Information for teenage usage

At Orkut, we aim to help teenagers and their parents learn how to navigate the Internet in a safe, responsible, and healthy way. To this end, we are working to:

  • Advise teens on how to stay safe online;
  • Advise parents on ways to ensure their children have a safe online experience;
  • Provide teens with safety tools for remaining safe on Orkut;
  • Protect children through partnerships with law enforcement and industry.

Quick notes

  • Children under 13 years are not permitted to access Orkut.
  • Teens (13-18) can use Orkut with the Safety Filter feature on.
  • Parents of teens should consider whether their teen should be supervised during his or her use of the site.
  • If you are a minor and someone has directed sexual comments towards you in a friend request, immediately block them, tell your parents, and report the incident to us.
  • If someone directs sexual comments towards a minor, their account may be deleted.

10 recommendations for teens

Orkut is a social hangout for millions of online users with different ages, backgrounds and interests. These differences offer great opportunities, but also risks -- so it's important to use common sense when using Orkut or any online service. Here's some advice about how to be smart and safe while still having fun:

  1. State your true age
  2. Orkut members must be at least 13 years old. We take extra care to protect our younger users, so it's important that users be honest about their ages when signing up for Orkut. Orkut will delete accounts of users who are younger than 13, as well as accounts of users who misrepresent their age when signing up.

  3. Protect your privacy
  4. Orkut offers you easy and powerful privacy features that helps you manage and restrict information among your different groups of Orkut friends. Make good use of all of them, and update your privacy settings frequently.

  5. Do not add strangers as friends
  6. It's fun to connect with new people from all over the world online, but remember that people are not always who they say they are, so be careful about adding strangers to your friends list. It's strongly recommended that you accept friend requests only from people you personally know and trust.

  7. Remember that Orkut is a public space
  8. Once your content or information is online, you never know who might see it. Users shouldn't post anything they wouldn't want the world to see (e.g. phone number, address or personal details). Pictures and videos are fun to share, but remember that they might be misused if they end up with the wrong person. This is true for all information online. If it is copied or re-posted by other people, you might not be able to remove every copy, and it could take on a life of its own.

  9. Think before you post
  10. Is what you are posting something you'd want your boss, future employer, parents, or future in-laws to see? Could your post put you in a potentially dangerous situation? When posting content on the internet, think about the potential consequences, including in the long-term.

  11. Harassment, hate speech and inappropriate content should be reported
  12. If you encounter inappropriate behavior on Orkut, inform your parents or a trusted adult and report it to Orkut and to the authorities. If someone has directed sexual comments toward you or sent you inappropriate content, you should immediately block them, tell a trusted adult, and report it to us as soon as possible.

  13. Cyberbullying actions
  14. Sometimes criticism and insults can lead to more serious forms of cyberbullying. Try deleting the offensive comments and blocking the user so they can't send you more messages or requests. If specific threats are made against you and you feel unsafe (for example, if the person might know personal information about you such as your name, location, or school), tell your parents or teacher and consider contacting your local law enforcement.

  15. Don't get hooked by a phishing scam
  16. Phishing is a method used by fraudsters to try to get your personal information, such as your username and password, by pretending to be part of a site you trust. If you suddenly start receiving abnormal bulletins or messages from a friend, their emails and account information might have been phished. Check to make sure these messages are really from your friends before opening any files or clicking on any links. If you think you or a friend are a victim of phishing, change your password immediately, alert your friend, and scan your computer with an updated antivirus program.

  17. Avoid in-person meetings
  18. Don't get together in person with someone you got to know online unless you are certain of their true identity, and know you will be safe with this person. Talk it over with an adult first. Take your parents or another guardian along for the meeting if you must do it.

  19. Follow general safety guidelines
  20. Finally, don't forget to follow our general safety tips for Orkut users.


Recommendations for parents

We encourage teens to speak with a trusted adult if they have concerns about something happening on Orkut or another online service. Keeping an open line of communication is critical to ensuring that your teen stays safe online. Here are some recommendations for parents:

  1. Keep computers in a central place
  2. It makes it easier for you to keep an eye on your teenager's online activities.

  3. Know where your kids go online
  4. Talk openly with your children about appropriate and secure Internet usage and online communication. Ensure that your children understand and follow all the best practices listed above.

  5. Teach Internet safety
  6. Emphasize that your children should never post, share or send identifiable photos or information over the Internet. Warn them not to download files from unknown senders, and not to visit suspicious websites. And advise them to consult a trusted adult if they are unsure about the safety and security of a website, application or file download.

  7. Beware of stranger danger
  8. Teach kids to avoid in-person meetings with people they "meet" online, and not to share personal information with online strangers. They should know that it's easy for people to pretend to be someone else online, so even people they think they may know should be checked out with a trusted adult first.

  9. Protect passwords
  10. It sounds obvious, but remind your kids not to give out their online passwords and not to click on "remember me" settings on public or shared computers, such as those at school, at the library, or at a friend's house.

  11. Teach kids to communicate responsibly
  12. A good rule to follow is that if you wouldn't say it to someone's face, don't text it, email it, instant message it, or post it as a comment on someone's page. It's also important for kids to know how to flag and report inappropriate content when they encounter it.

  13. View all content critically
  14. Just because you see it online, doesn't mean it's true. Teach kids how to distinguish reliable sources from unreliable ones and how to verify information they find online. And make sure kids understand that cutting and pasting content from a website may be plagiarism, and plagiarism is cheating (and also illegal!).

Look for additional information about cyber crime and safe Internet usage to stay on top of the latest development (the websites listed below are a good start).

Please note that according to Orkut's Content Policy children under 13 are not permitted to access Orkut, but teens who are less than 18 are allowed on Orkut with the Safety Filter feature on.


How teens can report inappropriate content

Orkut users can report any content that they consider inappropriate on Orkut, and the Orkut team review all reports.

If you're certain that you found content violating real world laws or our policies, you can report it by clicking report abuse on the left menu.

The report abuse feature is designed to let users easily notify us when they believe there may be violating content on Orkut. Users can report inappropriate content on any profile page, community page or photo on Orkut.

Additionally, individual report spam buttons are also available for users who want to report spam on their scrapbook page.

Learn more about the Orkut removal policy.


Safety tools for teenage users (13 to 18 years-old)

Privacy settings

  • Teenage user profiles will not appear in search results within Orkut, even by searching their email address, and will not be visible in Google.com web search results.
  • Teens do not have the option to share their content with everyone on Orkut. They can still share content with individual friends, all friends or friends of friends. The default setting is friends only.
  • Teenage users cannot make any profile field information public.

Safety Filter

  • The Safety Filter feature is always on for teenage users.
  • A teenage user will not be able to access mature content as identified by the Safety Filter.
  • If another user is marked as unsafe by the Orkut team, then all friend links to teenage users will be removed automatically.

Friend requests and friend suggestions

  • To send a friend request to a teenage user, one needs to know the email address of that user.
  • If another user is marked as unsafe by the Orkut team, he will not be able to send friend requests to a teenage users, even if he knows their email addresses.
  • Unsafe users will not be shown as friend suggestions to any Orkut user.

Ads

  • Teens and parents shouldn't worry with adult ads -- Orkut will always display only ads classified as family-safe.

Online resources for Internet safety

If you'd like to learn more about keeping things safe and legal on the Internet, you may be interested in checking out some of the sites below. Please know that these sites aren't necessarily connected with Orkut or Google -- they're merely resources for you to learn more about how you can protect yourself and others while surfing and posting on the web.

Websites with helpful information and tips for parents and teens:


A Common Sense approach to Internet safety


Presented by Google and Common Sense Media