This Video Game is a "Paedophile Haven", Apparently

Illustration for article titled This Video Game is a "Paedophile Haven", Apparently

Being neither a small child or, it turns out, a paedophile, I had no idea, but according to a documentary put together by Britain's Channel 4, kid's online game Habbo is the place to go if you want someone to " licky your v a g i n a".


The report collects a ton of imagery and text captured by the investigative team while playing. Some of the gems seen within "minutes" of booting the social game up include:

"Hey licky your v a g i n a. There you go darling. Sticks diick jn you. You've lost your virginity. Right NEXT", "Hey do you have a webcam? You got msn or skype?.. you take off your clothes" and "I want some cute girls not gay faggots".

Charming. Also entirely unsurprising given the fact this is the internet, and a kid's online game to boot, but what makes this interesting is that this report has actually had an effect on the game behind the scenes.

Balderton Capital, a company with a 13% stake in the game's owners, Sulake, pulled their cash out after the report aired.

"We were given some information a week ago that profoundly shocked us", a Balderton spokesperson said. "We had to ask ourselves whether we were comfortable being investors in a business where children were not being adequately protected."

"We didn't take this decision lightly, as we have been investors in Sulake for over 8 years, but the standards required to run a website that children have access to are very high. We felt the company was not meeting those standards."


Not all observers agree with Balderton's hand-washing, though. Some observers say it's "the most cowardly hand-washing act I've ever seen from an investor".

"Reddit is still owned by Condé Nast," one entrepreneur told The Kernel, "despite the foul material it hosts. So I guess it's a decision for individual investors and shareholders to make."





I grow so weary of "think of the children" being used as a backdoor to undermining anything and everything in democracy. There's something magical about bringing up any potential boogeyman that might harm children — it seems to completely short-circuit the logic of almost all parents, even ones who are normally perfectly rational adults.

I get it! I love children too, and want to see them kept safe. But if you jump at any perceived threat to them without properly assessing whether it is real or not, you aren't helping them at all.

You know what protects kids from 99.9% of "internet predators" (which are so damn rare as to be practically non-existent), parents? Education. Not telling them to be afraid of random people that they meet online, but to have a reasonable understanding of what to expect in online interactions, and how to protect themselves without hampering their enjoyment.

Trust but Verify. Don't volunteer excessive information. Don't disclose personally identifying information.

It isn't like this is rocket surgery or anything.