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Sparkler's Privacy Policy

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Please also read Sparkler's Terms of ServiceCopyright PolicyBreach Notification Procedures, and Connecticut Terms of Service Addendum.

Last Updated September 19, 2021

Sparkler’s mission is to support families and the systems and organizations around them in promoting the early brain and child development of the family’s children. We feel privileged to participate with families in the raising of their children, and we are honored by the trust you put in us to help in this awesome and wonderful responsibility. Preserving your trust through your privacy and safety is incredibly important to us.

We will treat your data carefully, preserving your privacy according to the rules laid out in this document and to the best of our ability. Our Privacy Policy explains what information we collect, including any personally identifiable information or other data collected that could directly or indirectly identify you (“Personal Information”), why we collect it, how we use that information, and the options you have, including how to access, update and delete your information. In summary, we will only collect, use, and share your Personal Information in accordance with this Privacy Policy. This policy applies whether you access Sparkler through our mobile application or any other means, or any of our other products or services that link to this Privacy Policy (collectively, the “Service”). In addition, this Privacy Policy also covers Sparkler’s treatment of any Personal Information about our users that our Sponsoring Partners or other services might share with us.

Please note that this Privacy Policy operates in conjunction with Sparkler’s Terms of Service. It also may operate in conjunction with the contractual agreements we make with Sponsoring Partner organizations  (defined below) and customers, who may by contract enhance your privacy but cannot diminish our obligations. This policy applies to all products and services offered by Sparkler Learning, Inc (“Sparkler,” “we,” “us,” “our,” and our subsidiaries or affiliates). By using the Service, you acknowledge that you accept and agree to this Privacy Policy and the associated Terms of Service.

If you have questions about our privacy policy, please feel free to email us at privacy@playsparkler.org.

What is Sparkler?

Sparkler is a mobile app and associated services that encourage the early brain and child development of young children through *off-screen* interaction with their parent/caregiver, supported by the network of organizations that support young children including pediatricians, social service agencies, and early childhood education. This includes an extensive library of play activities; interactive mechanisms to support parent engagement, including virtual coaching, account sharing between the adults caring for an individual child, and, soon, chat functions for groups of parents; and developmental screening to help pinpoint a child’s developmental progress and mobilize a system of support from health care, education, and social service institutions around the child and family.

Parents and caregivers access and set up Sparkler accounts by downloading the Sparkler app. Basic use without an access code provided by a Sponsoring Partner allows for access to the library of content only. Use through a Sponsoring Partner (defined below), such as a school, district, family resource center, home visitor, pediatrician, or social service agency, who have a unique access code and Sparkler environment, can make coaching, messaging, interactive services and developmental screening available depending on the services selected by the Sparkler Partner. By using the access code provided by the Sponsoring Partner, you understand and agree that information Sparkler collects through your use of our Service will be shared with the Sponsoring Partner. Parents and caregivers establish child profiles within their accounts, and the Sparkler experience is organized around the activity of the individual child as reported by the parent. Children never interact independently with Sparkler: Sparkler is a service for the adults, and Sparkler accounts, profiles, and information are all provided directly or indirectly by the adult Sparkler account holders. Parents and Sparkler account holders can only view the profiles of children they have created, and/or that have been shared with them by another Sparkler user.

Please note that your participation and use of the Service is governed by our Terms of Service (“Terms”).

Who are the Sparkler “Sponsoring Partners”?

Sparkler is often made available to parents and caregivers through sponsoring or partnering organizations, which includes, but are not limited to, early childhood centers, daycares, schools, school readiness organizations, school districts, health care organizations, home visiting agencies, and social service agencies (collectively “Sponsoring Partners”). These are organizations who have independent relationships with the parents and caregivers, and are making Sparkler available to the parents and caregivers as a supportive service.

These Sponsoring Partners are subject to FERPA, HIPPA, or similar policies that align with the limitation and responsibilities laid out in this Privacy Policy and associated terms of use. Our relationship with these Sponsoring Partners is governed by contract, and includes a contract term or an assertion of commitment to these privacy policies and associated terms of use. Sponsoring Partners, as the sponsoring organization, will have access to the adult accounts and child profiles for the adults and corresponding children who are signed up through their access code, as described below. They also may trigger queries and account deletions from accounts within their Sponsoring Partner code, as described below. A Sponsoring Partner's access and authority is limited only to those accounts which it supports, and parents may opt to create accounts outside of the Sponsoring Partner by not using the Sponsoring Partner code to register with Sparkler.

What information does Sparkler collect?

We collect two types of information about you: (1) information that you voluntarily provide us by using the Sparkler Service (described below under “Information you provide to us”) and (2) information collected automatically as result of your use of the Service (described below under “Information collected automatically”).

(1) Information you provide to us

Parents and caregivers are the primary end-users of Sparkler. Staff of Sponsoring Partner organizations may also interact with our administrative interfaces, as described above. We collect and store the following types of information from each type of user:

• Account Sign-up and Profile Information: To create a Sparker account, you will be asked to provide some basic information such as your first and last name, email address, telephone number, and password. You will also be asked to create child profiles, providing a profile picture, the name, date of birth, prematurity if under two years old, and relevant information about your child.  If you register or log into your account through a third-party social network service, such as Facebook or Google, we will have access to some of your third-party account information from that service, such as your name, profile picture, unique identifier, and other information in that account, as authorized by that service. You should review such third party social network’s privacy policy for more information about their data collection practices. You have the ability to disable the connection between our Service and your third-party account at any time. We will use your account name and profile picture associated with your third-party social network service to create your profile.

• Sponsoring Partner and Program Information: If you provide a Sponsoring Partner code when you sign up, your account will be associated with a particular Sponsoring Partner (such as your school district or health care provider), and you may be asked to specify what particular program you participate in for that Sponsoring Partner (i.e. school, teacher, or doctor’s office). Sparkler may also compare your sign-in information to the rosters and other information provided by the Sponsoring Partner, to further specify the services and support you receive from that Sponsoring Partner. By connecting you with your Sponsoring Partner and program, the Service may enable and provide additional features including collaboration features within the same Sponsoring Partner and program.

• Invite An Adult Contact Information: As a parent or caregiver, you have the ability to invite other adults to view the profile for and participate in activities for the specific child profiles that you create. We will collect and store the email and phone numbers you provide with these requests, and record the linkage of your account with these others. We will treat this as Personal Information in accordance with this Privacy Policy. If these individuals would like to request deletion of their information, they may contact us directly at privacy@sparkler.org.

• Play Activity: As you use Sparkler, you will be asked to note information about the play activities you engage in with your child(ren), including noting both feedback on the child’s activity and experience and photos/videos/audio (altogether, “Play Activity Information”). This Play Activity Information cannot be viewed by the general public through our Service. Play Activity Information can only be viewed on Sparkler by you, by other Sparkler accounts you have invited to participate for that individual child, and by staff and administrators from Sparkler or the Sponsoring Partner who are involved in providing the Service to you.

• Developmental Screening: Sparkler includes a module for developmental screening, posing questions to parents about the activity of their children as a way to measure developmental level. When this module is engaged by a Sponsoring Partner, the information is similar to Play Activity Information. Responses cannot be viewed by the general public through our service. Responses to the developmental screening questionnaires can only be viewed by you, by other Sparkler accounts you have invited to participate for that child, and by staff and administrators from Sparkler or the Sparkler Sponsoring Partners who are involved in providing the Service to you.

• Coaching and Messaging: As a parent or caregiver, depending on the services accessed through the Sponsoring Partner, you may receive coaching messages through the Sparkler service, and have the ability to engage in chat/message exchanges. Sparkler also provides chat functions for parents, in chat groups that they establish for themselves. As a parent or caregiver, your name and profile photo may be displayed to the person with whom you are messaging. We will store coaching messages and chat exchanges to provide the Service. The information in coaching and/or chat exchanges is associated with your account, and will be deleted whenever your account is deleted subject to the terms of account deletion.

Our use of the information above is described below in the section “How Does Sparkler Use the Information it Collects.”

(2) Information collected automatically

Like most application-based services, we (or our service providers) may automatically receive and log information on our server logs from your device when you use the Service. For example, this could include the frequency and duration of your visits to the various parts of Sparkler. If you use Sparkler on different devices, we may link the information we collect from those different devices to help us provide a consistent Service across your different devices. If we do combine any automatically-collected information with Personal Information, we will treat the combined information as Personal Information, and it will be protected as per this Privacy Policy.

The technologies and information we automatically collect include:

Cookies and other similar technologies We (or our service providers) may use cookies or similar technologies to identify your browser or device.

Local storage: We may also use, collect and store information locally on your device using mechanisms such as browser web storage (including HTML 5) and application data caches.

Like many services, Sparkler uses these technologies to analyze trends, gather demographic information, understand your engagement with the Sparkler Mobile Application, administer the Service, tailor the Service for you, and to help the Service work better for you.

Location information: When you use a location-enabled Sparkler service, we may collect and process information about your actual location. When you do not use a location enabled service, we may infer your approximate location by examining your Network information.

Device information We may collect device-specific information such as your device type, device brand, operating system, hardware version, device settings, file and software names and types, battery and signal strength, and device identifiers. This helps us measure how the Service is performing, improve Sparkler for you on your particular device, and send you push notifications if you’ve opted in to receive them.

Mobile application information: Certain mobile applications or “apps” include a unique application number. This number and information about your installation (for example, the operating system type and application version number) may be sent to Sparkler when you install or uninstall that application, such as when you install the Sparkler App, or when that application periodically contacts our servers, such as for automatic updates. Additionally, we may receive application state and crash log information which will help with “debugging” and for improvement of the Sparkler App.

Server log information Like most online services, when you use our Service, we automatically collect and store certain information in our server logs. Examples include things like:

• Details of how you used our service, such as your activity on the Service, and the frequency and duration of your visits to the Sparkler App (similar to TV ratings that indicate how many people watched a particular show)

• IP Address

• Device event information such as crashes, system activity, hardware settings, browser type, browser language, the date and time of your request and referral URL

This information helps us make decisions about what we should work on next — for example, by showing which features are most (or least!) popular.

Information received from Sponsoring Partners and third-party sources

We may also obtain information, including Personal Information, from Sparkler Sponsoring Partners and third-party sources to update or supplement the information you provided or we collected automatically. Local law may require you to authorize the third-party to share your information with us before we can acquire it. This may include aggregated anonymous information or certain Personal Information that may be provided to us to support the provision of Sparkler services. If we receive Personal Information from Sponsoring Partners or third-parties, we will handle it in accordance with this Privacy Policy. If we directly combine information we receive from other third-parties with Personal Information that we collect through the Service, we will treat the combined information as Personal Information and handle it in accordance with this Privacy Policy. Additionally, we may use any aggregated anonymous information received by third-parties as set forth below under the heading “Aggregated Information and Non-Identifying Information”.

How does Sparkler use the information it collects?

First and foremost, you should know that Sparkler does not sell or rent any of your, or your child’s, Personal Information to any third-party for any purpose — including for advertising or marketing purposes. Third-party advertising does not happen in Sparkler. We use the information we collect from you to provide you with the best Sparkler experience. More specifically, this information is used to:

• Provide the service, including personalization of play content, virtual coaching, and interactive services

• Improve the Service, for example by developing new products and features

• Customize the Service for you, and improve your experience with it

• Send you information about features on our Service or changes to our policies and Service

• Provide parents and teachers information about Sparkler or Sponsoring Partner developments, events, and/or announcements we think will be of interest to you

• Most crucially, to protect our community by making sure the Service remains safe and secure

We use automatically collected information (described in the “Information collected automatically” section above) to provide and support our Service, and for the additional uses described in this section of our Privacy Policy.

Will Sparkler Share Any Information it Collects?

Again, please know that Sparkler does not sell or rent your (or your child’s) Personal Information to any third-party for any purpose — including for advertising or marketing purposes. We share with third-parties, including Sponsoring Partners and service providers *only* so that we can provide and improve the Sparkler service. Furthermore, we do not share Personal Information with any third-parties except in the limited circumstances described in this Privacy Policy:

We do not share Personal Information with companies, organizations and individuals outside of Sparkler unless one of the following circumstances applies:

(1) With your consent

We will share Personal Information with companies, organizations or individuals outside of Sparkler when we have your consent to do so. We require opt-in consent for the sharing of any sensitive Personal Information. Note that this includes choosing to share information or content through the Service with other Sparkler account holders through the Sparkler app — for example, sharing a child’s play, feedback and photos from play, and coaching exchanges based on that play.

Please keep in mind that information (including your Personal Information or children's Personal Information) or content that you voluntarily disclose to other providers or Sparkler account holders — including to other Sparkler users you interact with through the Service (such as messages you might send other users or other teachers and school leaders you collaborate with) — can be viewed, copied, stored, and used by the people you share it with. We cannot control the actions of people with whom you choose to share information and we are not responsible for the collection, use or disclosure of such information or content by others.

(2) With Sponsoring Partner administrators and their authorized recipients

If you access Sparkler using a Sponsoring Partner code, you are acknowledging that the Sponsoring Partner can access your account information, child profiles, Play Activities Information, and other features of Sparkler. That is, if your Sparkler account is managed for you by a Sponsoring Partner then your administrator and others who provide user support to your organization may have access to your Sparkler account information (including your email and other personal activity data). Your administrator may be able to view statistics regarding your account, like statistics regarding play and developmental screening and other portions of the Service you interact with. In signing up to sponsor Sparkler, Sponsoring Partners commit to access, use, and maintain your Sparkler data consistent with this agreement.

In some cases, Sponsoring Partner administrators will authorize authorized professional staff to view or interact with your information, usually to improve the services you receive related to the information. For example, a Sponsoring Partner administrator may make your data available to your teacher, so they can help you learn, or they may ask us to make your data available within an authorized Learning Management System or Electronic Medical Record.

Third-party integrations on our Service: When, as a parent or caregiver, you use third-party apps, websites or other services that use, or are integrated with, our Service, they may receive information about what you post or share. For example, when you sign in via Facebook or Google, these services receive the information that you share through this functionality, and information that you are sharing from Sparkler. Information collected by these apps, websites or integrated services is subject to their own terms and policies.

(3) For Service Provision

We work with vendors, service providers, and other Sponsoring Partners to help us provide the Service by performing tasks on our behalf. We may need to share or provide information (including Personal Information) to them to help them perform these business functions, for example sending emails on our behalf, database management services, database hosting, providing customer support software, analytics services, and data security. 

Generally, service providers do not have the right to use your Personal Information that we share with them beyond what is necessary to assist us. Additionally, these service providers provide Sparkler with assurances that they can and will adhere to confidentiality and security obligations in a way that is consistent with this Privacy Policy.

(4) For legal reasons

We will share Personal Information with companies, organizations or individuals outside of Sparkler if we have a good faith belief that access, use, preservation or disclosure of the information is reasonably necessary to: meet any applicable law, regulation, legal process or enforceable governmental request, enforce applicable Terms of Service, including investigation of potential violations, detect, prevent, or otherwise address fraud, security or technical issues, protect against harm to the rights, property or safety of Sparkler, our users, employees or the public as required or permitted by law.

(5) Aggregated Information and Non-Identifying Information :

We may share aggregated, non-personally identifiable information publicly, including with users, Sponsoring Partners or the press in order to, for example, demonstrate how Sparkler is used, spot industry trends, or to provide marketing materials for Sparker. Any aggregated information shared this way will not contain any Personal Information.

(6) Sharing with other Sparkler Companies and Change of Control:

Over time, Sparkler may grow and reorganize. We may share your Personal Information with affiliates such as a parent company, subsidiaries, joint venture partners or other companies that we control or that are under common control with us, in which case we will require those companies to agree to use your Personal Information in a way that is consistent with this Privacy Policy.

In the event that all or a portion of Sparkler or its assets are acquired by or merged with a third-party, Personal Information that we have collected from users would be one of the assets transferred to or acquired by that third-party. This Privacy Policy will continue to apply to your information, and any acquirer would only be able to handle your Personal Information as per this policy (unless you give consent to a new policy). 

How Does Sparkler Comply with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act?

Our Services are directed toward parents, caregivers, Sponsoring Partner organizations and their personnel  and are not directed at nor intended for use by children. We do not knowingly collect information from children under the age of 13 without parental consent. If a parent or guardian becomes aware that his or her child has provided us with information without their consent, he or she should contact us at privacy@playsparkler.org. We will delete such information from our files within a reasonable time.

How does Sparkler protect and secure my information?

The security of your Personal Information is important to us. We work hard to protect Sparkler and our users from unauthorized access to or unauthorized alteration, disclosure or destruction of information we hold. In particular, we encrypt many of our services using SSL. We review our information collection, storage and processing practices, including physical security measures, to guard against unauthorized access to systems. We restrict access to Personal Information to Sparkler employees, contractors and agents who need to know that information in order to process or manage it for us, and who are subject to strict contractual confidentiality obligations and may be disciplined or terminated if they fail to meet these obligations. When our or our contractors employees end their employment, for any reason, we revoke their access to our systems and Sparkler data systems.

Although we make concerted good faith efforts to maintain the security of Personal Information, and we work hard to ensure the integrity and security of our systems, no practices are 100% immune, and we can’t guarantee the security of information. Outages, attacks, human error, system failure, unauthorized use or other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time. If we learn of a security breach, we will follow the attached Breach Notification Procedures, which, depending on the nature and severity of the breach, may include attempting to notify you electronically (subject to any applicable laws) so that you can take appropriate protective steps. Depending on where you live, you may have a legal right to receive notice of a security breach in writing.

How can I access and manage my Personal Information?

Sparkler aims to provide you with easy access to any Personal Information we have collected about you. If that information is incorrect, we give you easy ways to update it , or to delete it, unless we have to keep that information for legitimate business (e.g., we need at least 1 email address for your account) or legal purposes.

Note that for purposes of this section and the section on deleting information, a Sponsoring Partner may make the same requests, and be afforded the same responses, as a parent or caregiver accountholder who is enrolled in their partner environment.

Managing Your Information: You may update, correct, or delete some of your or your child’s profile information or your preferences at any time by logging into your account on Sparkler and accessing your account page. You may have to verify your identity before you can do that. You may also, at any time, update, correct, or delete certain Personal Information that you have provided to us by contacting us at privacy@playsparkler.org. We will respond to your request within a reasonable timeframe.

How can I delete my account?

We hope you love using Sparkler now and always. However, if, for some reason, you ever want to delete your account (or your child’s profile, if you are his or her parent), you can do that at any time by contacting us at support@playsparkler.org.

When you delete your account, we delete your profile information and any other content you provide in your profile (such as your name, username, password, email address, and profile photos) and we disassociate and de-identify any information we preserve to continue to improve our services generally, such as Play Activity Information, developmental screening, and coaching/chat messaging. Some information that you have shared with other account holders, others have shared about you, or content other users may have copied and stored, is not part of your account and may not be deleted when you delete your account.

How long does Sparkler keep information about me?

We store your Personal Information for as long as it is necessary to provide products and Services to you, including those described above. Personal Information associated with your account will be kept until your account is deleted, unless we no longer need the data to provide products and services, in which case we will delete prior to your deleting your account. If the agreement with your Sponsoring Partner expires or is terminated, our policy is to delete the account upon such expiration or termination. Please note that during the period when you are using Sparkler, the information (including your Personal Information or children's Personal Information) or content that you voluntarily disclose to other providers or Sparkler account holders - including to other Sparkler users you interact with through the Service (such as messages you might send other users or other teachers and school leaders you collaborate with) - can be viewed, copied, stored, and used by the people you share it with. Whereas we can delete such information from our system upon your deletion of your account, such information will remain on the devices of other providers or other Sparkler account holders who have viewed, stored or used the information before you deleted your account.

Please note that we may have to retain some information after your account is closed, to comply with legal obligations, to protect the safety and security of our community or our Service, or to prevent abuse of our Terms. You can, of course, delete your account at any time, as per the “How can I delete my account?” section.

Social Media Features/Widgets

The Service may now or in the future include social media features, such as the ability to register on Sparkler or otherwise sign-in through a third-party social networking service, such as through Facebook Connect or Google (collectively "Social Media Features"). Additionally, if you decide to register on Sparkler through a Social Media Feature, Sparkler may also collect Personal Information that is already associated with your account connected to the Social Media Feature. If you choose to provide such information, during registration or otherwise, you are giving Sparkler the permission to use, share, and store it in a manner consistent with this Privacy Policy. Social Media Features are either hosted by a third-party or hosted directly on our Service. Your interactions with these Social Media Features are governed by the privacy policy of the company providing each Social Media Feature. If you are not comfortable accessing such social media websites and using such Social Media Features, please don’t use them!

Connecticut Student Data Privacy Law

We are in compliance with applicable aspects of the state’s student data privacy law, as defined in Connecticut General Statutes 10-234aa through 10-234dd. We address and comply with the law’s requirements through this Privacy Policy. Specifically, we are in compliance with the Model Terms of Service Addendum as developed by Connecticut State Department of Administrative Services, a copy of the Addendum is attached here for your reference.

How will Sparkler notify me of changes to this policy?

Our Privacy Policy may change from time to time. If Sparkler makes changes to our Privacy Policy, we will notify you by: (i) changing the Last Updated Date at the top of the Privacy Policy, or (ii) for material changes, update you at the email address we have on at least 30 days before we implement the material change. By continuing to use the Service after the revised Privacy Policy has become effective, you acknowledge that you accept and agree to the current version of the Privacy Policy.

How can I contact Sparkler with questions or complaints?

If you have any questions about this Privacy Policy or how we protect our community, please contact us at privacy@playsparkler.org.

If you have any concerns about this Privacy Policy or how we protect your information and our community, please contact us at privacy@playsparkler.org.

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