Teen site Habbo Hotel suspends chat after pornographic content reports

“I am greatly saddened that following reports of abusive behaviors amongst a very small part of the Habbo community we have taken the decision to mute all conversations across the site”, said Paul LaFontaine, the chief executive officer of Habbo owner Sulake, in a blog post.

Habbo, which has around 15 million users a month across more than 100 countries, was investigated by British TV station Channel 4 News, which found sexually explicit content routinely on the site.

In reponse to the Channel 4 report, British private equity group 3i said it was selling its 16% stake in Sulake, according to a report by The Guardian newspaper. In addition, the UK association dedicated to stopping child abuse, NSPCC, called on the government and industry to do more to protect young internet users from abuse.

"We've been concerned for some time that websites designed for children and young people are vulnerable", Jon Brown, head of strategy for the NSPCC, told the newspaper.

One approach to reduce the vulnerability of children and young people online is for parents to install software that can block access to questionable sites. AVG Technologies recently updated its AVG Family Safety products, which enable parents to manage filtering options and block sites across PCs and mobile devices.

The company has added the AVG Family Safety product for Windows Phone and updated its product for iOS. The mobile product offers a free secure web browser to help protect children from inappropriate websites.

“If parents link the app to an AVG Family Safety account, a web interface enables them to manage enhanced filtering options and customize the list of allowed and blocked sites across PCs and mobile devices. Parents can monitor the online activity of the different users and block social networking and other sites per individual login for each child”, AVG explained in a release.

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