Habbo is an online community created for teenagers.

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If you're not a teenager, Habbo may be the biggest Web site you've never heard of. Within its virtual world (think Second Life or The Sims), users socialize and interact using personalized avatars. Habbo's social network attracts millions of teenagers a week from all over the world.

Habbo was formerly called Habbo Hotel and is, in fact, based on the concept of a hotel. The Habbo online community is inhabited by pixelated, cartoon-character alter egos, and it invites users to meet up in public rooms -- nightclubs, restaurants, shops and the like -- as well as create private rooms for themselves and selected friends. Habbo employees heavily moderate the site, catering to its solid teen user base.

Ninety percent of Habbo's users are between 13 and 18 years old. Other notable stats include:

  • 31 local communities, worldwide
  • 132,000,000 registered users
  • 11,800,000 unique visitors per month
  • 990,000,000 hits per month
  • An average visit of 43 minutes per user session

Although the main URL (www.habbo.com) brings users to the U.S. version of the site, you can find Habbo social networks all over the world, in places like the United Kingdom, Japan, Sweden, Spain, Italy, Finland and more.

After signing up for an account on Habbo, users start socializing with other users around the Habbo Hotel. Or, if they're not feeling sociable just yet, they can begin decorating their rooms. It's free to sign up and interact on Habbo, but it does cost money for extras -- for example, purchasing virtual furniture, playing premium games or adopting virtual pets. The site urges users to check with their parents before making any monetary purchases, however. Users are also encouraged to create their own homepages within Habbo to network with other users and express themselves creatively.

How would a teenager use this site? Find out on the next page.