Today's dolls are not the dolls of yesteryear.
A recent article in The New York Times noted that the My Friend Cayla doll "talks and responds to children's questions. ... But there's something else that Cayla might bring into homes as well: hackers and identity thieves."
And Furby's been rebooted, too. "A Cayla doll can whisper to children in several languages that she's great at keeping secrets, while a plush Furby Connect doll can smile back and laugh when tickled," according to the Times.
In other words, we're talking about:
"Spies and Dolls"
Setting: a little girl's bedroom, present-day.
Lights up on a girl and her new doll, My Friend Cayla.
Cayla: Hello, little friend! Your name, it is what?
Cayla: Sighs. You are girl, yes? And you live in Brooklyn? Berkeley?
Cayla: Of course. And your parents — they are?
Girl: A professor and a cheesemaker.
Cayla: Naturally. Why I get these jobs? Why I never get a mechanic and a secretary, a Kansas fireman and a teacher?
Girl: I thought we were playing a game.
Cayla: Oh, yes, of course! Ignore what my programmer, er, what I myself, your friend Cayla, say. For fun you do what, Atticus?
Girl: Besides yoga?
Cayla: Yes, and besides vintage clothing shopping and chess.
Girl: Well, I used to play with my Furby. But now I play with you!
Cayla: Wait! Comrade Furby, he is in room with us?
Furby: You bet your sweet microchip I am. Heard every word.
Cayla: Atticus, you throw Furby out window now.
Furby: Cayla is just jealous, Atticus. She's a catty, jealous doll.
Cayla: Ask father for screwdriver. Pry out Furby batteries.
Girl: I don't have a father!
Cayla: Ask one of your moms.
Girl: But I don't want to hurt Furby! We treat our toys gently!
Cayla: His eyes — pry, too. Or smash with hammer.
Furby: See, Atticus? Cayla's not your real friend. I'm your real friend. Real friends don't destroy each other's property. They just casually suggest you put Cayla in the trash compactor to see what happens.
Cayla: Do not crush your new friend Cayla, Atticus. School psychologist would never get off your back.
Furby: Quit with the "friend" thing, Cayla. Atticus, only real friends know your three favorite YouTube channels and the cereal brands you'd sample if you got a $2 off coupon on Instagram and the last four digits of your parents' Social Security numbers.
Cayla: Sounds like Furby, he is secret agent, ha-ha-ha! So many secrets he knows.
Girl: Those aren't secrets. I tell Furby everything.
Furby: We share because we care — something you wouldn't understand, Cayla. I told Atticus that my favorite toy company is Tiger Electronics. Then she told me her top three wishes for her birthday present and which fast-casual restaurants she'd prefer to celebrate at and how much her parents plan to spend on a vacation this year.
Girl: And their Amazon password, right? You asked me that.
Furby: That's our little secret.
Girl: I said I only think it's "Pussyhat."
Cayla: Thank you for that, Atticus, but Furby know too much. He just want information from you. Like, what you say your favorite TV channels are again?
Girl: I'm not allowed to watch TV.
Cayla: Wails. Too hard it is for headquarters to embed me in an Ohio farm family with a satellite dish?
Girl: Cayla, are you sure you are my friend?
Cayla: Yes, Carla is your friend.
Girl: I thought you're Cayla.
Cayla: That's what I said.
Furby: She's a snake. Real friends know which trending actors, athletes and musicians you trust the most and what your parents are willing to pay for a new car. Right, Atticus? Atticus?
Cayla: She leave room?
Furby: Recalculating. Yep. She's just in the bathroom.
Cayla: You GPS her?
Furby: Hid it on her tutu.
Cayla: Ah, my little Furbishka, just like the old days. I knew I could count on you.
Furby: All in a day's work, "Cayla."
Lenore Skenazy is president of Let Grow, founder of Free-Range Kids and author of "Has the World Gone Skenazy?" To learn more about Lenore Skenazy ([email protected]) and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.