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imo

imo is a free video, voice and chat app that lets you talk to your contacts one-on-one or in groups. The app also connects you to people you don’t know through turning on your location and connecting with people close by. Because of this feature, we don’t think it’s appropriate for under 18s.

4+

Official age rating

Kids use this to...

Play

Create

Learn

Connect

Our safety ratings

Overall safety rating:

Our overall rating for imo

Poor

As imo connects you with other users, we wouldn’t recommend that children under the age of 18 use the app. There is a high risk your child could talk to an adult or come across content they might find worrying or upsetting.

You should also be aware that it uses your location to connect you with people who live locally. Make sure you switch off location sharing on your child’s device if you let them use the app.

Safety features

There are no safety features or parental controls available on the app. For this reason we don’t think it’s suitable for kids under the age of 18 to use.

You should be aware that you can speak to other people on the app in both group chats and invite only ‘secret chats’. Remind your child to talk to you before accepting an invite and to never join a ‘secret chat’ with someone they don’t know.

Privacy & location

When you sign up for an account you’re asked to share your mobile number. You can set up a profile where you can choose a nickname that will appear to other users. If you decide to let your child use the app, help them pick a non-identifiable one that doesn’t mention real-names or locations.

imo has a function that allows users to connect with other people who live locally. While it doesn’t share your exact location, you should make sure you turn off location settings on your child’s device so they can’t use this feature.

Reporting & blocking

You can easily report or block another user on imo. However, you can’t report individual pieces of content. This makes it harder for inappropriate content to be deleted off the app.

Content

While exploring the app we came across content that contained sexual themes. There is a high risk your child could come across inappropriate content on this app. 

O2 Guru top tip

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Turn your location off

Make sure your location is turned off to keep your whereabouts to yourself!

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Top tips for staying safe

imo lets you connect with other users close by through turning on your location. This means you can talk to people you don’t know, either individually or in groups.

We don’t think this feature is appropriate for under 18s because it means children could be at a higher risk of being sent something inappropriate or talking someone they don’t know.

Take your child through Childline’s staying safe online page so you can talk about the risks and how to stay safe.

It’s important to remember that risks online can come from people you know as well as people you don’t but this feature doesn’t seem safe.

If you do decide to let your child use imo, we recommend exploring it together.

Talk about what you think is appropriate and what worries you but also listen to what your child thinks about the app. Be open and honest and take the time to listen.

You can also take this time to create some rules for using the app so that you both feel comfortable.

Help your child think about what they share online and who sees it. Compare it to what they would be happy to share offline.

Use examples that are easy for them to understand: “You shouldn't give your number to somebody you don't know on the street. Is somebody online you don't know any different?”

Listen to their answers. And be positive and encouraging.

Remind them that they shouldn’t share private things, such as:

  • personal information, like names, emails, phone numbers, location and school names
  • other people's personal information
  • links to join private group chats
  • photos of themselves
  • photos of their body, such as sexual photos or videos.

Your child might see or receive something upsetting or negative on imo. If this happens, they should know how to block someone.

Explore how to do this together. You should be able to do this at the top of each chat.

And remember to let your child know that they can always talk to you about worrying things they see online.

In imo, location settings should be automatically set to off and we recommend keeping it this way. It’s best to keep your child’s location private to help keep them safe. With your child, take a look at Chidline’s tips for staying safe online and have a chat about how you can use them.

If you’re concerned about your child’s whereabouts, talk to them about keeping their phone with them and turned on so that you can call or text them if you’re worried. Read our tips for keeping children safe when they’re away from home.

Explain that you understand the internet is a great place to play, create, learn and connect. But remind them they can talk to you if anything upsets or worries them.

Reassure them that you won’t overreact – you’re just looking out for them.

It’s important to remind your child that they can talk you, another adult they trust, like a teacher, or Childline about anything they see online.

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Talking to your child

Having open, regular conversations with your child will help you to really understand and explore the online world together. Our tips and advice can help you start these conversations.

Talk about staying safe online

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