Is the IMVU App Safe for My Kid?
The Complete App Review for Parents
What is the IMVU App?
Description: IMVU is the #1 3D avatar-based social experience with the largest 3D world and catalog to customize your look and meet new people. You can chat with friends, roleplay and join a virtual world with millions of others. The best part? It’s totally free! Enter a virtual world simulator and social chat. IMVU is more than a life simulation – it’s a virtual life in a 3D world with an avatar that you make. Choose your life as you want it to be. Customize a 3D avatar, personalize your own animated emoji and message friends! Does life have you down? Then your dream life, love life and virtual life await in IMVU! (copied from App Store)
Category: Social media
APP Store rating: 17+ Infrequent/Mild Sexual Content and Nudity, Frequent/Intense Mature/Suggestive Themes, Infrequent/Mild Alcohol, Tobacco, or Drug Use or References, Infrequent/Mild Cartoon or Fantasy Violence, Infrequent/Mild Profanity or Crude Humor, Infrequent/Mild Horror/Fear Themes
What do parents need to know about the IMVU App?
Chat Now: The app will suggest people for you to chat with one-on-one. It will show the person’s avatar, user name, age, gender, and country as well as their profile picture. This picture may be their avatar or a user loaded picture. One of the people suggested to us was named Daddydick and the profile picture was a penis.
Chat rooms: There are a number of chat rooms that you can join. The avatars can interact as well. There are actions like blowing a kiss, bear hug, light hug, high five, etc. We ventured into a few chat rooms. One person off the bat starting calling us names and another person just kept asking us to give them gifts. Just like any chat room, you will be able to find trouble if you are looking for it. Some of the chat rooms allow your avatar to get into explicit positions with other avatars.
Access Pass: Users can buy an access pass and all of the mature content (explicit actions and nudity) is available to them. There are also Access Pass only chat rooms, which a Google search tells us is filled with virtual sex. Users need to be 18 (and go through a verification process) and have a credit card to pay for the subscription.
Addictive?: Users can earn credits to buy clothing and accessories by completing surveys or watching videos. This could become addictive if you are really wanting a certain item. Users can also buy credits with real money. There is also a feed associated with IMVU where users can post pictures. Most of the comments on these posts are ‘Likes 4 likes’ meaning that if you like their posts or friend them, then they will do the same for you. Depending on how invested someone is on gaining followers, this could become addictive.
They weren’t kidding about creating a virtual life: Users can buy a marriage badge and propose to another avatar. The two avatars will have a shared space/room, can change their names, and even get a divorce. There is also an option to buy pregnant outfits and then after 9 months you can buy a baby. There are specific pregnancy chat rooms that call themselves hospitals.
App Store rating is accurate: Parents should take note when the Apple App store considers an app to be 17+. If Apple does not think the IMVU app is appropriate for most high school students, then we can agree that it isn’t.
Hidden browser doorways and privacy: On Apple devices, you can find hidden search bars, but this is now true is most apps that we test, so it shouldn’t be a surprise. This is why locking in SafeSearch options at the operating system-level (like Apples Screen Time) or DNS level with CleanBrowsing, are so important.
Related to privacy, upon signing up for IMVU, you give them your name, avatar or username, password, email, and age. They collect location data (city, state, country, latitude, longitude, etc.) through your IP address. It is possible to make your gender, age, and location private within the app.
The bottom line: Is IMVU safe for kids?
Parents, please keep your kids away from this app. There’s no reason for it. Want to learn how to turn off the app store? Read this article about the two things every parent should know about iPhones.
Also, if your child enjoys other social media platforms, then you’ll want to consider using BARK, the only monitoring tool we recommend for social media.