HabPlus is a Habbo Hotel retro – in laymans terms, that is to say it’s an illegal copy of the original Habbo Hotel. In the real Habbo, you need to purchase the in-game currency – ‘credits’ – with real life cash, however in the retros, they are usually either free or are given out in mass amounts every so often (for example, HabPlus gives out 150 credits every 15 minutes). The free currency is what attracts people to play retros, as well as other features such as different items (‘furni’), both of which mean that it’s much much easier for people to build rooms full of items, which is something that’s not as easily done in the real Habbo, as one must either purchase credits, or win the furniture through player-hosted games.
However, in my opinion the trade-off is not worth it when it comes to kids playing on them. This is because they’re almost always ‘player-hosted’ – that is, run on an emulator set up by regular non-paid players, meaning there are much fewer eyes looking out for the safety of any minor who may be vulnerable to online predators. The official Habbo Hotel is staffed and monitored by hundreds of employees, whereas on HabPlus, there are 2 owners and 14 ‘Staff’, however I’m under the impression that they are not paid moderators, but in fact just very active users who have been given extra privileges.
Now, I could write pages and pages about all the things that are wrong with this game, but what better proof is there than actual images/screenshots from the game? I’ll sort them roughly into categories, and hopefully you’ll see what I mean when I say it’s a bad place. Keep in mind, the average age of people playing is around 13-15 years old.
Rooms can be created by any player, and will generally be unmoderated for a while until a moderator decides it’s inappropriate. First off, a handful of the kind of rooms that you can expect to see at any time…
Over the time that I’ve looked at HabPlus, I’ve found countless numbers of the more explicit rooms…
‘apt zero.’ was one of the worst. It may not sound like a bad place, but that is deliberate. Running it are a group of players who had created what was essentially a brothel in another room similar to this, but it had been moderated and removed.
These three messages (‘stickies’) were on the wall:
I tried to report the room on several occasions, only to be met with this message:
Now, other than the major fact that this is promoting the use of brothels to minors, if this were in ANY other rational place, a room like this would be considered a very likely hideout for pedophiles and online predators – who could easily sign up to be ‘escorts’, and wait around here for kids to come to them (especially bearing in mind that the majority of players are younger than 16), and would be shut down as soon as it was discovered. But no, apparently I’m the bad one here for raising a red flag! …If this doesn’t worry you, then I don’t know what will.
Now, in any one of the rooms on HabPlus (not just the more ‘explicit’ rooms above), you are potentially going to witness or be met with vulgar and crude language. I’m not just talking about swearing here. Sex as a topic is about as far away from taboo as possible, the clearest example being that it’s not uncommon for people to message or ‘friend’ you out of the blue and then promptly ask if you want to date/cyber – essentially virtual sex. Don’t believe me? Here’s just a few:
Convinced enough? It doesn’t stop there.. when you’re not being messaged by people, you sometimes come across such horrible things as these:
…the ‘role models’…
…and then the just-plain-wrong…
I could continue on for ages and ages with more screenshots, but we’d be here for ages… if there’s enough interest I’ll do a part 2, but I hope from this you can see what I mean… HabPlus (and I’m quite confident a lot of other retros) are quite simply bad. There’s no real rules, and left to their own devices, the place has become somewhat of a hotbed for unruly behaviour. Then again, teenagers will be teenagers when left alone, but with the sheer blatancy of sex permeating the place, it could be very possible for a young innocent kid to start playing only to become exposed to a level of explicitness they aren’t ready to handle.
Long story short, if your kid wants to play ANY Habbo game, please, for their sake, make sure they’re at least playing the official one (www.habbo.com).