YOUR report (“When Furbies turn bad…”, 8 February) rightly raises awareness of a worrying aspect of a toy intended for young children.
Apparently these toys are “initially sweet, usually childlike creatures” but “can suddenly morph into a ‘slightly seedy’ male voice which shouts insults and ‘inappropriate phrases’”.
Manufacturers should take heed and both apologise and remove such toys from sale.
However, I found the caption accompanying your report totally unacceptable. It read: “The friendly Furbie, main, and Zoe Mennie and her bipolar toy, top”.
Bipolar illness is a serious psychological problem in which the sufferer has to endure periods of depression which alternates with periods of excitable mood, or heightened awareness and/or emotions. It causes real distress to those who have this illness and is difficult too for those who care for them.
There is nothing “slightly seedy” about this illness which leads people to “turn bad”. The derogatory use of this medical term may even result in people experiencing bipolar illness being viewed as bad or dangerous. I would hope that The Scotsman would print an apology for this misuse of a medical term.
I have also notified See Me, Scotland’s campaign challenging stigma about mental illness, to let them know that you have written so unthinkingly about an upsetting and difficult illness.
(Rev) Lorna Murray