Last month the New York Times published new research revealing that many children’s apps fail to disclose their privacy policies to parents. As it turns out, only 20% of the most popular children’s apps accurately disclose their data collection practices. In light of this abysmal record on privacy, we want to take a moment to tell you about how we protect the privacy of the kids who use Zamzee.
Secondly, it’s nice to put a human face on a company. Zamzee is created by a team of people who care about kids and their well-being. Here’s a picture of us. We have our own kids, nieces or nephews that we think about as we’re developing Zamzee. If you call our office line, you’ll probably get Amy on the phone. That’s her, right in the middle. Over on the far right is Lance, our CEO.
Our passion as a team and our mission as a business is getting kids moving by making physical activity more fun. In order to do that successfully, privacy is paramount. We’ve created a safe space for your child online at zamzee.com for the express purpose of making moving fun.
So exactly how safe is Zamzee for kids? Zamzee uses the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, or COPPA for short, as a guide to make sure kids are safe on zamzee.com. For example, all kids under age 13 need parental permission to access all the features of zamzee.com, as recommended by COPPA. Establishing a user’s age and securing parental permission for those under 13 are key steps of our account registration process.
Here are a few examples of how we protect online privacy:
- Zamzee meters don’t track location. It’s simply not possible with the technology we use. The Zamzee meter tracks the intensity of your movement, and that’s it.
- We get parental permission before sharing personally identifiable information. For most users (those who sign up for Zamzee via zamzee.com), no personally identifiable information is ever shared with outside parties. But for certain users who get Zamzee through their workplace, hospital or another partner, we do share personally identifiable information – but only after we receive parent’s express knowledge and permission. For example, if given permission, we will share a user’s name, age, and movement data with their pediatrician when the user is part of a hospital wellness program.
- Zamzee users cannot share or discover any personally identifiable information about other users. The only way to know the identity of the kid behind the username is if that person has shared their Zamzee username outside of Zamzee – in person at school or via email, for example.
- It’s impossible to directly contact other users on zamzee.com. But we’ve developed some creative, safe ways for kids to personalize their Zamzee experience and socialize with other users. For example, kids create avatars to express themselves on zamzee.com. They make status updates by picking options from a dropdown menu of safe phrases (our Whamz feature). They make “friends” to view and compare their activity to their friends’ activity on the Leaderboards.
- Certain features are only accessible to older users. The ability to tweet activity updates from zamzee.com is only accessible to users over age 13.
- Parents must authorize their home address. Kids can earn rewards for physical activity, but a parent must first authorize this by giving us an address so that we can send rewards by mail. Mailing addresses are used only for the purposes of shipping rewards.
- Users might see logos from other companies on zamzee.com. Every now and then we work with companies that care about families and their health to sponsor Zamzee Challenges. That’s why you sometimes see a company logo attached to a particular Zamzee Challenge. This will always be nonobtrusive and safe. For example, users do not see direct advertising messages and they cannot click on the logo to access external websites.
- We anonymously track the way people use zamzee.com. We track the behavior of users on zamzee.com in order to improve the experience for everyone. For example, we track the number of Challenges completed and the number of Whamz sent to gauge the popularity of these features. This data is never sold nor used for advertising or marketing purposes. It’s only used to make Zamzee more awesome.
All that said, if you ever have any questions or concerns about Zamzee and how user data and privacy are protected, just email firstname.lastname@example.org. Amy or Nina will reply to you within the week.