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Truth behind popular 90s theory that Furbies taught children to swear

Truth behind popular 90s theory that Furbies taught children to swear

Did the Furby teach children to swear? There are so many myths around the popular toy

If you were a 90s kid then it's highly likely that one Christmas when opening your presents you discovered that Santa had brought you something called a Furby.

I'm not exactly down with the kids so I don't know how popular they are these days, but back in my youth there were a few years where they really were all the rage.

Released in 1998, the Furby was the must-have toy for Christmas in 98 and 99.

After three years 40 million Furbies had been sold and there was a very good reason for this, they could speak and you could teach them to talk.

When you first got your Furby it spoke a gibberish language called 'Furbish', but the trick was the more you spoke to it the more English it learned until you'd taught it a whole new language.

Parents thought this little thing was hearing them swear and teaching naughty words to their kids.
Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images

However, this caused a bit of a panic in 2000 when some parents became worried that rather than their children teaching the Furby to speak, it was teaching their kids some rather unsavoury language.

More specifically, the Wall Street Journal reported that parents were panicking that the Furby had taught their kids to swear after picking up curse words from the grown-ups.

Furbies always had a bit of a weird speaking voice and apparently when the furry robot said 'hug me' it sounded like something else very different.

Some places took Furbies off their shelves for a while over the panic that the Furby could learn swear words from adults and teach them to children, but as it turns out there was absolutely zilch to worry about.

Sorry to burst your bubble of innocence, but the idea that you could actually teach a Furby how to speak was actually rubbish.

It was all a myth, they couldn't really hear you so they couldn't pick up on your swearwords.
Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

Instead, the toy started out by speaking 'Furbish' and over time an internal clock would switch the pre-programmed messages from this fake language into English, making it appear as though the Furby was learning a language.

Since it's just a toy and can't really learn English there was never any chance that the Furby could pick up swear words, let alone repeat them to children.

Few toys have been the source of as many myths as the Furby, and the idea that they were listening and learning based on what they heard us say got them banned from the offices of many intelligence agencies.

While plenty of people like to bring toys or mascots into the workplace to brighten up the day there were (unfounded) fears that the Furby could be a spy.

Other weird things people believed were that Furbies could interfere with medical equipment and that the fur on them came from real cats and dogs.

Both myths are totally bogus of course, unless you think I'm in the pocket of Big Furby.

Featured Image Credit: Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post/Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

Topics: Weird