Social networks, apps and games
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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

At a glance

Kids use this to...

Play

Create

Learn

Connect

Expert view of the risks...

Sexual

Medium Risk

Violence & hatred

Medium Risk

Bullying

Medium Risk

Suicide & self-harm

Medium Risk

Drink, drugs & crime

Medium Risk

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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What you should know

 

imo is a popular app you might not have heard of

 

imo might not be as well-known as some other messaging apps, like WhatsApp or Messenger, but it’s still really popular (it’s been downloaded over 500 million times worldwide!)

 

Ask your child if they’ve heard of it and if they use it. If they do, be aware that it can connect them easily to people they don't know, so think about whether it's appropriate for them to be using.

 

imo connects you with people you don't know

 

Using your location, imo lets you connect with other people close by, including people you don't know, through the 'Big Chats' feature. This means children could see something upsetting or receive inappropriate messages. Because of this, we think the app is only appropriate for people aged 18+. If you do let your child use imo, remind them to keep this feature turned off. 

 

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.

You might want to start by asking:

  • What kinds of things do you share online?
  • Should we share everything?
  • What shouldn’t we share?

Use examples that are easy for them to understand: “You wouldn’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.

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.

And if they feel like they can’t speak to you, tell them to talk to an adult they trust, like a teacher or Childline.

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.

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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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