From CitizenLink.com (read the full article):

3-29-2007

Online Teen Hangout Attracts Sexual Predators

from staff reports

Web site encourages teens to vicariously act out sexually.

A Colorado district attorney is warning parents about an online chat room that has already become a playground for at least one sex offender.

The Instant Messaging Virtual Universe (IMVU) Web site allows users to create 3-D avatars that can look, dress and act any way they want. With more than 5 million users, IMVU claims to be growing faster than MySpace, another popular teen site.

Prosecutors in Denver have been tracking IMVU, because its chat rooms are seen as sex-offender hangouts.

Pam Russell with the Jefferson County, Colo., D.A.’s office said IMVU is part of a new wave of chat rooms where sex offenders are able to pose as just another teen.

“They are trying to learn about these kids and want to know where they live and what they do,” she told Family News in Focus.

Michelle Collins, a spokeswoman for Missingkids.com, said parents should teach their children to follow basic Internet safety rules.

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