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Smithsonian Kids Online Privacy Statement

Effective: June 18, 2014

We at the Smithsonian are committed to protecting the privacy of our visitors under the age of 13 years old (“Children” or “Child”). This Smithsonian Kids Online Privacy Statement provides an overview of what information we may collect through our websites, online services, mobile applications, and onsite interactive activities that are geared toward Children (collectively “Kid Site(s)”) and what we may do with the information.

1. Generally Speaking, What Personal Information Might the Kid Sites Collect from Children, and How Is It Used?

Smithsonian’s Kid Sites may be designed differently, depending on their educational purpose; consequently, the information collected from Children on each Kid Site, and the way in which the information is used, may vary. Each Kid Site’s “Usage Terms,” “Rules,” or “FAQs” will provide specific information about the collection of personal information for that particular Kid Site. Generally speaking, our Kids Sites follow these practices:

  • We strive to structure our Kids Sites to be enjoyed by visitors of all ages, without having to provide personal information (i.e. as an anonymous user).
  • We do not ask Children for more personal information than is necessary for participation in an activity.
  • We give parents and legal guardians an opportunity to request changes to or deletion of personal information we have collected from their Children.
  • Once the activity and purpose for collecting the information from the Child has concluded, we delete the information.
  • If a Child sends a one-time inquiry or request, we will respond to the Child and delete the child’s personal information after we answer the question or fulfill the request.
  • If a Child wishes to send an email or postcard through a Kids Site, the only personal information we will ask for is the recipient’s e-mail address to send the email or postcard.
  • If a Child signs up for a Kids Site e-newsletter, email updates, or activity that requires multiple email contacts with a Child, we will ask the Child for his or her email address as well as the parent or legal guardian's e-mail address so we can provide notice and give the parent or legal guardian an opportunity to decline further communications from the Smithsonian to the Child.
  • If a Kids Site offers an activity or game that only requires the Child to provide a user name and parent or legal guardian’s email address, we will use the parent or legal guardian’s e-mail address to provide notice to the parent or legal guardian of the child’s interest in the activity and give the parent or legal guardian an opportunity to decline the child’s participation and/or request the deletion of the parent’s or legal guardian’s email address from our records.
  • If a Kids Site offers an activity or game that requires the Child to provide more personal information than a user name and parent or legal guardian’s e-mail address for the Child to participate in the activity (i.e. to set up a Child user account), or if the activity allows the Child to share additional information (i.e., comment on an article or blog), we will initially ask the Child for a user name and parent or legal guardian’s email address in order to contact the parent or legal guardian. We will notify the parent or legal guardian about the Child’s request to participate in the Kids Site, explain what information we need and why, and ask the parent or legal guardian to provide verifiable permission before the Child may participate.

2. What Information Do Our Kids Sites Automatically Collect?

We automatically gather and store the following information about site visitors so we can monitor site usage, traffic trends, functionality, and make technological improvements. This information is aggregated and stored. It will only be used for the Smithsonian’s internal purposes, and will not be used to contact any Child or visitor. In particular, we automatically collect:

  • The IP address used to access the Kids Site;
  • The name of the domain used to access the Internet (for example, gmail.com, if you are connecting from a Google account);
  • The type of browser and operating system used to access the Kids Site;
  • The date and time the Kids Site was accessed;
  • The pages, files, documents and links visited; and
  • The domain of the website which referred the Kid to this Website (the last website the kid visited before visiting this one), if any.

3. How Do We Use Cookies on Our Kid Sites?

In addition to information collected automatically, we use cookies to support the internal functionality of the Kids Site. Cookies in this context are small pieces of data sent from the Kids Site to a visitor’s browser, and stored in the browser while visiting the Kids Site. The cookies are not used to identify visitors over time or across websites. The information collected from the cookies is only used in the aggregate to track site usage patterns, traffic trends, and visitor behavior. Content adjustments and visitor service improvements are made based on the data derived from cookies. Cookies may be disabled by setting your browser to refuse cookies from a Kids Site, however once disabled, certain interactive elements on the Kids Site may not function properly.

4. How Do We Keep Personal Information Secure?

We take reasonable steps to design and manage our Kids Sites technology to ensure that our information technology systems, applications and information technology infrastructure are secured. As appropriate and feasible, the Smithsonian monitors network traffic to identify unauthorized attempts to access, upload, or change information, or otherwise cause damage. Unauthorized access may be punishable by law, including criminal penalties. In addition to limiting access to Children’s information to those who have a business “need to know,” the Smithsonian requires its service provides who help maintain or operate the Kids Sites to contractually agree to protectthe confidentiality, integrity, availability and security of personal information collected from Children.

5. How Can Parents or Guardians Review and Request Changes to or Deletion of Their Children’s Personal Information?

To the extent feasible, we allow parents or guardians to review personal information collected about their Children, request changes to or deletion of the information, or refuse to allow further collection or use of the information. To make any of these requests, a parent or legal guardian must contact the Smithsonian as instructed in the “Usage Terms,” “Rules,” or “FAQ” section of the particular Kids Site that collected the information. Such requests will be subject to the Smithsonian’s verification, to its satisfaction, that the requestor is in fact the Child’s parent or legal guardian.

6. When Do We Share or Disclose a Child’s Personal Information?

We may share personal information collected from a Child with our service providers who have a business “need to know” the information and have agreed to maintain its confidentiality, integrity, availability, and security. We also may be required to disclose personal information we obtained from a Child to: (1) protect the safety of a Child; (2) protect the security or integrity of the Smithsonian Websites and services; (3) respond to judicial process and take precautions against liability; (4) the Department of Justice or in certain legal proceedings when the Smithsonian, an employee of the Smithsonian, or the United States is a party to litigation or has an interest in the litigation and the use of such records is deemed relevant and necessary to the litigation; (5) a Committee of Congress in response to a formal request; and (6) any other person or entity as the Smithsonian believes is required by law. Any further sharing or disclosure requires permission from a parent or legal guardian.

7. How Do We Use Embedded Plug-Ins, Widgets, and Links?

Within the Kids Sites there may be embedded applications, plug-ins, widgets, or links to non-Smithsonian Websites (collectively “sites”). These sites operate independently and each may have its own privacy policy. When a Child visits these sites, the Child leaves the Smithsonian Website and is no longer subject to Smithsonian privacy and security policies. The Smithsonian is not responsible for the privacy or security practices or the content of other sites, and placement of such sites within Kids Sites, is not intended to be an endorsement of those sites or their content.

8. How Will You Know if We Change Our Privacy Statement?

From time to time we may update this Smithsonian Kids Online Privacy Statement. When this happens, we will notify our visitors of the new provisions by publicly posting them here. If the change is material, we will send notice to the parents and legal guardians whose email addresses we have on file.

9. Who Can You Contact With Questions?

For questions, contact us:

By mail:
Smithsonian Institution Privacy Office
PO Box 37012, MRC 041,
Washington, DC 20013-7012

By email: (privacy@si.edu).

By phone: 202-633-5214

Thanks for reading this Smithsonian Kids Online Privacy Statement. We hope you have a Seriously Amazing experience when visiting our Websites!