Advertisement

Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Parental Alert: Pornography and Abuse on Teen Websites

posted by Nell Minow

Habbo Hotel, a popular social media website for teenagers, is reopening after suspending its interactive functions following an investigative journalist’s reports of abuse.

Following Tuesday’s announcement that mobile app Skout temporarily closed its under-18 community amidst rape allegations, Finnish virtual world Habbo Hotel has shut down its chat functions after “reports of abusive behaviors.”

Marketed as “the world’s largest social game and online community for teenagers,” the game boasts 10 million visitors per month to the virtual hotel, where children as young as 13 years old create avatars, chat publicly or privately with other users, and buy credits to furnish animated hotel rooms.

Advertisement

But the service made headlines this week after Rachel Seifert, a producer with the U.K.’s Channel 4 News, said she encountered pornographic chat, avatars engaged in cyber sex, and more. Seifert spent two months investigating the goings-on of the seemingly innocent game. While posing as a young girl, Seifert was asked to strip fully naked, “and asked what would I do on a webcam,” she said.

Seifert had similar sexually charged and inappropriate experiences all 50 times she played the game.

I looked into this after receiving a spam email “accepting” a registration at Habbo I had never signed up for.  The recent announcement that Facebook plans to expand to include middle schoolers adds to the concern about the combination of poor judgment, increased independence, and anonymity in social media.  Parents should be on the alert and make sure they have meaningful conversations and oversight of their children’s online activities and relationships.

Previous Posts

Interview: Matt Mamula of Celebrity Impersonator Documentary "Just About Famous"
Matt Mamula co-directed "Just About Famous," the very entertaining new documentary about celebrity impersonators. He generously took time to talk to me about the unexpected opportunities that open up when someone looks like someone who becomes ...

posted 3:59:51pm Apr. 26, 2015 | read full post »

Interview: Barak Goodman of "Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies"
Director Barak Goodman talked to me about his superb series for PBS, Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies, now available on DVD. The series is produced ...

posted 3:55:04pm Apr. 26, 2015 | read full post »

Creativity Conference 2015: Nancy Pelosi, Snoopy, and Drones with GoPros
I had so much fun at last year's Creativity Conference that I could not imagine how they could top it this year, but they succeeded. This is ...

posted 3:07:48pm Apr. 26, 2015 | read full post »

Trailer: The Little Prince
The beloved book The Little Prince has been gorgeously animated, with voices including Jeff Bridges, James Franco, and Rachel McAdams.  I love this trailer. [iframe frameborder="0" width="480" height="270" ...

posted 8:00:24am Apr. 26, 2015 | read full post »

Trailer: Samuel L. Jackson is the President in "Big Game"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DKThy0cipVA ...

posted 8:00:34am Apr. 25, 2015 | read full post »

Advertisement


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.