SmartGirl.org is a website written for and by teen girls.
This site is owned by the University of Michigan and is operated by the
Institute for Research on Women and Gender. Our mission is to create a
place on the Internet where girls can feel free and safe to express their
opinions and views on everything from the latest movies and the hottest
fashion trends to everyday issues like school, relationships and navigating
adolescence. Girls visiting the site can fill out reviews on different
products (such as books, movies and CDs), take anonymous surveys, play
games, or submit love poems, love letters and other content to be posted
on the site. Girls who become members can participate in the SmartCenter.
Protecting the safety and privacy of our users is a top
priority at SmartGirl.
- We never post, publish, rent, sell or intentionally distribute personally
identifiable information about our community.
- We invite users to voluntarily fill out surveys, which are always
- We invite users to voluntarily fill out reviews and essays for publication
on our website. Work is selected for publication regardless of whether
the user decides to include their email address with their work. If
the user includes an email address with their work, we use that only
to notify them whether their work was accepted or to admit them to membership.
After this initial notification process, emails are no longer linked
to girls' written work at SmartGirl.
- Girls' preferences are not tracked to their email addresses and SmartGirl
has never and will never direct-market to individuals based on preferences
stated in work submitted for publication.
- Apart from a one-time response to a specific request, we do not collect
any personal information from visitors under 13 years of age without
notifying their parents or getting their parents' consent. Apart from
an email address for the newsletter mailing list, we do not keep any
personal information from visitors under 13.
- Visitors or their parents may at anytime ask to have their information
updated or deleted from our databases.
- Our staff is trained to handle the email addresses of our site visitors
and they are contracted by law not to reveal any email addresses or
use them for non-SmartGirl purposes.
Personal Information Is Not Required When Visiting
SmartGirl visitors are not required to provide any personally identifiable
information (information that reveals their identity) when visiting the
site. They are free to read the web site, fill out surveys, send in reviews
and other written submissions, ask for advice and play games.
Visitors May Voluntarily Submit Personal Information
SmartGirl collects some personal information - an email address - only
in the following instances and only when requested by our users:
Notification That Work Is Accepted For Publication. SmartGirl
gives users the opportunity to write and submit product reviews, "Shining
Hour" stories, creative writings, issues, love letters and love poems
to be posted on the site. Users may ask SmartGirl to notify them whether
their submission is accepted. To do so, we collect the user's email address.
After notifying them, we delete the email address from our database.
Email Newsletter Sign Up. Users may ask to receive
our free monthly email newsletter. We collect their email address in order
to send them the newsletter each month. If they are under 13, we also
notify their parents that we are sending them the newsletter, then delete
the parents' email address. We keep the user's email address in our newsletter
database. We only use the email address to send the newsletter.
"Email Us." SmartGirl gives visitors the
opportunity to email us with questions, comments and recommendations.
We respond to these individual email addresses when appropriate and archive
the exchange for reference, legal, and administrative purposes. We do
not recontact the user, add her email address to our mailing list, or
use it for any other purpose.
In each of these instances, visitors provide their information voluntarily.
We never give or sell a visitor's personal information to anyone outside
the Institute for Research on Women and Gender. We only use the information
for the stated purposes. We do not ask for more information than we need
to fulfill our visitor's request.
Anonymity of Survey Respondents
Visitors are invited to fill out surveys about a variety of different
topics. It is completely optional for a respondent to fill out a survey
on SmartGirl. All survey responses are voluntary and ANONYMOUS. In our
standard surveys we only ask respondents their age, gender, country, and
state/province. We do not request or surreptitiously collect the names,
email or street addresses of respondents.
Visitors Who Are Under 13
For kids under 13, SmartGirl has the following policy:
- As with all visitors to our site, we do not require children to provide
us with personal information. We do not intentionally publish or distribute
any personally identifiable information about our users. We do not ask
for more information than we need. We use any information collected
only for the stated purposes.
- We collect email addresses from those under 13 only to send them the
newsletter (if they have requested it) or to answer a one-time question
or request. We do not collect full name, street address, or other contact
information from those under 13.
- If a child has asked to be put on our email newsletter mailing list,
we request her email address and her parent's email address. We use
the child's email address to send her the newsletter. We use the parent's
email address to notify the parent that we have the child's email address
and to give the parent the opportunity to remove the child from the
- If a child has asked to be notified whether her review or other written
submission has been accepted, we ask for her parent's email address.
We use it only to notify the parent about his/her child's submission
and then delete the email from our records.
- If a child has asked to participate in the SmartCenter, we request
her parent's email address. We use the parent's email address to notify
the parent that their child would like to participate in the SmartCenter
and to give the parent the opportunity to prevent the child from doing
so. After notifying the parent, the email address is deleted from the
- We do not collect name or street address from children under 13.
- Parents may at anytime request that their email address be updated
or removed from our databases. Parents may also ask to review their
child's postings in the SmartCenter at anytime.
Updating and Deleting Personal Information
The only personal information we have about any of our users is their
Deleting or Updating Membership to the SmartCenter. Members and
their parents may update or delete their child's membership at any time
by emailing us with the childs username. The subject of the email
should include the words "END MEMBERSHIP".
Deleting or Updating Newsletter Mailing List. If users or parents
wish to delete their or their child's email address from our newsletter
mailing list, they can email us using the child's email account and put
the words "UNSUBSCRIBE" in the subject heading. To update an
email address for the newsletter, unsubscribe from the old email account
and go to Newsletter to subscribe again.
Preventing future collection of personal information. At the request
of a parent, SmartGirl will work with the parent to prevent the collection
of information from their child for the newsletter or the SmartCenter.
Cookies and Other Data Collection
SmartGirl does not secretly collect personally identifiable information
from visitors. SmartGirl does collect "cookies" (a string of
numbers that identifies one computer in particular) but we cannot find
out a visitor's identify from those cookies. We use them only to eliminate
duplicate survey submissions, to track traffic patterns on the site and
to allow members access to members-only content. Cookies collected for
one purpose are not linked to cookies collected for another purpose at
SmartGirl, so even though we collect a visitor's cookie as he/she surfs
the site and we collect a cookie as he/she fills out a survey, the survey
and surfing both remain anonymous.
SmartGirl's web server collects aggregate information about our visitors'
traffic patterns and "clicking" behavior while on the site.
We cannot identify individual visitors from this information, nor do we
use it to target advertisements or content to users. We disclose this
information to third parties in aggregate form only.
Our web hosting service gives us access to certain information, most
of it in aggregate form, which they collect automatically. We only use
this information to monitor traffic levels on our website and we never
connect it to any of the preferences you state on SmartGirl. Here is the
information our hosting service gives us:
- The type of browser and operating system people's computers use to
access SmartGirl, in aggregate form
- The URLs of the websites people linked to us from
- The Internet domain people use to access us, in aggregate form (AOL,
Mindspring, Erols, for example, or your company or school)
- The IP address that domain gives out (an IP address is a number your
computer uses to get online)
- The dates and times people make visits to SmartGirl, in aggregate
- How long people stay, on average
- The pages people visit, in aggregate form
Our users' privacy and any personal information we may have about them
are kept as secure as we are able, although like every other business
entity, we cannot guarantee that this information will not be stolen.
Passwords to access data at SmartGirl are only given to those trained
to handle them safely. All SmartGirl staff members have signed confidentiality
agreements that legally obligate them not to release email addresses or
any other information about visitors.
Links to Other Sites
SmartGirl does provide links to other websites. These sites have different
privacy policies from SmartGirl. SmartGirl is not responsible for the
privacy policies of these other sites.
Get More Information About Online Privacy
Different countries have different privacy rules. In the U.S. the Children's
Online Privacy Protection Act was enacted to protect the safety and privacy
of kids online. SmartGirl is in compliance with this law and is a strong
proponent of its mission. You can learn more about the Children's Online
Privacy Protection Act by visiting the Federal Trade Commission website.
For more information about children's online privacy, you can also visit
Children's Advertising Review Unit (CARU) of the Better Business Bureau.
SmartGirl is committed to ensuring and protecting the safety and privacy
of all of its users. We at SmartGirl strive to create a safe, fun site
that girls can enjoy and that parents are happy to have their daughters
visit. If you have any questions or would like additional information,
please do not hesitate to contact us.
University of Michigan
1140 Undergraduate Science Building
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2215