back to article Habbo Hotel to 'unmute' chat so users can show they love it

Teen social network site Habbo Hotel is going to allow its users to chat again soon, as its parent company removes the restrictions imposed after allegations of inappropriate sexual content. The CEO of Finnish firm Sulake said on Friday that Habbo would stage a "Great Unmute" to allow users to tell the site what it wants to …


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  1. jake Silver badge


    The real issue is Parents allowing kids unsupervised access to the ugly underbelly of the world's largest city called "The Internet".

    Remember back when parent parented?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Whatever.

      "Parenting" never stopped me... Even parents have to sleep at some point, teenagers not so much.

      You're sadly deluded if you think you actually control them.

      Mine's the one with the 20m phone cable, wire cutter and splice box.

      1. jake Silver badge

        @+++ath0 (was: Re: Whatever.)

        It's not about control of the teens. It's about education of the parents.

        My daughter's terminal was in family-space, not her bedroom. Same for her first personal computer ... She didn't have unsupervised access to TehIntraWebTubes until she was at Uni.

        My nieces & nephews have very basic telephones. They are for making telephone calls, not accessing the unwashed underbelly of mankind.

        I've been in the business for a long time ... my siblings & their spouses grok that I have clues on the subject, and have been paying attention. YMMV.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @+++ath0 (was: Whatever.)

          Oh man, so she never went to a friend's house or was never alone in the house?

          The unfortunate irony is that those are precisely the first ones who "rebelled" and now have things like videos posted in the "underbelly" of the Internet..

          But pay no attention to me and keep downvoting. Keep living in that dream world where you think you have some control and are "clued up on the subject". It's probably healthier for you.

          1. StarkeRealm

            Re: @+++ath0 (was: Whatever.)

            I actually know a guy who was raised like that, he turned into a complete mess once he got into a four year program. No comprehension of how to act autonomously in the world without his parents at his shoulder to point.

    2. Gav

      Thinking Of The Children

      "Where are the parents?" is a popular cry in discussions like this. And guaranteed 99% of the time it comes from people who have never had teenage children.

      Young teenagers are at the age of venturing out into society (and that includes the internet), unsupervised by their parents. It's an essential part of growing up. It is *bad* for them to have their parents hovering over them at all times. However, it is *good* from them to have areas where the parents can feel that they are safe and don't need hovering over. Places where they can make mistakes and learn from them without ending up in any real trouble. Habbo is supposed to be one of those places.

      So parents allowing their children unsupervised on Habbo are allowing them to grow. They are good parents. Unfortunately Habbo has let them down and wasn't always the place they trusted it to be.

      1. Elmer Phud
        Thumb Up

        Re: Thinking Of The Children - Trust them, they usually know better than you.

        The idea that a child is safe just by having the machine in the family living area is absurd.

        Unless, that is, someone is constantly on the shoulder of the child or is running real-time monitoring software.

        My own two girls were educated in as much as 'If you're not sure ask me. You won't be shouted at, won't be banned, won't be hassled'.

        We chatted about language used to draw people in and, just as importantly, were told that there were most likely far more stupid adults being draw in that children - 'cos adults are usually too big headed to know when they are being conned.

        So now and then they asked for advice and usually they were just being cautious - did report one idiot to Habbo Hotel admin after he(?) tried to get one of them to 'download a cool game'. My daughter spotted the ploy and asked me what to do next - we kept him(?) dangling for ages, copying all the text conversation before we told him we knew the trick and that he'd been reported already.

        They are now a lot older, finished Uni and busy happily trolling and slagging off others like real old-timers.

    3. John Lilburne

      Re: Whatever.

      "Remember back when parent parented?"

      Yeah and basically they sent the kids to places where they thought they would be safe, removed support from such places when they found that such trust was missplaced, and had laws enacted to ensure that if their kids were subjected to inappropriate behaviour then action could be taken against the perpetrator.

  2. Androgynous & Awkward

    I find it hard to believe that the owners of Habbo didn't know this was going on.....heads & sand?

    I blacked the site out about three years ago because of my concerns for me wee ones.

    And it's shit.

  3. Usually Right or Wrong

    Now let me think...

    I want to groom children and get web cam pictures of them in the nude, where should I go? Oh look, there is a virtual reality site full of children called Habbo Hotel!

    How do they expect to keep predators off the site? Also, how do they expect to effectively moderate all conversations. In all the articles I have read about Habbo, not once did they say that they would refer recognised grooming or sexual coercion to the police for investigation, which may act as some deterrent.

    Also, I have not seen any indication that an avatar can be explicitly tied to a particular individual. They did state that this incident has had a terrible impact on their business though, which shows where their real priority lies.

  4. David Hicks

    The only time I've previously heard of Habbo Hotel

    is because it's somewhere that /b/tards of 4chan like to go and troll, or stand several of themselves in a public area, in the shape of a swastika. Basically griefing the children.

    1. frank ly Silver badge

      Re: The only time I've previously heard of Habbo Hotel

      When I first started running around the internet unsupervised, at the tender age of 40, I was shocked, saddened and annoyed by trolling and griefing in various places. After a while, I developed coping strategies and recognised behavioural patterns and markers that alerted me to the type of people I was dealing with. Now, it's water off a duck's back.

      Maybe it's good for children to see trolling and griefing on the internet before they encounter the real thing in the real world.... develop their recognition and coping techniques at an early stage?

      1. Hieronymus Howerd

        Re: The only time I've previously heard of Habbo Hotel

        Is "griefing" a real word now? First time I've heard it. I must get out more. Or less, I'm not sure which.

        1. David Hicks

          Re: The only time I've previously heard of Habbo Hotel

          I'm not sure about a 'real' word, but it comes from FPS gaming IIRC. A griefer was originally someone who joined your team and then proceeded to put all their efforts into killing their own side, obstructing progress, and generally being a pain in the ass.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Stickam, Omegle, etc all had the same problems

    But all have fixed it after extensive media criticism, so I suppose moderation is possible if you really try.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't tell Channel Four News about 4chan!

    I'm 12 years old and what is this?

  7. Blitterbug

    Habbo CEO talks total bollocks

    My teenage lads stopped using Habbo last year. Each time they logged on, within minutes someone would ask them if they wanted 'Cam2cam', etc. They aren't prudes but it just gets so old fast, and virtually no users on the site wanted to use it for 'normal' social interaction (I avoided the other possible phrase there).

  8. skellious

    This site has been going down-hill ever since they removed hobbas

    Hobba, for those not in the know, is Habbo's name for their player moderators. There moderators were invaluable members of the community and had the power to mute, kick and ban. In 2005 all hobbas were retired and the replacement paid moderator team is so much smaller that unlike the hobbas they cannot be everywhere at once. I was on this site many years ago and I saw hobbas daily, unlike after the ban where you were lucky if a call for help even got answered in person, rather than a generic reply message.

  9. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    Twin Peaks Habbo Hotel

    "were asked to use their webcams to undress"

    But how to undress with a webcam? It's all mysterious to me.

    "a clear and agreed international standard of best practice for social and online gaming communities"

    Hold on, I have some guy from Saudi Arabia on the phone.

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