A lot of the benefit here stems from the anonymity. It frees you to do or be anything you want to, and to be more aggressive more sexy more bad more exciting more of whatever you want. We all need or crave that freedom in some ways.
We do the right thing in life, we try to be respectable and we care about what other people think of us. We have to live with our choices in real life. In here you can experiment and be much crazier and freer than you ever would be in real life.
It’s not that we are hiding things about who we are really, we all just want to control who we are and our life a little bit more or do things a little bit differently in here. Nobody shows everything exactly as real life in here. You don’t have to and aren’t expected to 100%. But on the other hand don’t go so far that you lose credibility by having to make bigger and bigger stories.
You need enough reality to be able to relate and connect with your life here and to stay consistent. Over time people will see little things about you that lineup and make sense and make them more comfortable and feel closer, or they’ll see things that make them leery and nervous and pull back a little.
These are real people, and even more importantly these are your friends, and you have to remember and respect that. Don’t do anything to them that you wouldn’t want someone to do to you.
Don’t let the anonymity and excuse to abuse your friends. If you value your friendships, don’t make bigger and bigger stories or more and more crazy things. Sometimes lies or stories or exaggerations tend to grow and grow. It may seem exciting and fun at first but you are literally hurting the most important thing you have in here. That’s your credibility, the faith people have in you, and your relationships. That’s all you really have here, so don’t trade that for an exciting story that fizzles.
It’s great when it feels real, but just because it’s not real doesn’t mean you feel it any less. These are real people and if you stay on track things will get better and better and better, but if you start to get off track and out of balance you will crash very painfully too.
Things grow more quickly but are more fragile in imvu than real life too. It’s not meant to last like real life is. It’s got more of the live fast and die young experience and attitude. Think of it like a movie. The closer you stay to reality, and what you know, the more believable it will be and the stronger and more lasting it will be.
This place can certainly be very emotional. And while I don’t have many issues or drama personally, you still have to be safe and respect that line between virtual and real life. Once you open the door it’s hard to put the tooth paste back in the tube. It’s easy to say the wrong thing or have something get taken the wrong way and offend someone. No matter how much you love someone right now, there’s a reasonable chance they won’t always love you as much. And if they feel hurt by anything, you don’t want to give anyone, even someone you love, the ability to do anything that risks your ability to be here or worse yet hurt you in real life.
If you’re open to real life potential it’s not as cut and dry as it is for me, being married in rl. If I had to worry if anyone in the activities I’m involved in connected me with my website, I could be in trouble and forced to let it go or kill it, which would kill me. It’s not a question of trusting one person or not, but if someone just thought it was cute and nice to send flowers, something simple could cause a major problem. If someone was jealous or blamed me for their son or daughter’s activity on here, just a phone call in anger could put this at risk. I don’t want to think about this too much but I had an issue at one point from my husband about yahoo messages that he saw on my cell phone. I immediately deleted the app from my iphone to prove it wasn’t anything. That’s the closest I’ve come to having to leave but it scared me. I am addicted and I admit it, which is why I try not to risk things.
Nobody’s worth risking everything here for. I walk away from people who don’t understand that, and are asking for pictures or video cam. (especially guys because they feel much more stalker-like when they say it) But please don’t take my concern to mean I don’t love you or feel close. It’s the opposite actually, its because I do care about people here very much. I want to be able to share the things that matter, but no matter what bump or issue we have I won’t mess with that or your life. Also because of the website and my name, I also can’t really change my avi name or prevent people from accessing my website very easily. So if this is an issue with you I’m sorry, but I don’t want to risk this for anyone.
There is a lot of good and fun things in here but there’s also a lot of bad too. The anonymity of this place and the Internet makes it a magnet for people with issues. Don’t let your guard down or think that because you know someone here that you can trust them.
When you open up and feel so amazingly close to someone it’s easy to feel like you can bend the rules or you have to trust someone you love so much. Unfortunately once you let things out you never know who knows what. Remember you don’t show someone you love them by breaking the rules. You show them you love them by NOT letting them break the rules. Unfortunately when things go wrong they often go very wrong in here, and the people you’re the very closest to are the most likely to be upset and may feel hurt enough to want to hurt you.
Imvu doesn’t want to talk about it or seem to want to do anything about it either but there are child pornographers and predators in here. I know someone that was pursuing them and I’m trying to get her to tell the story. I live in and talk about the good side here. My job with this is pretty much showing how much fun it can be and trying to inspire you. But just know that there is a dark side and the rules about protecting your personal information aren’t just guides and they are there for a reason, to protect you! Enough said but know that I love you and want to help you have fun but stay safe above all.
I’ve said in here and you probably know not to give out your personal information but you also have to be careful about clicking just any URL you see in a chat if it’s not a site you’re familiar with. Just like spam, just clicking a link may be enough for someone to track where you go or have been on the Internet and could even cause you to download something malicious into your computer.
However unlike broad spam emails sent to lots of people if that person is after you specifically they may be after more than just your information, they may be after you. This is another reason why IMVU can be dangerous for kids too. So if someone sends you a link that you don’t know or it goes to a dot com domain that you don’t know and trust do not click on it. This goes for spam offers in your messages too.
Most of the links you see in here are links to the imvu catalog or image sites you know. Anything at imvu.com is safe. So is YouTube.com Pinterest.com or PhotoBucket.com or something like that. But any time someone wants you to go to a specific page site, if you don’t know them or why they’re giving it to you don’t click. If you want to look go to the root dot com domain name to see if it looks legitimate and appropriate first. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. If in doubt say its not opening and just pretend your computer is acting up. If they seem oddly insistent you’re probably smart not to click.
There are a couple churches here and some people that bring a wholesome attitude here. But there is something about the anonymity and safety of it that allows people to be much worse in here than they ever could be in real life. It’s a fantasy and I get that, as much as anyone, believe me. And we all have a dark side and it’s an awesome feeling being able to let that lose and share with people who really want that too. But this is also why it’s not appropriate for minors. IMVU can also be addictive and if you spend too much time here per day, it can make you crazy. I have seen people spend literally 60 or more hours per week here and it definitely makes you a little crazy.
I guess if you played video games for 60 hours a week it would probably make you crazy too. I think this place works on your head more though. It’s not just that you get bleary eyed like you would from shooting aliens or bad guys all day, but your emotions get bleary eyed in here. Everyone has a different tolerance and different life situations. I can’t say go get a life, because this is the majority of my social life too in a lot of ways. And if I didn’t have a family and kids I’d probably be even worse too, I’m sure.
The point is though if you are young and or have an addictive personality type, please be extra careful. It’s amazingly fun, but anything good can create issues if you abuse it. And there are always people wanting to keep you here but you have to let go and keep it in perspective sometimes too. As much as I don’t want to leave and dread missing this while I’m vacation with my family I know I need that too. And you know you do too.
This is an amazing place once you learn to let your walls down. But that’s also part of the danger and why you have to be so careful too. The danger isn’t just that someone random could assault you the way you first think. The bigger danger is how vulnerable you become when you let your walls down so much.
If I met Gabby or Holly or anyone I have a full heart connection with, in real life, I’d have no defenses and be very vulnerable to put it mildly. It’s not being physically hurt but emotionally such an open book that it would be easy to be really stupid. It’s the level and intensity of the connections that makes it dangerous.
It’s obviously dangerous to meet someone you don’t know that well but it’s also dangerous in a way to meet someone you know too well.
Sharing is what IMVU is all about in many ways, so it seems very natural to want to share a little about yourself, your life and pictures especially with someone you’re close to. They seem so honest and open with you and you love them. Well unfortunately it’s usually people that you were close to that wind up getting get hurt the most when something happens.
Unfortunately what goes up usually comes back down and can come crashing down very fast too. And what seemed safe to share at the time is suddenly very dangerous. But even if it’s not them, there’s a reason why they say once something is put on the net it never dies.
Photos you took with your cell phone record the location and phone number they were taken with. They get saved in a computer which might back things up online. Then either the computer or the backup could be hacked of just wind up revealing things. Old computers get thrown away but the hard drives aren’t usually erased or the data can still be recovered.
If I can make videos from IMVU without much technical knowledge or experience using just free software you have to assume that any webcam is being recorded. Even if the person you’re sharing it with doesn’t do anything with it, their nosy roommate or upset rl partner is finding your webcam session and suddenly it finds its way to a porn site. Then a potential employer years from now finds it doing a background check. Or a divorce attorney uses it to show you are an unfit parent.
I’m married so I have to be more careful because a phone call or chat log or two could plant enough doubt that I might have to leave (especially with all of the stuff I do on the website). Even if you’re not married there’s probably someone you care about or someone you’re going to care about that you would rather not have see everything you’ve done in here. I’m not saying you can’t but at least weigh the potential benefit of sharing your picture against the potential downside before you open that box. Remember, once you open that box you can’t undo it. Or just because it hasn’t come back to bite you yet, don’t assume it never will.
Out of all the things I’ve seen on imvu, the worst, most damaging thing in here is Jealousy. It will kill your friends and ruin your fun faster and more decisively than anything else you can do. It can creep in almost anywhere. I’ve lost friends and seen it sink whole groups in no time.
I remember in the HOLM collaring ceremony I caught a mention of jealousy not being allowed and I knew that they knew what they were doing. This place is built on sharing and trust. And if you can’t trust your partner, you’ll go crazy every time they’re on and not showing their location, or even worse when they are showing it and just one person is there.
I’ve seen people rant and make themselves and all their friends miserable for months being jealous over someone they only knew for a little while. I can’t say it strong enough, but it’s like acid that will eat up even the best people from the inside out, in no time. Love often and as much as you can but know that the only thing you have to hold anyone here where they can click away is your love. And ironically before jealous will only cause the thing you fear, to happen.
IMVU isn’t for kids. I say this as a mother and a former kid. As much as we don’t want to admit it when we’re young there is a time and place for things and this isn’t the place for kids. There are so many ways kids can chat and talk to their real friends this is just the wrong place for them. I don’t like to talk to people who say they’re 18. (people under 18 usually say they’re 18, not into their 20s)
They really need to be like 21 or more to even start to feel comfortable. And even then you’ll often get more drama. So my advice is to err on the side of caution. I probably don’t need to say that to most of the readers here but just in case, please for your own good as well as theirs this is one rule you really shouldn’t ever break for any reason. I can do a lot of fun things on here but this is a serious no no and bad for everyone.
The image above and the chat below (or on the post page if you’re looking at this on the home page) is an actual conversation I had today where someone said she was 14. When this happens just urge them as politely and sincerely not to do this. I don’t know that there’s really anything more we can do except to each do the right thing. This site is also for adults only but I still try to keep it Rated R, and use passwords if something is too strong. If you think I’ve shown too much in some area please let me know and I’ll try to do better. We can all have fun and enjoy this but have an obligation to at least try to minimize the corruption.
The world of IMVU is very powerful and in my case I’m happily married with a family, and if it crossed over it would definitely hurt my real life world. Not to mention that it suddenly becomes cheating. Even just having a conversation and talking about it can make me feel like I want to and suddenly it turns from fun and games into poison. This is an amazing place. But crossing the streams would be bad…
Try to imagine all life as we know it, stopping instantaneously and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light! Total Protonic reversal. Okay, that’s bad. Important safety tip… Don’t cross the streams.
Holly, I love you soo much and probably would break any rule for you no matter what. That’s why it scared me so much, and why it’s so hard to go there. I may not have a great life but I probably shouldn’t mess it up. I know you can relate and really had no intention to hurt anything, but it also made me think that if push came to shove, I could make the wrong choice, because I really do love you.
One of the biggest dangers with virtual relationships is that even the most powerful and heartfelt relationship can disappear instantly. If you love someone set up an emergency contact. You don’t have to give out your information, but get permission from a safe, real life friend, to give out their email address. And if you’re gone for extended period of time give one or two people here permission to contact that RL friend. Your RL friend can then contact you to see what happened and if you want them to pass anything on to the imvu contacts.
You will probably never need it, but if you were in a car accident or anything unforeseen that put you in the hospital for an extended time, it can be very hard on people not knowing. Life happens and we all have issues. But one of the hardest things to deal with in this virtual arena is the total lack of communication. Don’t put someone you love through that, calling hospitals in your area and not knowing anything.
Why keep your personal information private?
While most people keep their Real Life information very private, sometimes it’s tempting to share some of that here. We become very comfortable and share a lot of emotion so it’s natural to feel extremely close to people here. But there’s a reason why Las Vegas uses the slogan, “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” It’s because you can’t be free to really have fun in a fantasy way, if it’s going to follow you home and affect your real life. The same thing is true here in IMVU, just like in Las Vegas.
Also remember that, most murders are the result of someone very close to the victim. No matter how close you may feel to someone, and how close you may be right now, virtual relationships can be more fragile than real life relationships so there’s a good chance you will break up. And since most break ups are painful simply because you were so close and loved so deeply, if you have given too much information out a scorned partner with your real life information can cause real damage to the people and things you care about.
So share your emotions, and some general information and background to feel close. But don’t give out real last names, or anything really identifiable. This isn’t Facebook and you don’t want things you do here to be visible in the real world. You will also never regret giving out too little information, but you may very well regret giving out too much.