For anyone interested in skating there are only a few pointers you need to know. Most important of these is to have a relaxed attitude to things; if (when) you mess up you have to just shrug it off and continue. A similar principal applies to safety equipment, you don't use it (unless you are forced to) or you are doing something with a serious risk of fracturing your limbs or skull. Although if you are very young or horribly unconfident it may be tolerated. Wrist protection is strongly advised until you become competent as they are very easy to break or sprain if you fall. Secondly, you are doing this with your mates don't take it seriously. Thirdly, your doing this because it's fun and you want to do it, not because it's easy or because you are trying to impress people, however you still have to look right and act right otherwise people will think you're just doing this to pose.
Due to the nature of the sport there is no regulatory body, so you go where you want with whatever gear you want and there is no one who can say anything different to you, unless some council has banned it on whatever pavement/car park you are on. There are facilities provided in some areas as skaters complained about being thrown off everywhere.
If you intend to lear to skate, just do it. Buy a board or blades you think won't break to easily and go out with your mates. When you've learned enough to need better equipment (or think it doesn't look right) get it. Feel free, if your confident enough, to go to a skatepark and try stuff: you may be laughed at but you don't care, your just doing this to have fun.