It’s normal for young people to express themselves through “dressing up.” Events like Comic-Con and the popularity of superhero fandoms have made the idea of creating and donning intricate costumes more mainstream and accessible. Remember – it is more than okay for young people to have a niche interest or hobby (provided it does not cause them or others non-consensual physical or mental harm).
The danger comes when the interest forms into an unhealthy obsession, fixation, or escape. If a young person feels unsatisfied or upset with their situation in life, it might be easier for them to disappear into an alternate reality or world they are able to control. This is especially true if they do not feel they have a supportive community around them. Fixation at this level may cause dissociation, anxiety, depression, and irritability.
One thing important to note is that Furries are not innately sexual. There is a public misconception about the sexualised nature of the Furry Fandom, but it is not the main draw or point of the community. However, as safeguarding professionals, we recognise that the uniquely personal perimeters of Furry culture could potentially create a scenario someone with a sexual interest in children may be able to exploit.
It can be difficult to teach young people the importance of balance. We know that boundaries are key to healthy behaviours and relationships. When we add the fantasy/roleplay dynamic which blurs the line between reality and make-believe, it can be harder to outline clear boundaries. This creates additional risk for children, young people, and vulnerable adults who engage in this type of interest as they may not understand how serious a situation is until it is too late.
By Douglas Muth, via Wikipedia