IMVU & Avatars are trending dangerous ground…

Re: DA Warns of Dangerous New Chat Room – IMVU.com

(by RaycerX)

First there was MySpace.com, then Runescape, now prosecutors believe the chat room alternatives have taken an alarming turn for the worse. They have literally entered a new dimension. IMUV.com is a new, 3-D environment using animated Avatars. Avatars have generally been an Internet user’s representation of himself or herself in the form of a three-dimensional model sometimes used in computer games. IMVU participants design an Avatar which becomes a fully 3D character. They create their own persona and choreograph activities with others they meet in this chat room.

In the last two days District Attorney Investigator Mike Harris has received numerous calls from concerned parents about IMVU.com. In the interactive IMVU environment participants create a profile as in other chat rooms, but they also create how they look, act and interact with others. A quick look at the list of profiles in Colorado alone shows kids aged 11 through their teens, and adults in their 20s, 30s, and 40s.

Participants in IMVU have hundreds of options for their physical attributes including skin color, hair color and style, eyes, brows, hands, etc. They then have hundreds of options for clothing: tops, bottoms, sleepwear, shoes, gloves and accessories. The newly created persona then enters one ofa choice of several “chat” locations, waits to be approached and the visits begin. There are many choices of demeanor and actions such as “flirty”, “bashful” “angry”, and several different types of “hugs” and “kisses”. The characters look like animated kids, boys and girls. To one concerned parent, it appeared that her child was simply playing an interactive game on the computer with dolls.

District Attorney Scott Storey warns, “The use of Avatar animation on this site will make it even more appealing to younger users. It appears to kids to be a perfect world where they can create themselves to look like they want to look and dress like they want to dress. They can direct and star in their own video. In reality it is just one more resource for predators to hide behind a facade as they lure our unsuspecting children.

BlogSafety Community: IMVU and virtual sex …

This is a nice little find from Blogsafety.  Thanks to RaycerX for the heads up.

I’ve rambled enough for the day.  Thoughts anyone? 

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  1. April 10, 2007 at 11:18 am

    Hi Izzy.

    As Internet Safety Coordinator, I often tell parents as well as educators if they have questions or concerns regarding a specific website, to register and check out a said site themselves, so they can get a feel of it, and even perhaps locate their children’s profile.

    I have personally checked out this particular site and spent a bit of time there myself. As someone who has very strong opinions regarding children and social networking sites, and someone who works with hundreds and hundreds of children every week in a computer lab environment, as well as having spent countless hours researching online safety issues and concerns the past two years, the boundaries keep expanding.

    This particular site does not alarm me as much as others(stickham for example). And I must mention, that the animation/graphics on this site, I can understand why there is such a buzz.

    Parents, if there is a site you are curious or concerned about, please, register, and take a few moments to investigate.

    Jace

  2. October 9, 2007 at 6:28 pm

    This site is not suitable for teenagers. The majority of the users on this site are there for for reasons not suitable for younger teens. IMVU has lost total control over their own catalog. Adult material is easily accessible. I am created a discussion group called “Responsible IMVU users” a type of neighbourhood watch within the IMVU community. There is no question IMVU is a prefect place for sexual predators to find prey. I do not recommend any parent allow their young teen to register for this site. Only a frequent IMVU user can tell you the truth. Visit user homepages and you will see how sexually charged the website is. It’s not only sex, but violence. Gothic images of vampires covered in blood and so on. Throughout the catalog you will see low cut shirts with massive breasts. It is harder to find a conservative outfit than it is to find a sexy “stripper” outfit in the female section of the catalog. Just today i visited a site glamourizing suicide. This site SHOULD alarm you Jace. Visit my homepage and group, and see why. One more time, do not allow your children or teens access to this site unless you plan on sitting right beside them watching their every move. If you don’t look out for your kids, i am sure the predators will keep an eye on them for you.

  3. NBForrest
    January 10, 2008 at 8:48 pm

    IMVU is indeed NOT safe for teens or children.There is an extensive discussion on this matter at the following link:

    http://www.blogsafety.com/thread.jspa?threadID=1100000166&start=0

    BE WARNED some of the things that you will read about IMVU on the above forum will SHOCK you.

  4. January 21, 2008 at 1:38 am

    I’m about to turn ten, and I asked my mom if I could sign up for imvu.com. My friend signed up and asked to be my friend. So I told my mom that it was a site where you made a house and a person and “lived” in a virtual world online. Little did I know, it was a chat site. I was on the last step, about to download it, and, being the responsible kid that I am, I looked, and it didn’t look apropriate for a 5th grader. So I aked google and came to this site. I just want to say thank you so much for opening my eyes and helping realize that this is NOT kid-friendly and that this is NOT the site for me. I really appreciate it, and thanks again!

    • AiLeen
      November 17, 2014 at 4:34 am

      Wow! That’s really mature for someone your age! Great job, I’m sure your mum would be proud. 🙂

  5. panchypr
    January 30, 2008 at 1:17 am

    I am a regular IMVU user and I have to agree that this chatroom website is totally inappropriate for children and teenagers. Not only for the risk of predators, but for the risk it puts the adults members with children and teens faking their ages to ‘get to know’adults! You have no idea how many teens I have blocked and reported that were trying to pass as adults. It is not safe for NO ONE to mix adults, teens & children in a same chatroom website. Many adults at IMVU are trying hard to convince the owners of IMVU to make a separate similar website just for children & teens. That way at least an adult will have no business going there nor the adults at IMVU will feel threatened by a ‘jailbait’ minor as some call them.

    • siyou seprin
      June 20, 2015 at 11:41 am

      that is why I chose to only chat in my own room using two of my avatars to role play inuyasha and I don’t talk to people unless I have no choice
      I only wish to be by my self

  6. Raquel
    February 13, 2008 at 2:23 pm

    Hello everyone,
    My daughter is am IMVU user and yes like every other site on the web it can be a place where it can be unsuitable for teens. I do monitor her on the site and every other site she visits. I have set up blocks to certain sites and hey I am in control of what she does and when, not the other way around. For isntance, the young girl above, (Madisen January 21, 2008 at 1:38 am) she says she is 10 years old and in the 5th grader, what is she doing on a computer at 1:30am. However, I do wonder how younger users get access to some of the stuff on IMVU that is ADULT rated. You need a credit card to access the pages with adult content. So how do they get their hands on a credit card. I know every child in the USA under the age of 15 can not possibly have a credit card account, come now let’s wake up and smell the coffee. There are far more other sites on the web that should be monitor vigorously, IMVU is not the only 3D chat online, Sims, Halflife, and various others are geared towards the adult population but guess what, when we are away at work or too busy to spend time with our children, they are unsupervised and sitting in front of a monitor playing games. I have set up rules for my daughter to use while on the computer, open communication at this point in today’s society is the only way to have your kids trust you. Trust you enough to do the right thing when they are not supervised. We can not blame the creators of these online chat communities, we are the ones to blame. If we are so concern about predators, they way they use the web to lure kids, lets educate our children first before someone else does. Learning what to expect and how to distinguish harrassment from someone online can potential protect your child from predators and any other lewd activity we parents are concerned about. I always say Communicate, Educate and Facilitate, the basic needs for a child preparedness in today’s harsh world.

  7. Becca
    May 7, 2008 at 10:31 pm

    I agree imvu is not for kids or young teens but i joined imvu about 4 months ago and i only talk to people that are going to talk appropreatly being im 13 i dont want to learn and get sextual and what not

  8. David
    July 22, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    It does seem interesting that imvu clearly has no real security at all, anyone can join, no email validation needed, once on can upload pics and take them and become creator easily, if got cash. Imvu does nothing to put in safe guards to stop ufi and ap stuff coming through to GA area. Anyone can lie about their age also, giving them access then to the younger teen search options, a haven for sexual predators and pedophile putting at serious risks young teenagers on imvu: The following puts it rather well I feel:
    http://www.commonsensemedia.org/website-reviews/imvu
    parents & educators say
    75% say language is an issue
    75% say sexual content is an issue
    What parents need to know
    Parents need to know that the anime feel of this beautiful 3-D social networking site will encourage younger teens to log on, but it really isn’t for kids. To access most of the content (nudity and raunchy catalog items), you need to pay $20. You need credits to buy stuff for your avatar, and teens can get creative by designing and selling catalog items or public rooms.
    Sex: Many user home pages have sexual innuendo, racy graphics,…Many user home pages have sexual innuendo, racy graphics, and titillating discussion.
    Language: Many home pages are full of swearing. …Many home pages are full of swearing.
    Drinking, drugs, & smoking: Found on user home pages. …Found on user home pages.
    Privacy & safety: Kids can potentially give away personal information….
    ————————————————————————————–
    Another thing to is I noticed a pedophile chatting on line with other kids and that is why I cancelled the whole thing. This company attracts pedophile, crooks, and software is very hard to remove in your hard drive.
    http://www.consumeraffairs.com/online/imvu.html
    ————————————————————————————-
    Here is what one mother says about the safety of imvu from http://www.blogsafety.com
    My 10 year old has an account on this site & has somehow set up her own email address. I can’t even contact them to get it deleted! I am annoyed that these sites seem 2 manage 2 slip through parental security settings on the computer. It means we have to watch over their shoulders the whole time they r online and lock the computer away at bedtime! So much for the innocence of children these sites are deliberately luring in young teens who want 2 be young teens too early! there should b tighter security & better checks made by the sites themselves. They only delete accounts that r reported to them, they should have ways of preventing these accounts from even being set up other than trusting that a child wanting something other kids have got will tell the truth and not have it! Maybe if site owners began getting sued by the parents of the children they had allowed to view innapropriate content, they would have some better security.
    ————————————————————————————-
    To highlight the possible dangers on imvu: A postman admitted grooming hundreds of children for sex over a five-year period, using social networking sites to prey on his victims. Michael Williams, 28, from Penryn, Cornwall, yesterday pleaded guilty to 27 child sex offences, including sexual activity with a child aged between 13 and 15, grooming and voyeurism, when he appeared at Truro Crown Court. Williams asked for 460 similar offences to be taken into consideration. From 2005 to 2009, Williams pursued hundreds of schoolchildren, on Facebook and Bebo, pretending to be a child. After befriending children he sent them questionnaires, asked where they lived, asking for mobile numbers, and if they had had sex. He would often ask them to use an internet video camera, or webcam. Detective Inspector Simon Snell said after the guilty plea: “He is a manipulative and predatory paedophile.”
    Williams has been remanded in custody for psychiatric reports and will be sentenced on a date to be fixed. A Facebook spokesman said the company was “deeply concerned” by the scale of the crimes committed by Williams.
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/postman-admits-internet-grooming-1986199.html
    Given the nature of profiles on imvu and stuff going on in chat rooms as well as the shopping area at times with graphic sexual images in GA this has to be a real cause for concern to say the least.
    ————————————————————————————-
    Re: IMVU and virtual sex
    Oct 2, 2010 10:04 AM
    I have 3 daughters on this website. I read each of their messages and check out all of their friends everyday. They tell me who they’ve added and the age they said they were. But of course you can’t trust anyone on the internet. This website I would say isn’t the safest,or the best. I love my kids very much and I would hope that some freak wouldn’t find them and harm them in any way. I trust my oldest daughter on this website she is 14 years old and is very mature about what she says on this website and know what NOT to say to boys that she meets, or even girls. I talk to them and find out what has happend.. But it was very interesting when a 30 year old man called for my daughter Hollie,She was scared and left for about a year or so.. later on she decided to re-join. Since then, no problems at all and lets hope there won’t be.
    http://www.blogsafety.com

    • Who Cares Who I Am
      July 31, 2011 at 2:57 pm

      The information you are receiving from blogsafety.com is mainly from people who are expressing sour grapes due to the fact that they can no longer have legally their pixel animated appendages (the males who continually bash IMVU on blogsafety). If parents would parent their children instead of doing who knows what and allowing the kids to do whatever in the heck the kids want, there wouldn’t be an issue of kids seeing the things that many in the IMVU community continually report and the items are removed from the catalog. There are many of us who try to do our part when we see something glaring in the catalog. I will not waste my time combing through the catalog to find each and every item that for the most part are not that awful. Come on – grow up – the majority of children who are 15 or 16 watch porn movies on their TVs at home (at least in the civilized world that isn’t overrun with FAKE CHRISTIANS TRYING TO SHOVE THEIR BRAND OF RELIGION DOWN OTHER PEOPLE’S THROATS). There are several ways to report non-compliant virtual goods that are in the catalog. There are also several ways to report inappropriate homepages. Many of us report things on a hit and miss basis because we do have other sites we are members of, we create items that are in compliance with the rules for the IMVU catalog, we have real lives that need tending too, and many of us are the parents of adults and do not feel it’s our job to babysit other people’s children. I personally rarely report anything on IMVU as quite frankly I don’t care – my child is an adult and even if he were 15 or 16, I wouldn’t care if he saw pixel stuff – at least it’s not real stuff and he knew how to take care of himself when he was a teenager in order to not have some pervy person stalk or prey upon him. You see, I parented my son – I talked to him – I told him about the facts of life at an appropriate age that I saw fit since I was his parent (it’s no one else’s business how one parent chooses or doesn’t choose to educate their children about the birds and the bees). GIVE IT A REST ALREADY – IMVU IS SAFER THAN MOST OF THE REST OF THE NET. And, you dumbbells need to quit spamming all over IMVU – you guys will be facing federal as well as international extortion charges. And, you also will be facing federal and international cyber-bullying charges. Many of us know who you are – you hide behind guest accounts you make one day, spam the heck out of IMVU, and then make more accounts. You all need to get a life!!!

    • siyou seprin
      June 20, 2015 at 11:48 am

      you know how they sell the credit things in stores they could sell all their things there like the ap and require you show an id
      to the register and the store clerk would activate it and this could prove the age of the person because an id was required

  9. David
    July 22, 2011 at 5:43 pm

    They get access to it cause the system it flawed and they know it and do nothing about it, so only takes so many votes and most pass it in GA and if it fails, the bad guys/girls just re-submit it again and again, until it passes.
    Then a guest who comes across it can have it. Also black market stuff being made to demand, pay in advance, paypal, total fraud and he goes on the site, gets it through, hides it, and gifts it and so called guarantees it for 20 days. I’d not trust them with my credit card.

    As for profiles, guests are allowed without approval needed to take pics and upload pics to their profiles, so these can be of a porn sexual nature.

    They rely on people to flag, but rock the boat too much and you get banned.

    Complain too much on the forum and you get banned and or your posts locked and removed.

    Good point of contact would be, thanks to a site called jigsaw.com:

    [Personal contact information removed by Blog owner due to rights to individual privacy, and author’s wish to NOT be a part of harassment. -izzy]

    I can not guarantee a reply, but unless people start to act, inform the owners, stand up, go to lawyers and media press and US safety child sites and get the word out, this will be allowed to continue and the danger of that are what I posted above, with the postman over there in the UK that groomed kids.
    Some of these young girls think it’s great to be showing the panties and naked breasts at 16 years old. But if they knew the half of it, might be less keen, and not take much to pretend to be a 15 year old boy, cause, well, just join, simple, no real safe guards at all, which is totally SHOCKING to say the least, only terms of service and a safety web-page, big deal, like most read them when they join.
    Easy to blame the parents, can not lock them up 24 hours a day, when I was at school, peer pressure came on films, felt left out if you not watched terminator or whatever.
    Now it is likely imvu and virtual sites, played like is only a game.

    But given the language and sexual content it goes FAR further than a game, involves real lives and many are screwed up and lonely and dying and sexual, and so you can get an explosive mix at times.

    I’m not keen on kids myself, don’t want any, but I respect those that do and so if you agree, stand with me, to put pressure on imvu, and contact owners and CEO and directors and marketing people and media and join imvu itself and voice your concerns.

    Otherwise I FEAR only a matter of time, if not happened already, some young girl meets a guy through there and is raped. Or worse still killed.

  10. Philippa
    July 24, 2011 at 9:05 am

    The original concern was raised in 2007.
    IMVU has many safety mechanisms in place nowadays. While some pornographic and adult material does get placed in the catalogue every week by criminal organisations and those who do not care about the rules, a single flag for sexually explicit material gets the item removed, usually within a few hours.
    All items go through Peer Review, where other users check them. Unfortunately many users neither know nor care about the rules (PR is paid) and so pass anything, but if a product gets one fail for sexually explicit material, then it goes for staff review.

    The mother who allowed her 10yr old daughter on the site should be removing the kid’s computer and not give it back until she is older. The minimum age for an IMVU account is 13 and any parent who finds their younger child on it CAN file a help ticket (without making an IMVU account) and get the account removed.

    IMVU has in place methods to report inappropriate chats and abusive messages.
    So long as children know how to use those methods and actually do report and block they should be able to chat safely.
    People with accounts that list an over 18 age cannot find the chatrooms of under 18s and vice versa.
    Adults caught using a child’s age on their account are disabled.
    Children caught using an adult age on their account are also disabled but are given a chance to correct the information and have the account re-enabled.

    Is there still porn on the site?
    Yes, because people will always find ways around to get it in there. many feel that adults have some sort of god-given right to be able to have pixel sex, and many kids want to know what they are missing. The most that is actually allowed on the adult side of site is nudity and some static (but not animated) intimate poses, but some will always want more.

    The general audience site has a minimum coverage guide that all clothing must adhere to. A single pixel over the line and the product must be rated adult.

    Are there inappropriate things allowed in the General Audience part of the site?
    Yes, personally I think that there are, but that is personal opinion about where the line of ‘acceptible’ lies. I totally agree with the earlier poster who says that any parent whose child wants to register on this site MUST make their own account, go to the forums, the groups, and the chatrooms and find out for themselves.

    Personally I would not allow anyone under 15 and even then they should be taught about internet safety. Even adults are being fooled by the scammers and phishers that roam the chatrooms.
    Many people enjoy this site purely for the artwork and roleplaying, but of course the minority who want sex will always try to spoil things for the others.

    I have been using the site for over 3 yrs now. Yes you have to be careful which chat rooms you go in. Yes, there are chatrooms that contain inappropriate material (most set up by under 18s) and those are removed when flagged, but someone has to flag.

    Could the company do more?
    Yes they could.
    Are they doing nothing? Far from it. Steps taken iover this last year have dramatically reduced the porn in the general audience side. Because of recent changes to membership rules, the fraudsters placing the porn (who know that it will sell, they’ll get the money and run, the product gets removed, customer loses out) now have to pay $20 now to register each new creator account. So their profits are slashed. It is harder for them to get the stuff through PR now, and it’s removed faster.

    The dangers in chat rooms can be reduced by the customers themselves actually reading the rules, knowing what is allowed, and reporting anyone who starts an inappropriate conversation.

  11. Cheri
    July 30, 2011 at 11:24 am

    I am an IMVU user and I agree that children should not be on IMVU and there should be tons more parents like Raquel. I am a parent and my son begs me to play IMVU because he see me as a creator. Yes I let him play other computer games, but not IMVU. There are many reasons for not letting him play it. He has asked why and I have told him and he understands. IMVU can be very misleading to some because it allows you to make up any age or sex for your avatar. There are women who come on here and make their avatars men and men who make their avatars women and they play games with your head. I have used IMVU for the last four years and watched so much change. As for IMVU protecting the children I beleive they are doing all they can. They provide AP (ACCESS PASS) which is used for adults only, but here is the thing, children can lie about their ages and use mommy and daddy’s credit card and bam. They have AP which leads them into the adult world. This is where the parent should kick in and be like Raquel and monitor what their children are doing on the computer. So IMVU is safe as long as the children are being monitored. You can not just sue IMVU, it is the parents too.

    • siyou seprin
      June 20, 2015 at 12:00 pm

      just let your kid play the sims it is kinda the same the only thing is it is off line

      imvu could help this if they made an offline version solely made to be like a game to allow people to create their own content for personal use but are not able to use while chatting online so that those of us with the accounts don’t have to worry about losing it if we loose the internet for more then a year

      but they wont do this
      imvu would be more fun as a game then a chat site alone

      and they could make two different sites one for kids and teens alone and the other for adults who want to do hentai things or people like me who just want to rp by our selfs in our room to keep our role play ability up

      hentai means sexual
      my puzzling thought is why is there a marriage package
      marriage has no point on a place like imvu
      because sex is a part of marriage and some actually married people would like to use that with their husbands but cant because the site cant verify you are the age you say you are even though you have the access pass pack

  12. July 10, 2014 at 3:04 am

    IMVU.com is a chat feature no different than any other chat feature OTHER THAN you have a virtual world and avatar. Children need to be monitored at all times by an adult when going online FOR ANYTHING. IMVU does have an age restriction and there are children which will create accounts and lie about their age. IMVU offers Age Verification of which one needs a credit card, after the Age Verification is processed only then can that person purchase the AP for their avatar. It is not IMVU’s fault that minors access their website and lie about their age. Over all it is the parents SOLE responsibility to watch their children. My daughter meets the age requirements of IMVU but is not allowed to be on it for obvious reasons. Predators do access this site, as well as Facebook.com, Twitter.com, Myspace.com, etc. Do not point blame on a website, music, movie, or video game when your child comes up missing or molested. It falls on the parents, be a parent and stop letting the world wide web raise your kid!!!

  13. George
    October 1, 2014 at 8:02 pm

    I don’t think anyone should use IMVU: kids and adults. The website ask for personal info and stores them without deleting them. Sharing accounts is common though IMVU tries to say that they are against sharing accounts. So you might submit your IS or passport photo and any other bully can access it. IMVU does not delete such info and holds the person sending it as responsible.

    The harassment allowed on IMVU is not tolerable and if nothing is done to that website then many people will be hurt financially and emotionally.

    I can write a book about my 7 years bad experience I had on IMVU, as adult. using IMVU was the most stupid thing I did in my life but I cannot change the past. However, I will do my best to help others to avoid using this scam website called IMVU

  14. April 11, 2015 at 10:52 am

    Oh a social networking site not safe for children and young teenagers? When did the internet become a place so hostile?

    That was my way of saying duhhhhhhhhhh. It’s a round the world social media site, of course it’s not safe for the extremely young. That’s why parents shouldn’t let their kids do these sort of things. Or at least if they do let them at least make sure their kids aren’t completely ignorant and moronic before they make an account. I use it, but I’m not 12.

    And FYI, people really need to start learning how to work with computer security and stop going on there with cheap s*** Firewalls provided by their internet support or the stock Fire wall that comes in their computers and learn how to get the best and learn to use their Virus removers before going on any public social media.

    Stop complaining about hackers if you’re just going to use garbage for protection. The site operators can’t do everything by them selves and quit bitching about adult content. It’s obviously a site more suited for adults, then that is what it should be used for. If kids lie about their age, that isn’t the fault of the web site, that’s the fact you raised horrible kids. Next it’ll be fake ID’s then who are you going to blame? The DMV?

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