Habbos bubblegum benefits aren't exactly the type to impress educators or even parents. Nevertheless, teens find the site to be an enjoyable distraction. Gamers take advantage of the many multiplayer games, where users can form groups and compete against each other. One-on-one games are also popular, and Habbo's user guide stresses that the site forbids any games involving guns or swords [source: Habbo]. Many games come free of charge, but some do require credits or tickets to play.
Discussion groups also abound on Habbo's social network. Chances are, if you can think of it, someone on Habbo is talking about it. Again, of course, rooms and boards on Habbo are heavily moderated, and Habbo reassures parents that they need not worry about inappropriate or unsafe discussions.
Just like in the real world, if you want nice things on Habbo, you have to buy them. Registering and playing on Habbo is free. But the site does charge real money for "premium" elements like virtual furniture, game tickets and its Habbo Club subscription.
Habbo calls its currency habbo coins, and these can be purchased through various payment systems, including credits cards or money orders. Many retail stores also offer gift cards that come preloaded with credits users can redeem for coins. Another way to get coin credits is through the phone -- either landline or cell phone. By dialing a certain number, a user's phone is billed, and the Habbo account is credited. Habbo asks users to make sure they have their parents' permission before dialing, of course.
Twenty-five habbo coins equals $5.00. The price is lower if you buy more coins at once -- for example, 100 habbo coins are $18.00 and 300 habbo coins are $50.00.
Another way to procure things on Habbo is through pixels. Pixels are points that users receive simply by partaking in various Habbo activities. For example, users get some pixels simply for logging in. The more time they spend in Habbo's online community, the more pixels they receive. Any achievement also nets pixels -- for example, furnishing a room or setting up a new room. Pixels don't replace coins but give users access to discounts or things called effects. Effects are temporary special effects for display on an avatar or in a room, usually lasting about an hour.
Habbo Club, which costs 30 coins (or about $8) per month, gives its subscribers access to premium Habbo stuff like hairstyles and clothes, access to Club-only rooms, exclusive furniture and other VIP perks.
Because some items on Habbo are limited edition, users can find many "collectibles" for sale or trade. Users can even set up "trade rooms" where they'll trade or sell furniture and other accessories to each other.
So what do parents think about their teens being on this site? Are there any safety measures set up to protect the youth?