FamilyConnect User Agreement

Terms of Use

Privacy Policy

Message Board Use and Guidelines

Terms of Use

  1. The FamilyConnect® web site is a complimentary information and interactive community service offered by the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) and the National Association for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments (NAPVI). Access to and use of the web site and service are subject to the terms and conditions of this User Agreement and all applicable laws and regulations, including laws and regulations governing copyright and trademark. BY ACCESSING FAMILYCONNECT, YOU ACCEPT, WITHOUT LIMITATION OR QUALIFICATION, ALL OF THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS IN THIS USER AGREEMENT. FamilyConnect reserves the right to change these terms and conditions at any time. By using the web site, you agree in advance to accept any changes.

  2. If you register to use FamilyConnect services you will be required to provide the following information: your name, e-mail address, zip code, child's birth date, user name, and password. You agree not to provide any false personal information on FamilyConnect, or to create an account for anyone other than yourself without permission. You also agree not to use FamilyConnect if you are under 13. You will not use FamilyConnect if you are a convicted sex offender. Any information provided by you or gathered by FamilyConnect during a visit to the web site will be subject to the terms of FamilyConnect's Privacy Policy, which are incorporated herein by reference.

  3. The materials used and displayed on the FamilyConnect web site, including but not limited to text, software, photographs, graphics, illustrations and artwork, video, music and sound, and names, logos, trademarks and service marks, are the property of FamilyConnect or its partners and are protected by copyright, trademark and other laws. Any such content may be displayed solely for your personal, non-commercial use. You agree not to modify, reproduce, retransmit, distribute, disseminate, sell, publish, broadcast or circulate any such material without the written permission of FamilyConnect.

  4. FamilyConnect contains information, facts and opinions from various individuals and organizations. THE SERVICE AND THE SITE ARE PROVIDED ON AN "AS IS" BASIS WITHOUT WARRANTIES OF ANY KIND, EITHER EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO WARRANTIES OF TITLE OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, OTHER THAN THOSE WARRANTIES WHICH ARE IMPOSED BY AND INCAPABLE OF EXCLUSION, RESTRICTION OR MODIFICATION UNDER THE LAWS APPLICABLE TO THIS AGREEMENT. NEITHER FAMILYCONNECT NOR ITS PARTNERS OR DESIGNEES ENDORSE OR ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ACCURACY OR RELIABILITY OF ANY OPINION, ADVICE OR STATEMENT ON THE SERVICE OR THE SITES. The information, facts, and opinions provided are for informational purposes and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical, legal, financial, or educational advice.

  5. FamilyConnect includes message boards, blogs, a calendar of events, announcements, and other user and member created pages which allow you and other users and members to post information, provide feedback to FamilyConnect and its partners, and interact with one another. The FamilyFriends service includes friend recommendations, which are suggestions of parents whose self-reported information matches the details you have provided about your own location and your child's age and conditions. The choice of friends is completely at your discretion and that of other members on the site. You can give friends access to your basic profile only, or full access. You can change a friend's level of access, or remove them, at any time.

    You agree not to post or transmit any unlawful, harmful, threatening, abusive, harassing, defamatory, vulgar, obscene, profane, hateful, racially, ethnically or otherwise objectionable material of any kind, including, but not limited to, any material which encourages conduct that would constitute a criminal offense, violate the rights of others, or otherwise violate any applicable local, state, national or international law. You will be responsible for, and indemnify and hold harmless FamilyConnect, its partners, and designees against any claim arising from any material that you post or transmit.

    Although FamilyConnect and its designees may from time to time monitor or review discussions, postings, transmissions, message boards and other user and member generated pages on the web site, neither FamilyConnect nor its partners or representatives is under any obligation to do so. You acknowledge that FamilyConnect and its partners do not control the information available on the message boards, blogs, and other user and member generated pages and that any opinions, advice, statements, services, offers or other information or content presented or disseminated on any message board or on any other user or member generated pages are those of their respective authors who are solely liable for their content. FamilyConnect and its partners reserve the right, in their sole discretion, to edit, move, refuse to post or delete any material submitted to or posted on the message boards or on any other user or member generated pages, such as status updates, comments, or recommended links. You agree that you must evaluate and bear all risks associated with the use of any content, including any reliance on the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of such content.

  6. Your use of the FamilyConnect web site is at your own risk. NEITHER AFB, NOR NAPVI, NOR ANY OF ITS PARTNERS OR DESIGNEES SHALL BE LIABLE TO YOU OR ANYONE ELSE FOR ANY LOSS OR INJURY OR ANY DIRECT, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, CONSEQUENTIAL, SPECIAL, PUNITIVE OR SIMILAR DAMAGES ARISING OUT OF YOUR ACCESS OR USE OF, OR YOUR INABILITY TO ACCESS OR USE, THE SERVICE AND THE SITES AND THE INFORMATION AVAILABLE ON THE SERVICE AND THE SITES OR ARISING OUT OF ANY ACTION TAKEN IN RESPONSE TO OR AS A RESULT OF ANY INFORMATION AVAILABLE ON THE SERVICE AND THE SITES. YOU HEREBY WAIVE ANY AND ALL CLAIMS AGAINST AFB, OR NAPVI, OR ITS PARTNERS OR DESIGNEES ARISING OUT OF YOUR USE OF FAMILYCONNECT AND THE INFORMATION AVAILABLE THEREON.

  7. FamilyConnect's FamilyFriends service allows you to upload, transmit, publish, disseminate, and/or otherwise make available text and pictures ("submissions") for the purposes of sharing such submissions through the service. When you make copyrightable submissions available on or through the service, you retain ownership of any copyright you claim to your submissions. You also represent and warrant—with respect to all submissions that you upload, transmit, publish, disseminate, and/or otherwise make available through the service—that you have all the rights and licenses necessary to use, reproduce, publish, display publicly, perform publicly (including by means of digital audio transmission), distribute, and/or otherwise exploit such submissions in connection with the service (and to grant to FamilyConnect the licenses set forth in this agreement), and that your submissions will not infringe or otherwise violate the rights of any third party including, but not limited to, the copyright, trademark, privacy, and/or publicity rights of any third party.

    By posting a submission, you hereby do and shall grant to FamilyConnect (and its partners, affiliates, and third party service providers) a worldwide, non-exclusive, perpetual, irrevocable, royalty-free, fully paid, sublicensable, and transferable license to use, reproduce, modify, create derivative works from, distribute, publicly display, publicly perform (including by means of digital audio transmission), and otherwise exploit your submission on and in connection with the service and for any purpose and in any medium, by any means currently existing or yet to be devised. You also hereby do and shall grant to each user of the service a non-exclusive license to access and view your submission through the service, and to use, reproduce, modify or create derivative works based thereon, distribute, publicly display, and publicly perform (including by means of digital audio transmission) such user content as permitted through the functionality of the service.

    By using the FamilyFriends service, you acknowledge and agree that FamilyConnect does not guarantee access to and hosting of submissions that are shared via the service. For example, if a submission violates these Terms of Use, access to it may be disabled. Also, if a particular piece of content creates too large a demand on the service, it may result in access to the content being temporarily or permanently disabled.

  8. FamilyConnect provides links to other web sites which are not under the control of FamilyConnect. FamilyConnect also allows its users to post links they like to their own profile. These links are provided for convenience of reference only and are not intended as an endorsement of the organization or individual operating the web site. Your use of such web sites is at your own risk. You acknowledge that the use of any advice, opinion, recommendation, statement or other information displayed, linked to, or distributed through FamilyConnect is at your own risk.

  9. FamilyConnect reserves the right at any time to modify or discontinue, temporarily or permanently, the service (or any part thereof) with or without notice. You agree that FamilyConnect shall not be liable to you or to any third party for any modification, suspension, or discontinuance of the service.

Privacy Policy

The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) and the National Association for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments (NAPVI) respect the privacy of every individual who visits FamilyConnect. This notice explains our online information practices. Because your privacy is important to us, we provide you with notice and choices about the collection and use of your information. To make this notice easy to find, links are provided at the bottom of our homepage and on every page within our web site.

Controlling Your Personal Information

FamilyConnect is designed to enable you to maintain control over your personal information. You may, at any time, change, correct, modify, or delete any personal information you have provided to FamilyConnect or change your preferences regarding receipt of e-mails or other communications by updating your personal profile or contacting us at familyconnect@afb.net. You can change your friends' level of access, or remove them, at any time by visiting the Manage Friends page.

Use of Cookies

Your browser offers so-called "cookies" which, if you allow their use, store small amounts of data on your computer when you visit a web site. Cookies do not contain any personally identifiable information about you and therefore cannot be used to identify you personally. Cookies simply assist us in tracking which of our features you like best. Cookies also enable us to customize our content according to your preferences. You have the ability to accept or decline cookies by modifying your browser, and our web site is viewable even if you disable the cookie function on your browser. However, if you disable cookies, some advanced and customized features of our site, as well as other web sites, will not be available to you. For example, the Change Colors option on FamilyConnect relies on cookies to work and our subscription services use cookies to determine access privileges and customization features.

Data Collection and Use

We collect standard web server traffic pattern information. General traffic, site usage, and length of stay information is collected and stored in log files. This type of information is shared externally only on an aggregated basis.

If you choose to register and become a member of the FamilyConnect community we collect your name, e-mail address, zip code, child's birth date, user name, and password. We use personal information so that we may display custom, personalized content to our visitors and send newsletters, e-mails, features, surveys and other updates to our users. A user may, at any time, opt out of receiving such information. We also use collected information to evaluate and administer our service, respond to any problems that may arise and to gauge user trends to determine what part of our services are most popular with users.

If you choose to participate in a message board, blog, or another public forum that we make available to our users, please remember that any information that you disclose in these areas becomes public information. You should exercise caution when deciding whether or not to disclose your personal information.

We allow users of our web site to send articles or links by e-mail to other parties who may be interested in them. We do not retain any e-mail addresses (unless you are a member who already has voluntarily provided your email address) of either the sender or recipient of such articles or links after they are sent.

Book orders: If you choose to order a book from the AFB.org web site, we collect standard credit card information (card number, card type, expiration date) and keep a record of your financial transaction. Credit card numbers are held only until the charge can be processed (usually several minutes), then the number is available only to Customer Service for purposes of problem resolution. You have the option of storing your credit card information for express checkout when making future purchases.

Contributions: If you choose to donate to FamilyConnect, we maintain a record of your contribution. Your financial information will be treated as described above in "Book orders."

All financial data are securely managed and safeguarded in accordance with applicable laws and standard practices. We use Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) software, which encrypts information you input, during transmission of financial data. We reveal only the last four digits of your credit card numbers when confirming an order or storing your information.

If you do not make a service request, donation, purchase, or otherwise identify yourself, we will have no personally identifiable information about you. We will only use aggregate information derived, in part, from your use of our site to improve our site and our service to you.

If you provide personal information, we will use your information as described in the registration process and may enter your name into our constituent database and contact you in order to:

  • Ask you to complete voluntary surveys seeking feedback for quality and service improvement purposes.
  • Supply you with information about AFB and NAPVI.
  • Request voluntary time or monetary contributions to FamilyConnect.
  • Request your participation in a research study.

External Use

Your information is private and confidential and will not be shared or released to any organization or business entity other than those affiliated with or working in conjunction with FamilyConnect.

We occasionally hire other companies to provide services on our behalf, such as fulfilling book orders, delivering packages, sending postal mail and e-mail, providing customer service, and processing credit card payments. We will only provide those companies the information they need to deliver the service and prohibit them from using that information for any other purpose.

Data Security

We are committed to protecting the security of your personal information and to honoring your choices for its intended use. To prevent unauthorized access, maintain data accuracy, and ensure the correct use of information, we strive to maintain physical, electronic, and administrative safeguards.

We process your financial transactions (donations and book purchases) via encrypted SSL sessions. SSL is the industry standard for securing web-messaging transactions.

Inside AFB and NAPVI, data is stored in password-controlled servers. Our staff and volunteers are educated about the importance of safeguarding your information and we are committed to holding them accountable for protecting your confidentiality. However, such precautions do not guarantee that our web site is invulnerable to all security breaks. FamilyConnect makes no warranty, guarantee, or representation that the use of our web site is protected from viruses, security threats, or other vulnerabilities and that your information will always be secure.

Whenever AFB permits an external third party to access personally identifiable information, appropriate procedures are followed to help ensure that the information is used only for authorized purposes and by authorized persons in a manner consistent with the choices AFB constituents have made under this statement, and that the security, integrity and privacy of the information is maintained. While AFB will employ procedures to help ensure that your information is only used for authorized purposes as described above, we cannot make any guarantees with respect to the actions or policies of such third parties.

Links Within Our Web Site

Our privacy policies apply only to your use of the FamilyConnect web site, the AFB web site, and the NAPVI web site. This site contains links to other sites, including sites that have a special relationship with us. In addition, FamilyConnect members can post links they like on their personal profiles. We do not disclose personally identifiable information to those operating linked sites and we are not responsible for their privacy practices. Links to other sites do not imply an endorsement of the materials or policies on those web sites. You should read the privacy policies of each site you visit to determine what information that site may be collecting about you.

Policy Updates

We reserve the right to update this policy at any time. If a material change is made to the policy, we will e-mail all registered users at the e-mail address provided at time of registration.

You alone are responsible for the content of your messages on the FamilyConnect Message Boards, submissions to your profile, and comments on other friends' status updates or pictures, and you should read carefully the Terms of Use to understand your responsibilities.

Guidelines for Posting on the Message Boards and Your Personal Profile

There are currently 35 message boards on FamilyConnect, organized by specific eye conditions, age groups, and topics. Some message boards are hosted by NAPVI parent coordinators and some by FamilyConnect National Partners. Hosted message boards will be monitored to ensure that user questions are answered, but will not be reviewed or edited for content. We reserve the right to delete any messages that do not comply with the Terms of Use or move messages to improve placement on the Message Board.

In addition, FamilyConnect allows users to post status updates on their own profiles, and to comment on their own and friends' status updates.

To help you gain the most from the FamilyConnect community, here are some guidelines for participating in our public forums.

Use Sound Personal Judgment

Never rely on information or opinions exchanged via messages to replace necessary consultations with qualified medical, educational, or legal professionals to meet your child's individual needs. These message boards are for you to share your support, experiences, and advice with other parents. But remember that what's right or has worked for one family may not be what's right for you. Your personal set of circumstances will always influence what's best or right for you. Talk with your physician or professionals about the benefits of various options and alternatives in order to make a more informed, confident personal choice.

Don't Be Afraid To Post

If you're new to the Internet or the FamilyConnect community, taking the step for the first time to post publicly to a message board can sometimes seem intimidating. Don't be afraid to jump into a discussion, post a question, or share your own story. While we hope that you'll become an active participant and join in our discussions, you're welcome to simply hang out silently until you feel more comfortable posting a message or comment. When reading message boards, it's OK to do so silently.

Respect Other Community Members

Remember you are talking to other parents with feelings just like your own, not to a computer. Take care not to hurt people's feelings, attack individuals, use offensive language, or be confrontational for the sake of confrontation. Decisions about a child or family's well-being are highly personal, individual choices. We invite and encourage a healthy exchange of opinions and disagreement about factors that may impact your child's quality of life. If you disagree with a person's post, by all means, challenge the opinion, but "flaming" and insults are not acceptable.

Read Your Message Carefully Before You Post

What you write will be posted immediately on the message board or to your profile, so make sure your thoughts are expressed clearly, logically, and courteously. And do proof your comments for spelling and typos. If you're responding to someone else's message, include a reference to the original message to help clarify your comments. Try to avoid "Me too" messages; if you agree with a comment or suggestion, add your own thoughts to the conversation.

Keep Personal Information Personal

We encourage you to keep personal information personal; don't put your e-mail address, street address, or telephone number on the public message board. Similarly, don't ask for personal information from others.

When writing about your children, be aware of their current and future needs for privacy. Think in terms of what their friends and future employers will be able to Google. You may find it safer to use an online nickname instead of your child's actual name, and to refrain from posting details like where you live and go to school.

Your profile is not as public, since it is only viewable by registered FamilyConnect members, and your status updates are only accessible to confirmed friends to whom you have given full access. Your profile is not accessible to search engines. Still, it is wise to be discreet and polite in any online communication.

Be Courteous: Avoid Duplicate Posts

Do not post the same message on more than one message board. Determine the best place for your question or comment and post it once. Weeding through the same message in multiple locations can be frustrating and annoying. We reserve the right to delete duplicate messages.

Don't Post Commercial Messages

Don't post commercial messages or solicitations on the FamilyConnect message boards. Posts containing commercial or product/service promotional content will be removed. We also ask that you refrain from posting direct referrals to medical facilities.

Don't Post Other's Copyrighted Information

Information copyrighted or owned by any individual or entity other than the person posting should not be posted on the message boards without the consent of the owner. If such an event occurs, the individual posting the information shall be held solely responsible. FamilyConnect shall not be held responsible for posted information that may violate copyright law.

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