Russia' consumer protection agency, Rospotrebnadzor, says it is looking into fidget spinners' possible negative effects on children's health amid allegations on Russian television programs that the device is used to mobilize youth against Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Fidget spinners are toys consisting of a bearing in the center of a multilobed flat structure designed to spin along its axis with little effort.
The toys, popular among schoolchildren, are often advertised as helping people who have trouble with focusing or fidgeting by relieving nervous energy or psychological stress. However, there is little or no evidence of their effectiveness.
In its July 18 statement, Rospotrebnadzor also recommended that parents be careful when buying the "aggressively promoted" fidget spinners and supervise children while they are playing with the toy.
The statement comes days after Russian state television voiced concern that the device was distributed at anticorruption rallies organized by Russian opposition politician Aleksei Navalny which were attended by a big number of teenagers in March and June.
A recent program even suggested that fidget spinners "make people impressionable for manipulation.”
"Probably it is no coincidence that they started selling the spinners at events by the opposition," the host of a Russian television program suggested on July 12.
The program cited a Russian psychologist alleging that that spinners can help the dexterity of very young children, adding that the spinner "dulls" a person’s mind and "takes you to a different world."