Jane Bradley's Report: Furby toys ‘turn nasty, seedy and inappropriate’

Originally found at this link.


⚠️Furby toys ‘turn nasty, seedy and inappropriate’

IT was one of the most coveted gifts of the festive period and turned up under thousands of Christmas trees last year.


Saturday, 8th February 2014, 11:39 am

🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: So the furbies being talked about here were the furby boom from 2013, and maybe the "Mind Of Its Own" from 2012 as well.

👩‍💻Jane Bradley: Hasbro say the toy is designed to display more than one personality.

🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: I was never keen on this idea either, I would've preferred they made different models with one personality each, but that would've meant more production and the cost that went with it; and the risk that one or more of the models might fail in the market.

👩‍💻Jane Bradley: But now parents have hit out at popular must-have toy the Furby Boom after it emerged that some of the creatures have developed “inappropriate” second personalities which have upset their children.

🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: That's actually true, I watched a Youtube video where a furby boom underwent a change and counfounded its owner. Understandable when you see certain "personalities" in action. The "Jolly" personality sounds inebriated and sad in my opinion, with a voice of a washed up older man, rather than a munchkinish voice a furby should have.

👩‍💻Jane Bradley: The Furby, an electronic robotic toy which requires children to talk to and stroke it, as well as feed and put it to sleep, was a major hit when makers Hasbro relaunched the 1990s classic last year. The cute creation made it into the toy hit lists for Christmas 2013.

🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: So this is about both the 2012 and 2013 furby models, but the 2012s are not "furby boom".

👩‍💻Jane Bradley: But parents have told how the initially sweet, usually childlike creatures, which chat to their young owners, can suddenly morph into a “slightly seedy” male voice which shouts insults and “inappropriate” phrases.

🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: I'll give you the seedy male voice, but inappropriate phrases? Like what? "No pet!" when being stroked? "Oh baby please!" when Boom Rock Star doesn't want to be touched? A kid can receive just as much of a negative reaction from a live pet that doesn't want to be bothered, only a real pet can scratch, bite, and run away.

👩‍💻Jane Bradley: Businesswoman Lisa Mennie from Glasgow was sent the £60 toy from her parents as a Christmas present for her daughter Zoe, four.

“It has two personalities,” she said. “One is a nice, sweet, little girl baby Furby and then, without warning, it suddenly turns into what Zoe calls ‘that big fat man’ which talks in a gruff American male voice and burps and farts.

🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: That's what furby 2012 does when you feed him too much. It actually takes a lot of time and effort to get the American rock star attitude out of the 2013 furby boom. But there are more character/attitudes than two out of each model.

👩‍💻Jane Bradley: “She is quite a robust little girl and usually isn’t too concerned about anything, but this has started to bother her a little bit.

🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: So it just isn't the toy for her. So it goes.

👩‍💻Jane Bradley: “It says things like, ‘Oh baby’ in a seedy man’s voice, which I don’t think is appropriate for a child and, on one occasion, it told her it didn’t like her, which really upset her.”

🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: Mm, Okay, the "I don't like you" I can understand a small child being upset over, but the "Baby"? Unless the kid literally thinks the furby is insulting her by calling her an infant, what's the matter with that? They do "Oh baby" in song lyrics all the time. Good decent songs too, I might add.

👩‍💻Jane Bradley: Ms Mennie turned to the internet to find a solution to the problem and discovered that other parents suffering similar problems had posted instructions on how to reset the toy.

This involved turning it upside down, pushing in its tongue and pulling its tail. “That worked for a while, but suddenly it will switch back to the male personality,” said Ms Mennie.

🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: The 2012 models will always do that when overfed. The furby booms will turn into the drunk sounding "Jolly" attitude when overfed. The 2012 furbies don't actually have a girl personality since only one man provided all the recordings for its six or so attitudes. One is referred to as "valley girl" but it is actually vally boy.

👩‍💻Jane Bradley: “I have to keep resetting it, but now Zoe is wary of it. She doesn’t know when it will suddenly become the evil Furby.”

🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: That's why the age range is six years and up, and I think even that is a bit lax. Considering how some people are so easily freaked out over furbies, I'd put the age recommendation at 10 and up, or maybe 8 and up.

👩‍💻Jane Bradley: She added: “It’s a shame, because if this goes on, she is going to push it to one side and not want to play with it any more, which is not what you want from a toy that costs so much.”

🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: But that's exactly what happens to the majority of toys. The best one can do is let the furby be put in storage, then brought out years later when childhood fear has given way to adult maturity and curiosity.

👩‍💻Jane Bradley: A spokeswoman for Hasbro said that the toy was designed to have more than one personality, switching to a less friendly version if the child does not show it enough attention.

🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: Or the wrong kind of attention, apparently. If I had designed the furby, I would've made him or her become sad and lonesome to get the child's sympathy kicking in, a notive that wouldn't involve unintentionally making the child feel frightened or rejected.

👩‍💻Jane Bradley: But parents argued that the toy changed to a “nasty” personality despite being lavished with attention by their children.

🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: Exactly, because over-feeding and rough handling causes that.

👩‍💻Jane Bradley: “Our daughter had already been doting on the thing. What more could it want?” asked one parent online.

🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: If this is bad, don't ever get your kid an African gray, amazon, Indian ringneck, cockatoo or any sort of large pretty parrot because it talks. A furby's attitudes are tiny potatoes next to an unpredictable and intelligent bird that requires not only a lot of attention, but the right kind as well.

👩‍💻Jane Bradley: Tina Woolnough, spokeswoman for the National Parent Forum of Scotland, warned that the “nasty” Furby could encourage bad behaviour in children. We don’t want electronic toys presenting antisocial behaviour to youngsters,” she said. It could be quite influential. The toy manufacturers need to think about what behaviour they are modelling and the effect it could have on children, either by them copying it or the stress in the fact they can do nothing about it.”

🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: The only grain of truth to that complaint would be the stress factor. Toys influencing kids and teaching them bad manners? Oh, please, get a grip! The job of influencing/teaching children is supposed to be up to the parents/family, and that adults are so scared of a furby itself is absurd.

What they could do is use the furby as an example of how to behave, and tell their children when the furby is behaving itself, when it is not, and explain that some behaviors acceptable to furbies is impolite in real society etc. burping and farting out loud. And is that so different from kids learning that the behavior of a dog or cat is and supposed to be the same as a human's?

Not being able to put these furby models to sleep immediately is inconvenient, but this is fixed in the next generation, the furby connect friend that came out in 2016. Still, when the sleep mask is not quite applied properly or comes loose, that furby model may awaken.

But this furby model has none of the negatives that came with the 2012/2014 furbies. Regardless of color, Furby Connect Friend has only one voice, male, and one personality that goes from funny and hyper, to calm and loving.

The down side with the furby connect friend is the app, which is thankfully not needed to play with the furby. It is a bit like the furby boom app, but with the addition of being a kind of glorified babysitting service for the furby in that it provides viral content for the furby to watch and react or sing along to. Yay. More trendy over-played songs. Hurray, more annoying cat videos.

No thanks!

The One real positive is that the furblings in this app are adorable. It is too bad they didn't come up with Furby Connect furblings in physical form. If they did, they would have to give various different styles/colors their own individual voice, because they have their own unique voices in the app. Furblings Connect would probably be a bit too complicated to produce, and would likely cost quite a bit as a result anyway.

Over and out!


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