A good friend of mine was recently banned for life, lost all his credits and everything without warning or appeal for IMVU’s own mistake. I’ve known him for probably close to two years, and he was a decent guy not looking for trouble. His crime was being intimate with someone that said they were 22 and had AP. It turned out that the girl had lied and was 16, and her mother threw a fit. IMVU rather than fix the system and require real age verification, they attacked their customer and said it was his fault and suspended him without any recourse, without any appeal at all.
I don’t talk much or get close to anyone without AP, or even anyone that shows 21 or less in most cases. I’ve taken flack for that and people aren’t happy if I don’t feel comfortable in talking to them, but AP is supposed to be there to protect everyone (adults as much as minors). If someone gets AP and shows that they’re older, unless you have a real reason to contrary you have to be able to rely on that. And if that turns out to be a minor that’s IMVU’s FAULT for giving them AP (which is supposed to be a pass to the adult side) and shouldn’t be yours.
Unfortunately IMVU makes a lot of money off of minors in that gray area, and then even make money by banning their users, which is SICK. They could clearly fix the system and make it safer and prevent minors from getting AP if they wanted to, but they make money from it and therefore won’t. Instead they attack and blame their user who was trusting them steal everything he had without fixing anything. This is just one more example of why I say eventually you’ll HATE IMVU. IMVU Customer Service is worse than just bad, they attacks and retaliates against their own customers for complaining. It’s sad but it’s true.
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.
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.
I’m like you, I don’t back things up regularly. But when something happens to a friend I suddenly think about it again. And two incidents recently reminded me of the importance of backing up your friends. A good friend, Tammy was disabled and disappeared out of the blue and nobody ever heard a word. If you haven’t experienced this it’s the most horrible experience. IMVU can be such huge dicks sometimes.
Another friend had an issue with someone who got her password and unfriended everyone on her. Things happen, and thats when you suddenly realize that you can replace credits and rooms and clothing, but if you lose your friends you may have a real hard time getting them back. My name Kaitlyn is pretty easy but most names here are really hard to remember, especially when you’re crying.
So take just a minute and make screen shots, capturing an image of your friends page. Page down and make as many images as necessary. You’ll probably never use or even look at these. Just save them somewhere in case anything ever happens. IMVU is all about relationships and losing some of those relationships is very painful. I’m backing my friends up today and hope you do too. I hope you never need this but if you do I hope you have it. It’s free and only takes a minute to do.
Is email or texting less effective than talking or evil because you’re not actually talking to someone? Is it fake or stupid because you don’t really see the person you’re talking to? It certainly doesn’t replace talking to people in real life. You could say that email is fake or facebook friends are fake in a sense. I feel closer and more connected to friends on here than ones that I email with. There are people that get carried away with it and take it too far and spend too much time doing that. You could say that IMVU is more sexual, but a lot of people say that facebook has ruined their marriage when they hooked back up with people through it. So is facebook evil or bad?
The answer is that it’s not if you use it reasonably. Anything can be damaging or bad if you use it wrong or overdo it. Fast food or even vitamins can be bad for you if you don’t eat anything else. But that doesn’t mean it’s wrong to eat any fast food or vitamins. Yes, IMVU is addicting, but playing online games is addicting too. There are a lot of situations where IMVU can be really beneficial for people, giving them a social life that they wouldn’t have been able to have as much otherwise. I guess anything that is beneficial and so much fun is going to be addicting to some degree. And if you abuse anything it can have a downside.
I admit that I probably spend too much time on here. But the incredible fun and gratification you get here is still better for me than anything else, even when I divide it by the number of hours I’m here. So as long as it doesn’t cross over into real life, and I’m not spending too much money or taking too much time away from my family to hurt things significantly here, I think it’s a good thing. We are off the edge of the map to some degree, doing something so new that there really aren’t always answers. I guess that’s part of the reason I started this to try and figure these things out a little.
This is just one view though and there are probably as many different answers to this as there are different situations. So this is one post I think a number of people will be able to wade in on and add some perspective to.
when it comes to me, the kisses come free, but they never get all of the heart
This was a line in a Marilyn Monroe song I saw in the pilot of “Smash” on Monday. It also paralleled advice Stephanie said my sis, Gabby had given her which I thought made a good point. :-) When you first come in here and fall in IMVU love for the first time there’s almost no way to be prepared for how much you can feel, how fast and how strong it can be. It’s just one of those things that you have to experience for yourself. When you do, you’ll understand the importance of that advice, “Protect your heart.”
It’s amazing how fast things grow in here. It can definitely surprise you and catch you off guard sweeping you off your feet. It’s fun to be swept off your feet. My twin Katy said “Its amazing how many romances you get to experience and live, but it is a little scary fast.” Unfortunately it can also fall apart even faster. When what was mind blowingly good for weeks or months falls apart in a day or two, it’s going to hurt, ALOT. And I find not being able to talk to people about in real life can make it very hard too. That’s why Gabby’s advice is so important. Enjoy the ride but protect your heart a little bit too. Don’t do it to the point of being jaded or unable to enjoy the awesome rush of the mind blowing romance. But have some friends and realize that it’s the nature of the soap opera insanity sometimes.
That’s why it’s important to take your time a little (if you can) and just know that what goes up must come down, to have friends and maybe some chocolate ice cream on hand, and to know that you will get over it with some time. (I know it doesn’t feel that way at the time though, believe me we’ve all been there) I also tend to find that my experiences seem to build on each other and it’s not always the case but each new imvu romance tends to seem even more vivid and stronger than the one before. I don’t know if that’s true for everyone but the more love I feel the easier it is to love again, somehow. Anyway the point of this was to just pass on Gabby’s good advice that she gave to Stephanie. I also thought since I couldn’t pick just one of her pictures, I’d make a slideshow of the pictures with Stephanie from last night.
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.
Be careful what you say. You never know who is going to share what you said with the person you said it about, or even how many avi’s someone else may have. In this crazy place, even the most innocent looking avi can actually be a demon or vampire or anything else.
Don’t ask too many questions about real life. Protect your personal information and yourself and respect other people’s privacy. Their work for example, is kind of like politics and religion. It’s OK to ask general questions about their situation or status (married or single in virtual or real life) but don’t get into too many other areas unless they invite you.
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.