Privacy Control on TopYa!

Privacy Is Baked In

From our launch in 2014, we’ve known that kids would be our primary users. So we “baked in” privacy controls to the product from the beginning. Not a lot of people know this because they think we’re a wide open social app – like Twitter or Instagram. Let’s set the record straight. Here are four things you need to know about how privacy is fundamental to TopYa!, as well as extra steps you can take if you’d like. 

#1: We don’t share data with third-parties that you’re not already involved with -- with the usual exceptions

We’re not an ad-supported platform. So, there is no “ad targeting” based on behavior. We do have banners, and we do promote certain skill videos to players, parents and coaches, but that’s only because they’ve joined a club or a school, and that club or school wants to make sure that the kids get the right skills to work on. Sometimes we use banners to deliver those messages.

For example, in the TopYa! Soccer app, “Prospect of the Month” is a TopYa! Contest sponsored by the Prospects Cup tournament, which is owned by Univision. We use a banner to promote this contest. The skill challenges are free, and we don’t share the players’ data with Univision. We only share the monthly winners with Univision so that they can send the prizes.

Additionally, the organizations that have access to your information are organizations that probably already have it – like the Soccer club you belong to. They can see the players’ information and their videos, but they can’t download the videos and use them outside of the app.

The exceptions to this rule are related to companies that help us deliver our service, including Amazon Web Services (video storage), Braze (Notifications), and Periscope (reporting and analysis). These service providers are all regulated by the same laws we are, and our agreements with them are governed by GDPR and COPPA. Double Click to Edit

#2: Kids skill videos can only be viewed in the app by their parents, coaches, “Fans”, and TopYa! administrators

We’re not Instagram. When a kid posts a skill video, there are only a handful of people who can see it in the app, including parents (if they have an account and are connected to the player), coaches, “Fans” and, of course, some TopYa! Staff and “virtual coaches.” Virtual coaches are the only ones who can post comments on a kid’s skill video, and what they can say is tightly controlled by our virtual coaching system, which is personally overseen by one of the company founders.

There are a couple of exceptions to these rules, but you can control them:

Head-to-Head challenge videos: These are “open challenges” to any player on the app, and this is one of our most engaging and fun features. For it to work, we need to make those videos visible to any player using the app – after all, it’s an open challenge! So when a kid posts a Head-to-Head, others can see it. We’re introducing a Parental Control to turn off this feature in the coming weeks.

Web streaming: More on your control over this in #3 below, but some of our youth sports clubs have what we call “TopYa! TV” on their websites. This allows web streaming of players’ videos to Club websites – but only players who are in the club already. (Again, see #3 below for your control over this feature.)

#3: You have control over “Web Streaming” outside of the app

Many of our youth sports club coaches, players and parents love that we can stream players’ videos to their websites. It makes these sites more engaging than just schedules and rosters. But we do know that some parents would rather not have their kids videos streaming outside of the app. So we’ve given the parents and the players control over this in two ways: 
First – any player can “lock” an individual video. The lock will prevent that video from showing up in Activity Feeds and any web streaming. Simply find the video in your Highlights section of the app and touch the lock. Done.
Second – a player or their parent can simply shut off web streaming altogether. Players can go to their new Privacy Control page and flip the switch, and Parents have a new parental control switch for each of their kids. 
Also, our marketing team knows when a video has been locked or if a player or parent has turned off web streaming. We don’t use those videos for our social media, marketing or other promotional activities. If you don’t want it streaming on the web, you probably don’t want it on our TopYa! Facebook or Instagram pages either.

#4 You Have Control over “Fans”

Having Fans is one of the social features of the app, but it’s much more privacy-focused than other social media platforms. When a player chooses to “follow” another, we send an invitation that the receiving player has to accept. Without that acceptance, no following happens. Once the invitation is accepted, the following is one-way, and the follower can see the other player’s videos in the Activity Feed -- but not vice versa. (See #3 above for how the followed player can control the Activity Feed.) Of course, we give the followed player a way to reciprocate the invitation so that the two players are fans of each other, but it’s not required.

In this sense, we’re much more like Instagram’s privacy mode, except that we’re “privacy mode by default.” (With Instagram, you need to find it and turn it on.) Also, parents can control this feature for their kids. If you don’t want your kids using this feature, you can turn this off on your Parental Controls screen for the player.

Final Thoughts

Not every app is air tight, but we think we’ve done a rock solid job of thinking through kids’ privacy. After all, most of us at TopYa! are parents as well as coaches using the app. That’s how we got started building this app in the first place.

Even with all of these controls, there are things beyond our control that you should consider based on your own values and preferences. The most important one is using your real name as your username. It’s pretty common for kids to do this, but it is something that you can change if you want. The Profile/Settings page for any user has this capability.

As always, you can reach out to us for more information, feedback or requests if you’d like:

If you want to read the legal stuff, our privacy policy is here.