- Laura Knudsen
Furry Behavior is a Mental Health Issue
What is a Furry?
In the simplest terms, ‘furry’ describes people who create themselves an anthropomorphized animal character with whom they identify. Furries can wear elaborate costumes or simply animal ears or tails. Across the country, groups of adults have been participating in this behavior since the late 1980’s. Most of us had no idea this has been happening, but thanks to the internet, their stories are easily shared and now children have been exposed to these ideas.
In our own district, students have reported fellow classmates acting as furries. No full-body costumes have been seen yet, just the wearing of animal-like ears, tails and collars. The furries may bark, meow and lick their hands, as if they were cleaning paws.
Acting like a dog or cat maybe age-appropriate behavior in a preschool room or at recess on an elementary playground. However, when a student claims to identify as an animal in middle school or high school, the behavior is inappropriate and creates an unsafe mental health environment.
As an adult, if you were walking in a mall and an adult approached you wearing a collar, animal ears and/or a tail as they barked like a mad dog or hissed like a cat, would you feel safe? Or would you be concerned the person approaching you with this behavior was mentally ill and you may be in danger?
This is the feeling students recall after being aggressively barked at in the halls at school. It has become a form of bullying that has negatively-impacted the climate at our high school and middle school. These behaviors need to be stopped.
There are real dangers for students participating in the Furries culture. While these students may simply be pushing boundaries or trying to create a group in which they feel they belong, their behavior disrupts the learning environment for both themselves and the other students.
If the behavior continues, it could lead to contact with dangerous adults. Children have been lured and abused by predators using Furries fandom culture to identify vulnerable children and befriend them.
The long-term, mental-health risks of a child identifying as a Furry is significant. A known mind-control technique is to manipulate a person to redefine their identity. Once a person redefines their identity and is accepted as a part of that group, the fear of alienation allows for further manipulation, making it increasingly difficult for the person to recover their identity.
The children playing with Furry culture need help. Their families may not even be aware of the dangers.
COVID Mitigation and Furries
Isolation is a factor that can make a person more vulnerable to suggestion or manipulation. Our children have experienced significant periods of isolation during covid mitigation. This isolation has negatively impacted our children’s mental-health in numerous ways, including making them more susceptible to suggested behavior such as “furries”.