From Channel 4 News:
Seemingly innocent, Habbo Hotel, with its bright colours, pink teddy bears, flashing lights, and roaming ponies, is one of a growing number of virtual worlds created for kids. And with 10 million unique visitors a month, it is “the world’s largest social game and online community for teenagers”.
The game is set in a virtual hotel, where kids create avatars with which they can move around rooms, chat to other users in public or privately and even buy credits in the real world to furnish their virtual hotel room.
Channel 4 News producer Rachel Seifert spent two months playing this seemingly innocent game posing as a young girl. She found alongside the balloons and teddies, chats and interactions of an explicit sexual nature. The ease with which this happened was shocking.
Rachel said: “The chat was very sexual, perverse, violent, pornographic, overtly sexual acts, people saying they were going to do things to others, and it was very graphic.
“Within two minutes I was being asked individually ‘do you have a webcam?’, ‘can we chat on (instant messenger service) MSN, on Skype?’ I was also within a couple of minutes asked to strip, fully naked, and asked what would I do on a webcam.”
Rachel played the game 50 times and on each occasion had similar experiences.
Watch the shocking report from the UK’s Channel 4 below: