IMVU Website Poster Image

IMVU

Sophisticated chat world has sexual content.

What parents need to know

Educational value

IMVU wasn't created with educational intent, and we don't recommend it for learning.

 

Positive messages
Not applicable
Violence

Users can buy virtual guns and other weapons.

Sex

Explicit content is supposed to be restricted to premium areas that require age verification, but some users will find public rooms where people are talking about sexual things or simulating sex acts (with clothes on).

Language

There's no restriction on language; users in some rooms use profanity.

Consumerism

Users who don't pay for a VIP membership will see lots of third-party ads, including pop-ups and video ads as chat rooms load.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Some user profiles have references to drinking and smoking.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that IMVU (Instant Messaging Virtual Universe) is a 3-D chat world that has some adult content. The most explicit content (such as nudity) is restricted to users 18+ who buy an Access Pass, but kids might find sexual talk or behavior in public areas if they're looking for it. There's no restriction on language.

What's it about?

IMVU combines a downloadable chat program and an online social networking site that includes user profiles, messaging, groups, and other common social features. Chat rooms are rendered in 3-D, and users create avatars that can chat and perform different actions. A basic membership is free and comes with a limited number of credits, which can be used to buy avatar-related items. For about $10 a month, users can upgrade to VIP status, which gives them access to a wider variety of features, enabling them to create and host chat rooms, sell virtual goods, and more.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

IMVU gives users lots of options when it comes to avatars, rooms, and groups, but its most complex, unique features are limited to those who pay for VIP membership. Only VIPs can create content like rooms and virtual goods to sell. IMVU uses a strong verification process to keep users under 18 from getting the adult Access Pass, but there seem to be cracks in the system that allow adult content to filter out into public areas, making the site iffy for users under 18.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about Internet safety and establish rules for using the site safely and responsibly. What are the potential pitfalls of sharing personal information online? What kind of information is off-limits?

  • Why are some virtual worlds better for kids than others?

Website details

Skills:Tech Skills: digital creation
Genre:Virtual Worlds
Pricing structure:Free

This review of IMVU was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

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What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

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A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Kid, 11 years old August 8, 2010

This is not SAFE!

Well i have played and they do use cyber sex and my parents let me continue on the website but then it was an issue but i knew to get off of it when a teenager asked me where i live, whats your address,don't worry i wont hurt u,i will take care of u and i will make u feel good so i ran to my mom and i was to be asked to never be on there again the guy got in trouble and found out he was 30.so it can happen to teens to so thank u and thank u for listening!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Safety and privacy concerns
Parent of a 4 year old Written bySlumber April 6, 2011

Relax and think about the positive's that can come from con's

I am 22 and have been using IMVU for about 5 years and have seen just about everything. It is what you make it. There are millions of people using this program and even more on the internet alone. Just like you teach your children about safety's outside of IMVU and the internet. You teach them about the dangers over the internet, as well. You can't be there all the time and it's up to you to warn them ahead of time of the consequences of the decisions they could make. Over the years, I have seen IMVU make many changes and continue to change for the better. IMVU is great in many ways and myself have learned a lot from it. The people I have met on IMVU have been mostly great, everyone has there own agendas on there, but most people are respectful and if they are not its very easy to close the window and leave. You always have the power in those situations and at a even safer distance. Just like if a stranger tried to offer your kid a ride you tell them to scream for "help" and run. On IMVU or any sort of chat site you tell your kids to say NO and close the window. My aunt also use's it and it is a great way for us to keep in touch and a lot of other close friends. She allows her children to use it and controls everything they do on IMVU. They have their friends from school on it in a room that their mother picked out for them to use to hang out in. Simply, if your kids are going on there looking for sexual people and items then they are going to find it, just like in the real world. That being said it's obvious for teens and up. I think we are all aware on what it's like to be a teen. They are going to do it one way or another if they want. Probably, shouldn't be so over-protective or all your hair will fall out! =]
What other families should know
Educational value
Teen, 13 years old Written byFaralynn February 18, 2010

Pros and Cons of IMVU (warnings and advice included)

I don't mind it, but there are a few pros and cons, and unfortunately, the cons outweigh the pros. The sexual content is a bit overboard, especially in chat rooms and some groups, though luckily a some people put "18+" or "XXX" or "Rated R" in their group titles or in certain threads. Sadly, due to curiosity and natural rebellion, children will lie about their age and be accepted into these groups/rooms, even if the creator makes a homepage check or group check on the members. I'm a member, and while most groups aren't focused on sex, the ones that are are a problem. The viruses that are interconnected with the IMVU 3D chat is also a problem; they crash computers at least two weeks after installation, and slow down the computers due to the sizes of the files. Predators aren't likely to seek out your children, but just in case, it is best to keep personal information to a minimum, which means limiting the things you put on your homepage or setting it on "Friends Only" or having it so that you and only you can view your homepage, and only putting people you know and trust as friends. Naturally, that's common sense. As for parents' concerns about child safety, if you inform your child about the dangers of Internet predators and viruses(preferably starting at a young age; the younger they learn, the more instinctive the information becomes), they may think you're being a worrywart, annoying, or over-dramatic, but they will absorb the information. The customer service for IMVU is virtually non-existent; the only way to get the CEO or other members of the company to listen to your complaints, you must try almost everything, even if you're a dedicated member that's been on the site since it first began. Also, the “Help Tickets” in IMVU only give you a computer-created response, if any at all. The complaints in the forums are given an equally mechanical response, advising the member(s) to file a “Help Ticket”. However, IMVU is not all negative. Like all social networking sites, you can interact with people from around the world and make new friends, as well as keeping in touch with old ones. Unlike most, you can create virtual products and gain computer graphics skills. You can also enhance your writing skills and let your creativity blossom, though it is easy to get hooked to the idea of constant creative juices flowing in and around you, just as you can get hooked on Facebook applications and MySpace groups That does not mean IMVU is necessarily addictive; it's just fun, though it could be addictive to many. It's easy to become engulfed in the virtual world, to have it mean more than the real world, like many other games. The nudity is a problem, and I know first-hand that if another Avatar is showing nude or sexual content, you WILL see it, even without the "Access Pass" or "VIP Membership". If you're an aspiring writer or graphics creator, IMVU is great as a creative or educational outlet. If you're smart about keeping your personal information(for those that don't know, that includes your full name, age, birthday, address, school/work, and appearance) to a limit, it is a great way of meeting new people and staying in touch, as I stated before. IMVU credit-based websites and companies, like those of other virtual currencies, make money from the members by offering better deals for credits than the company itself. The language in the site is not censored as it should be, probably to help keep the size of the site to a minimum. Virus protection is highly recommended, preferably from Norton, Ad-Aware, and/or AVG, and the temptation to download the 3D Chat is probably one best ignored. Viruses can also be transferred through trusted links, so run virus scans regularly to catch any signs of viruses(if you download the Chat or not) so you can get rid of it before it can cause more than minimal damage to your computer, if any. Sticking to groups that seem appropriate – or buying products that are appropriate – for your age group will keep the sexual/drug/alcohol/violence exposure to an equally appropriate rate. Though it might seem a pain or unnecessary, if you're under 18, it would help if your parents were kept informed of any threats, inappropriate messages, disturbing content, or other things that make you feel uncomfortable; 1) so they trust you more, 2) so they can help, if possible, and/or 3) so they can inform the police if the messages/content continues. These are just suggestions, mostly for PCs since Macs are more immune to viruses, though are recommended for both, though I'm not an expert. These are just observations and recommendations from a member of IMVU.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Great messages