Safeguarding Our Members' Privacy
Collection of Information
Collection of information is usually grouped into two categories: personally identifiable information and so-called 'aggregate' information. Personally identifiable information is any information in Varsity’s possession that is associated with a specific user of our site (such as a name or address) and information we collect about how individual visitors use our site (such as the fact that a visitor likes entertainment news or has purchased certain merchandise). It does not include aggregate information, which is general demographic information (such as the total number of visitors who are more than 35 years old).
Personally Identifiable Information
Varsity.com uses personal information only for the following purposes:
to process requests and orders placed with advertisers, merchants and service providers;
to personalize content based on visitors’ interests, including making visitors aware of editorial features, advertisements, and commercial offerings that may be of interest;
to communicate with visitors;
to register a visitor for a contest or sweepstakes and to administer or make related offers from the same;
to serve visitors when they have questions or problems;
to perform normal business operations, such as billing, collection, and accounting; and
to investigate complaints and protect visitors, in compliance with the law.
Your profile information (any demographic information you provide to Varsity.com such as zip code, age, expected year of graduation and major) may be used to create personalized content, services, and marketing on Varsity.com so that we can deliver information to you based on your interests and location. In addition, Varsity.com may provide affiliates with non-personally identifiable profile information to generate aggregate reports and market research, for example, '30% of Varsity.com visitors/members are Varsity cheerleaders in the Southeast').
We use 'cookies' to deliver content specific to your interests and to save your password so that you do not have to re-enter it each time you visit the site. For more information on cookies and why we use them, please read our Varsity.com Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) page.
Agreement, Interactive Features Guidelines and policies
From time to time, we'll make our visitorship list available to carefully selected outside organizations. We may also send approved commercial communications to visitors on behalf of outside parties. If you do not want your name, address, e-mail address or other personal information to be provided for such purposes, indicate your intent by going to Visitor Preferences and choosing to opt out.
Varsity.com uses strict procedures and safeguards designed to protect the privacy of all personal information. All Varsity.com employees with access to personal information are required to follow specific practices concerning its proper handling, as specifically authorized or as required by law.
Varsity.com complies in all respects with the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986, as amended, ('ECPA'). Subject to the subpoena, warrant, consent, and court order provisions of ECPA, we must provide visitor information and/or Internet communications to the proper authorities.
Varsity.com tracks the total number of visitors to each of our pages in an aggregate form to allow us to update and improve our sites. Personally identifiable information is not extracted in this process. Varsity.com may use or disclose aggregated (not personally identifiable) information for any purpose.
A Special Note Concerning Privacy and Children Online
Although the Internet offers a wealth of information and exciting opportunities to explore, some of its content may not be suitable for children. Understandably, as the popularity of the Internet has grown, so have concerns among parents. Varsity.com believes that parents should supervise their children's online activities and suggests that they consider using parental control tools such as Cyber Patrol, and software manufacturers that help provide a child-friendly online environment.
Please instruct your children not to give us their name, address or e-mail address, or provide any personal information to anyone without your permission. It may also be wise to carefully note all the people with whom your child frequently corresponds over the Internet or on any online service.
Chat, Newsgroups, Bulletin Boards and Kids
Chat, newsgroups, and bulletin boards offer children and parents alike the unique opportunity to make friends and talk to people all over the world. Please remember, though, that these interactive features are just like other public places where strangers meet. If you allow your children to access interactive features, please remind them of the dangers involved when corresponding or communicating with strangers or new acquaintances on the Internet (especially in Chat and Newsgroups, as well as when using e-mail).
We strongly recommend that you supervise your children's activities on these areas as you would in any public area. You should help your children understand that people they do not know will be reading their notes. They should be careful when choosing what to post (particularly information about themselves), as well as when choosing the people with whom they correspond. Also, only you, as a parent, can establish which topics and individual notes are appropriate for your family, just as you would for television programs or movies.
Children and teenagers get a lot of benefit from being online, but they can also be targets of crime and exploitation in this as in any other environment. Trusting, curious, and anxious to explore this new world and the relationships it brings, children and teenagers need parental supervision and common sense advice to ensure that their experiences in 'cyberspace' are happy, healthy, and productive.
How Parents Can Reduce the Risks
Take advantage of Cyber Patrol. Also, to further restrict your child's access to discussions, forums, or bulletin boards that contain inappropriate material, some Internet sites and private bulletin boards have systems in place for parents to block out parts of the sites that they feel are inappropriate for their children. If you are concerned, you should contact the site find out how you can add these restrictions to any accounts that your children can access.
The Internet and some private bulletin boards contain areas designed specifically for adults who wish to post, view, or read sexually explicit material. Most private bulletin board operators who post such material limit access only to people who attest that they are adults but, like any other safeguards, be aware that there are always going to be cases where adults fail to enforce them or children find ways around them.
The best way to ensure that your children are having positive online experiences is to stay in touch with what they are doing. One way to do this is to spend time with your children while they're online. Have them show you what they do and ask them to teach you how to access the sites. While children and teenagers need a certain amount of privacy, they also need parental involvement and supervision in their daily lives. The same general parenting skills that apply to the 'real world' also apply while online.
If you have cause for concern about your children's online activities, talk to them. Also seek out the advice and counsel of other computer users in your area and become familiar with literature on Cyber Patrol and other filtering devices. Open communication with your children, utilization of such computer resources, and getting online yourself will help you obtain the full benefits of these devices and alert you to any potential problem that may occur with their use.
Guidelines for Parents
By taking responsibility for their children's online computer use, parents can greatly minimize the potential risks.
Make it a family rule to:
Never give out identifying information - home address, school name, or telephone number - in a public message such as chat or bulletin boards, and be sure you are dealing with someone that both you and your child know and trust before giving it out via e-mail. Think carefully before revealing any personal information such as age, marital status, or financial information. Consider using a pseudonym or unlisting your child's name from Internet sites in which they participate.
Consider keeping the computer in a family room rather than the child's bedroom. Be sure to make this a family activity. Get to know their 'online friends' just as you get to know all of their other friends.
Get to know the Internet sites your child uses. If you don't know how to get to them, get your child to show you. Find out what types of information it offers and whether there are ways for parents to block out objectionable material.
Never allow a child to arrange a face-to-face meeting with another computer user without parental permission. If a meeting is arranged, make the first one in a public spot, and be sure to accompany your child.
Never respond to messages or bulletin board items that are suggestive, obscene, belligerent, threatening, or make you feel uncomfortable. Encourage your children to tell you if they encounter such messages. If you or your child receives a message that is harassing, or of a sexual nature, or threatening, alert the appropriate law enforcement agency.
Should you become aware of the transmission, use, or viewing of child pornography while online, immediately report this Federal Bureau of Investigation and to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children by calling 1-800-843-5678.
Remember that people online may not be who they seem. Because you can't see or even hear the person, it is easy for someone to misrepresent him - or herself. Thus, someone indicating that 'she' is a '12-year-old girl' could really be a 40-year-old man.
Remember that everything you read online may not be true. Any offer that's 'too good to be true' probably is. Be very careful about any offers that involve your coming to a meeting or having someone visit your house.
Set reasonable rules and guidelines for computer use by your children. Discuss these rules and post them near the computer as a reminder. Remember to monitor their compliance with these rules, especially when it comes to the amount of time your children spend on the computer. A child or teenager's excessive use of the interactive features of the Internet, especially late at night, may be a clue that there is a potential problem.
Because some of the content on the Internet consists of material that is adult-oriented or otherwise objectionable to some people, the results of your search may automatically and unintentionally generate links or references to objectionable material. Varsity.com has no control over, and can make no claim that such surprises will not occur. Computerized search technology does not give you search results limited to only the hits that you were seeking. There may be extraneous hits as well.
Varsity.com recommends that to avoid any such surprises, you take advantage of the access controls that Varsity.com offers, as we discuss above, and be diligent in your supervision of any children you allow to use Varsity.com Internet.
For answers to specific concerns regarding privacy that are not addressed here, see our About Us and Reporting Violations sites. These sites provide information on whom and how to contact us at Varsity.com.