If you have a young-ish child, you might have heard of a Furby Boom. If you don't have kids, you might be lucky enough NOT to have heard of these toys at all. For those people, an explanation might be in order: A Furby is an interactive toy. It can talk, it can sing, it can sort of dance, and it responds to how you treat it by changing its personality (meaning its voice and choice of phrases change). You can also interact with it using the Furby app, and feed it, clean it, hatch its eggs, and a lot more besides.
Watch this cautionary video for more information:
Though I haven't been faced with the situation yet, I know it's probably coming when we go on our big trip to Sweden this summer: what to do with a Furby when traveling by plane. My kids have already raised the issue, and we talked a little bit about it - me mostly trying to dissuade them from bringing them at all.
Right now, my position is that an airplane should be a Furby-free zone. The reasons might seem obvious to any adult, but in conversation with my kids, here are some of my arguments:
- A Furby talks. Bringing any talking or noise-making toy on a plane is by definition a bad idea. It's easy enough to annoy fellow passengers without the help.
- A Furby moves. Put one in your hand luggage and it is sure to wake up, move around and cause a scene at security. Even worse: a Furby has no off-switch. The only way to neutralize it is to remove the batteries.
- A Furby will change personality depending on how it is treated. Being jostled, bumped, squashed under seats, and subjected to airplane noise would probably change it to one of the less-cutesy personalities. Then we'd have to spend 10-15 minutes patting the toy's head in order to change its personality back to something more docile. Yes, this is absolutely true. If a Furby is shaken, held upside down, or listens to a lot of loud noises, its personality changes to something rather obnoxious. - PARENTAL NOTE: This argument was the one that seemed the most important to my kids.
- A Furby is an expensive toy that might break or get lost on a long airplane trip. This argument also seemed pretty effective on my kids.
- IF a Furby is coming along on our trip, it will have to travel in the regular, checked luggage - not the hand luggage - and it will have its batteries carefully removed before travel. I don't want to freak out any luggage screeners or other security personnel!