You and other Skout users belong to a community that enjoys chatting and interacting online. At the core of this are a few key tools and features that help keep the community vibrant:
We want your interactions with the Skout community to be as safe as possible. So we’ve put together some best practices on how to chat and meet, online and offline.
For those under 18, we strongly recommend that you only chat and meet with people within your age group, people you already know or with whom you have established a trusted online friendship where that person’s identity has been verified by other friends.
Nobody gets hurt in a purely online relationship (unless you count hurt feelings or cellphone thumb). When you hit it off with someone new, it's exciting to meet in person for the first time, but a little common sense goes a long way. Be smart and take some basic precautions:
Intended for you, not for them
Skout has two distinct, mutually exclusive communities: one for teenagers and one for adults. The teen community is separated into age-appropriate groups based on school grades. Community members in these groups can only communicate with peers close to their own age.
General Location Information
Unlike many location-based apps, Skout provides general rather than specific location information, empowering each community member to decide if, when and where to exchange contact information or arrange to meet in person. Community members never have to reveal any personal information except age and gender to other users.
Strict Community Management
We are obsessed with keeping our communities safe. We constantly monitor and have a zero tolerance policy for inappropriate behavior. Did you know that we ban over 40,000 devices each month for violations of our standards? With over a quarter of our staff dedicated to community management, Skout monitors 24/7 and uses proprietary technology to ensure that behavior is appropriate for our communities and for Main Street.
What do we mean by appropriate behavior? Examples of terms of service violations include:
- Minors under the age of 13 or users that have registered under a false age
- Members sending harassing or offensive messages or photos
- Members asking you for money or donations
- Fraudulent registration or profiles
- Spam or solicitation, such as invitations to call 1-900 numbers or attempts to sell products or services
- Copyright infringement
- Any other violation of Skout policies
Regulated by Your Peers
Skout can only thrive and grow with your participation, and we encourage our community to self-police. This provides an invaluable source of information on inappropriate user behavior. Reporting inappropriate behavior or if you suspect that a user is underage is as easy as clicking the Report button or emailing email@example.com. Our community managers promptly address each report, usually within 12 hours or less.
Safety Tips for Mobile/Online Use
There is no substitute for acting with caution when communicating with a stranger. You are in control of your online experience at all times – remain anonymous until you feel ready and confident that the person you’ve been chatting with is safe to meet. Remember to always trust your instincts. If you feel unsafe or threatened, cease communication and report any misbehavior immediately using our Report button or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Guard your identity.
Do not post personal contact information in your profile or username. Don't share your real name, personal phone numbers, email address, home address, place of work or any other identifying information until you have established a reasonable level of trust with the other party.
Remain anonymous until you feel comfortable.
Take advantage of the member-to-member technology utilized on Skout services that protects your identity until YOU choose to reveal it. Skout does not reveal your phone number or email address to other members.
Get to know the other person online before meeting them offline.
Use the tools available through Skout that protect your anonymity to get to know someone before meeting them in person. If you would like more information about someone, we recommend using the Internet and government resources available to everyone.
Block and/or report abusive users.
Block any member who behaves or treats you in an abusive way and report the behavior to Skout immediately. Call law enforcement if you feel threatened. Stop communicating immediately with anyone who pressures you for personal or financial information. Your involvement will help keep the community fun and enjoyable.
Always meet in public.
Meet for the first time in a populated, public location - never in a private or remote location. No walks on the beach, as romantic as that might sound.
Tell a friend.
Inform a friend or family member of your plans and when and where you're going. Be reachable and take your phone with you.
Do not do anything that would impair your judgment and cause you to make a decision you could regret.
Find your own transportation to the first meeting.
Just in case things don't work out, you need to be in control of your own ride – whether that means driving yourself or taking a taxi.
Don't leave personal items unattended.
You don't want to risk having personal information stolen. If you're drinking, keep your drink with you at all times so it can't be tampered with.
Stay in a public place.
It is best not to go back to your date's home or bring them back to yours on the first date. If your date pressures you, end the date and leave at once.
Sex with an underage person is rape.
It does not matter if that person lied about their age. It's rape and you will go to prison.