Disney Spends Millions on Club Penguin After Habbo Disaster

Disney Spends Millions on Club Penguin After Habbo Disaster

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Club Penguin co-founder promises that Disney's social networking site won't become like Habbo Hotel.

With the words "we are not Habbo Hotel" writ in - metaphorical - letters of fire upon his forehead, Club Penguin co-founder Lane Merrifield announced a new safety awareness advertising campaign during a keynote speech at the Children's Media Conference in Sheffield, UK. Merrifield - currently Disney Online Studios' executive VP - said that the campaign would cost 3 million (approximately $4.5 million), and while Habbo Hotel was never mentioned by name, recent events were almost certainly in Merrifield's mind when he made the announcement.

"From the very start," said Merrifield, "our vision for Club Penguin was to create a safe place for my kids and their friends to play online," adding that this philosophy hasn't changed since Disney's acquisition of the Club for $350 million back in 2007. Club Penguin's current safety campaign is aimed at children in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, and will involve advertisements in both the real and virtual worlds. According to Merrifield, this is all aimed at helping children become "responsible digital citizens."

Habbo Hotel's troubles saw the parent company lose major investors, and its gift cards were pulled from store shelves. Club Penguin has users in 190 countries, and is one of the largest child-centric social networking sites in the world. Just to remain competitive in the market, virtual worlds like Club Penguin need to demonstrate that they're being proactive on this issue. It's not just for the kids, but for their parents' peace of mind as well as avoiding negative attention from the scandal-driven news media. 3 million is positively cheap compared to the price Club Penguin would pay, if what happened to Habbo Hotel should happen to them.

Source: Guardian

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Are you UNDER 13?
YES______________NO

I can still remember when Club Penguin first started (wasn't even called Club Penguin) it was just an online flash chat room on a website called rocketsnail. It was pervy then and it's (probably) still pervy now

Karloff:
-snip- children become "responsible digital citizens-snip-

Uhhhhh, good luck with that. They're kids, they'll nod at what you say and then go back to their previous behaviour.

Honestly, I never played Club Penguin, but my friends who did basically said that there's a powerfully obscenity filter and the mods ban anyone they suspect of looking at them funny.

Pedophiles aren't the worst thing on club penguin. Have they not seen Four Lions?

It may have been a crap game but I still don't think it was right to single out Habbo Hotel, all those kinds of games harbor a terrifying number of pedophiles.

Is club penguin where the Omar makes up with Waj & gets him to come back to be a terrorist?

Surely it's just safer to wait a little longer and then let kids play on regular online stuff. I mean what the hell do they think's going to happen as soon as you label it 'FOR KIDS!'?

Captcha: Full monty. I hope not Captcha, I hope not.

I'm getting strong Seth McFarlane vibes from that guy

imageI've got the stake ready and the kindling stacked up, what site are we burning today in our irrational fear of some sort of child molesting cabal that we desperately seem to want to exist? What? This website's off limits to the witch hunt because they promise to do my parenting for me better than those baby-rapers at Habbo? Well, that's fine then.

Is there a daycare (and some lives) we can ruin?

Maybe some Commies we can blackball or some Japs we can lock up?

Something is out to destroy us and we must destroy everything suspicious before it gets us!

(Sigh.)

Children aren't made of glass. Turns out if you just act sane, take reasonable precautions, and PAY ATTENTION to the kid and one's responsibilities as a parent kids can get along fine in this big scary world.

Cousin_IT:
Is club penguin where the Omar makes up with Waj & gets him to come back to be a terrorist?

No but it was a definite parody of club penguin, it was called 'Puffin Party'.

You would think that when designing a social network/game that's specifically meant for kids, the very first question you would ask yourself is "Okay, how do I keep the pedos out of here as effectively as possible?" If you can't answer that question, then scrap the project and start on something new.

Ickorus:
It may have been a crap game but I still don't think it was right to single out Habbo Hotel, all those kinds of games harbor a terrifying number of pedophiles.

No, they don't, because there would be a "terrifying number of" arrests.

They harbour kids who are being kids. Some people are just shocked at what kids get up to when you can monitor their every moment.

RvLeshrac:

Ickorus:
It may have been a crap game but I still don't think it was right to single out Habbo Hotel, all those kinds of games harbor a terrifying number of pedophiles.

No, they don't, because there would be a "terrifying number of" arrests.

They harbour kids who are being kids. Some people are just shocked at what kids get up to when you can monitor their every moment.

I'm sorry but it's just naive to think that there are only kids on those sites, when I was younger I played such games and I can assure you that whilst there were many kids who were simply experimenting there was also a much darker side with people who would exploit those children's curiosity on the subject.

Ickorus:

RvLeshrac:

Ickorus:
It may have been a crap game but I still don't think it was right to single out Habbo Hotel, all those kinds of games harbor a terrifying number of pedophiles.

No, they don't, because there would be a "terrifying number of" arrests.

They harbour kids who are being kids. Some people are just shocked at what kids get up to when you can monitor their every moment.

I'm sorry but it's just naive to think that there are only kids on those sites, when I was younger I played such games and I can assure you that whilst there were many kids who were simply experimenting there was also a much darker side with people who would exploit those children's curiosity on the subject.

Obviously there are going to be a few. There are going to be a few at your local playground, too.

We don't start demanding that playgrounds shut down because there's an off-chance some pedo is going to show up, though. We don't even demand 24-hour monitoring. We expect that parents are going to watch kids as they play.

Yet, somehow, when it comes to TEH INTERNETS, no one seems to give a rat's ass about parental responsibility. If a parent gives their kid 100% free reign without discussion or the most rudimentary monitoring (like, say, checking in on them at least once an hour or so), the parent should be held just as responsible as if they'd allowed the kid to jaywalk.

RvLeshrac:

Ickorus:

RvLeshrac:

No, they don't, because there would be a "terrifying number of" arrests.

They harbour kids who are being kids. Some people are just shocked at what kids get up to when you can monitor their every moment.

I'm sorry but it's just naive to think that there are only kids on those sites, when I was younger I played such games and I can assure you that whilst there were many kids who were simply experimenting there was also a much darker side with people who would exploit those children's curiosity on the subject.

Obviously there are going to be a few. There are going to be a few at your local playground, too.

We don't start demanding that playgrounds shut down because there's an off-chance some pedo is going to show up, though. We don't even demand 24-hour monitoring. We expect that parents are going to watch kids as they play.

Yet, somehow, when it comes to TEH INTERNETS, no one seems to give a rat's ass about parental responsibility. If a parent gives their kid 100% free reign without discussion or the most rudimentary monitoring (like, say, checking in on them at least once an hour or so), the parent should be held just as responsible as if they'd allowed the kid to jaywalk.

Ok, I think we got off on the wrong foot here, I actually agree with your opinion on the subject.

I was just saying that I thought it was unfair of them to single out Habbo Hotel like they did because it's fairly obvious that pedophiles are an issue with all of those games.

Ickorus:

RvLeshrac:

Ickorus:

I'm sorry but it's just naive to think that there are only kids on those sites, when I was younger I played such games and I can assure you that whilst there were many kids who were simply experimenting there was also a much darker side with people who would exploit those children's curiosity on the subject.

Obviously there are going to be a few. There are going to be a few at your local playground, too.

We don't start demanding that playgrounds shut down because there's an off-chance some pedo is going to show up, though. We don't even demand 24-hour monitoring. We expect that parents are going to watch kids as they play.

Yet, somehow, when it comes to TEH INTERNETS, no one seems to give a rat's ass about parental responsibility. If a parent gives their kid 100% free reign without discussion or the most rudimentary monitoring (like, say, checking in on them at least once an hour or so), the parent should be held just as responsible as if they'd allowed the kid to jaywalk.

Ok, I think we got off on the wrong foot here, I actually agree with your opinion on the subject.

I was just saying that I thought it was unfair of them to single out Habbo Hotel like they did because it's fairly obvious that pedophiles are an issue with all of those games.

When you say "...pedophiles are an issue with all of those games," you're falling into the misogyny/violence/whateverissuewithgameswemadeupthisweek trap. There are no more issues with games than there are with any other activity/media/social gathering, the only difference is that people are *CONSTANTLY* highlighting the bad in gaming, while giving the other things a free pass.

(Part of the problem is that much of the community isn't old enough to remember the days when every other news story was about how D&D was just a disguise for satanic rituals and orgies, or when churches would have drives encouraging parents to destroy all of the "evil secular music and games" that were 'corrupting' the minds of children.)

 

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