If you've ever seen how easily a toddler can figure out how to use a touchscreen, you understand why there are so many mobile apps aimed at children. It can be difficult for parents to figure out which apps are appropriate for their kids, but the process could soon become simpler for Android users.
Google announced its "Designed for Families" program on April 14, which allows developers to label their apps as family-friendly. Provided that the design meets Google's requirements, the apps will then be designated as suitable for families and more easily searchable.
To qualify for the designation, apps will have to have the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) rating for everyone or users 10+. The apps must also comply with all legal obligations related to advertising for children and cannot allow signing in with Google+ accounts.
Inappropriate ads and clickbait that can lead to in-app purchases are a worry to parents handing their phone to a small child, but the restrictions should bar these kind of apps.
Ads cannot be displayed immediately after an app launch, they must be clearly distinguishable from app content and be limited to one per page. Any apps featuring ads for inappropriate material such as alcohol, gambling sites, dating apps or violent games are banned from the designation.
Google said it has chosen to do this because the company wants to support app makers who are tailoring their content to "educate and entertain" kids.
"Participating apps will be eligible for upcoming family-focused experiences on Google Play that will help parents discover great, age-appropriate content and make more informed choices," said Eunice Kim, product manager of Google Play, in a blog post.
Kim also promised that Google would soon be adding new ways to promote family content for users in the Play Store. Google appears to be making a concerted effort to target its products toward families, as the move comes shortly after its launch of YouTube Kids.
Photo: Marcus Kwan | Flickr