A Channel 4 News investigation has found that a popular online game site targeted at teenagers showed explicit interactions of a sexual nature.
Habbo Hotel attracts 10 million unique users per month and is considered to be "the world's largest social game and online community for teenagers".
But Channel 4 News producer Rachel Seifert spent two months playing under the guise of an 11-year-old girl, and encountered the interactions to be "sexual" and "perverse". Ms Seifert said:
The chat was very sexual, perverse, violent, pornographic, overtly sexual acts, people saying they were going to do things to others, and it was very graphic.
Within two minutes I was being asked individually 'do you have a webcam?', 'can we chat on (instant messenger service) MSN, on Skype?' I was also within a couple of minutes asked to strip, fully naked, and asked what would I do on a webcam.
Channel 4 News found the site to be filled with pornographic, sexual chat despite it being aimed at children as young as 13-years-old.
John Carr, a child safety expert who played the game with the news team, told the programme:
A moderator should be jumping in right now as it's not hard to see where this is going before it gets a lot worse. This is very worrying and going in a very bad direction.
If I was a parent of an 11-year old girl on this site, I would want there to be a moral panic. This should not be happening. What I've just seen makes me think this is a dangerous place for youngsters to be.
Businesses shouldn't put children at risk. 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 LaFontaine, 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:
@lukewizzy We moderate actively across the entire service to block users who behave inappropriately. thanks
@lukewizzy Freedom of expression and certain role play is part of being social. Cybering is not. So we safely allow one and block other. Thx
Further investigations into Habbo Hotel found that it is not the first time the site has been linked to inappropriate sexual allegations.
Last year paedophile Matthew Leonard, 21, of Billericay, Essex, was sentenced to seven years imprisonment after he admitted grooming young girls he had met in Habbo.