A psychologist cautions that buying your child a Furby could cause anxiety, if they are not at the age appropriate for the toy.
Amongst the toys bought for children this year has been Furby, a mechanical creature that acts in many ways like a real pet – demanding food and attention – with many of the different moods pets will have. Vísir reports that this toy may not be the best choice for children without parental guidance.
Psychologist Jóhanna Kristín Jónsdóttir told reporters that play is important for a child’s development when they get to initiate their own games and play on their own terms. “Playing with Furby, though,” she says, “Is unpredictable and only remotely according to the child’s own terms.”
She cautions further that, despite the toy being recommended for children as young as five, children that age or younger can find Furby confusing:
“When the animal changes moods, its eyes light up and he turns mean. Younger children could become anxious and not understand why the animal is acting this way. In the mind of a young child, Furby can be alive and the line between fantasy and reality becomes unclear.”
She recommends that parents explain to their children that Furby is a toy, and show the child how the toy works. For those confused as to how the virtual pet functions, you can read how to change its personality here.