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.However, Channel 4 News found the site to be full of pornographic sexual chat, despite the fact it is aimed at children as young as 13 years old.
“I’m disgusted by what’s happened here,” Christian Wiklund, Skout’s founder, told the .
That feature monitors photos for nudity and chats for inappropriate sexual messages and profanity. " Another user was skeptical that the suspension would stop the abuses: "This is just going to make underage users say that they are 18." Such misuse extends beyond social networking apps -- Hobbo Hotel, a site that lets kids design virtual hotels, has been used by pedophiles to engage children in sexual chat and to lure them into sexual activity.
Any room that is set up to clearly signal cybering activities will immediately be shut down.” However, the case of Habbo Hotel highlights a major problem with games targeted at children in an industry which is self-regulated.
Channel 4 News has passed the findings of the investigation to the government.
“If I was a parent of an 11-year old girl on this site, I would want there to be a moral panic. What I’ve just seen makes me think this is a dangerous place for youngsters to be. If they are in this business, they have to be in it in the right way – the right moderators, the right software, to stop this happening.” In a statement, Paul La Fontaine, the chief executive of Sulake, the company which owns the website, told Channel 4 News it is committed to ensuring that children are safe on the site: “Any online community that allows users to assume virtual identities may be open to abuses, which is why we work hard to keep users safe, filtering content and blocking inappropriate users.
“We also provide education and rapid-response support to users who experience uncomfortable conversations.” He added: “Habbo’s moderation and safeguarding procedures includes employing more than 225 moderators, tracking some 70m lines of conversation globally every day on a 24/7 basis.
The Surrey man received a term of house arrest and 18 months probation, the North Shore News reported.
Bhar pleaded guilty to sexual assault on the same victim and was put on probation.
“Within two minutes I was being asked individually ‘do you have a webcam?
’, ‘can we chat on (instant messenger service) MSN, on Skype?
In a story that illustrates the real-life risks of meeting strangers through social networking, the popular flirting app Skout has shut down its app for teenagers after reports of three men that raped children by posing as teenagers.