collectors items.
All for a piece of plastic and metal that spins in a circle.
Of course, that’s still a lot more than slime does. If you don’t have children, you may not be aware of the slime phenomenon that is sweeping the nation. As near as I can tell, kids mix together water, glue and borax and it turns into a gloopy, slimy concoction that … well, just sort of sits there and does nothing.
The fact it does nothing doesn’t seem to make it any less appealing to kids, however. My own daughter has gone into heavy slime production this summer — she’s pretty much become the Walter White of slime. She has progressed toward making slimes of every color and scent. My child has never wanted for anything in her life — we’ve done our best to give her everything we could possibly afford — and all this time we could have spent about $3 on slime-making materials.
Because I am old and out of touch, I don’t understand any of this. Of course, I suppose this isn’t the first generation that has made something seemingly mundane incredibly popular. I mean, we’ve lived through the Slinky, the pet rock and the Frisbee. We’ve seen people in stores beat up one another over Cabbage Patch Kids and Beanie Babies.
I suppose this is no different than any of that.
I guess this is just the first time it’s been my kids who have been involved in any of these crazes. I suppose they are fairly harmless — there are much worse things my kids could be doing.
Like messing around with my old “Star Wars” figures, for starters.
Reach David Fong at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him on Twitter @thefong