The Nation newspaper says the Thailand Ministry of Science is warning Thai parents they should be careful about buying a ‘Furby’ doll for their children and, if they do, monitoring how long their kids play with them.
Furby, just in case you’re unaware, is a furry electronic doll, which looks a bit like an owl. Over time it changes from speaking ‘Furbish’ to an ability to speak simple English words, leading children to believe the furry toy is learning a new language just like they would.
Weirdly, while the west saw ‘Furby fever’ in the late 1990s, the obsession with Furbies has suddenly emerged in Thailand after the release of the updated Furby 2012 model.
The Thai Ministry of Science is apparently quite concerned about this and is warning parents who might be thinking of buying a Furby for their child that there are some negative aspects to owning one.
Negative aspects, they say, include the child playing for too many hours with a Furby and not interacting with friends or parents. They also worry about children losing sleep as they play with their Furby late into the night, and stress children should not be allowed to take their Furby to school as it can cause them to not pay attention in class.
All in all, there are at least six negative issues about Thai parents letting their child have a Furby, which you can read more about in The Nation’s Furby warning article.
Personally, as a former teacher, I’d have to say owning a Furby doll is probably no more negative than owning any other toy children enjoy playing with. But Thai parents should be aware of how many hours their child is playing with the toy and, yes, like the Ministry of Science says, don’t allow Furby to be taken to school. That’s just common sense with any toy that may distract a child from learning.