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New Google Play policies will hopefully make apps safer for kids

These new policies surrounding kids follow similar changes over at Google-owned YouTube.

Published onMay 29, 2019

A OnePlus 6T with the search results of "icon packs" in the Google Play Store.

In a post published today at the Android Developers Blog, Google announced some new policy updates when it comes to apps on the Google Play Store. The updates revolve around apps geared towards kids — or apps that could be construed as geared towards kids.

The mostly-common-sense updates are as follows:

  • If children are the target audience of the app, the app must meet certain guidelines when it comes to personally identifiable information.
  • Apps geared towards kids must have appropriate advertisements from ad networks certified by Google as compliant with its policies.
  • If an app is not geared towards kids, it should not be construed in any way as being geared towards kids.

Overall, there’s nothing too surprising there. However, Google is quite serious about enforcing these policies.

How to download and install the Google Play Store
Google Play Store app on smartphone UI stock photo (1)

Google is introducing a new way for developers to declare a target audience for their applications. This involves developers filling out a short questionnaire about each app they own on the Google Play Store. Google will then monitor and verify the accuracy of the questionnaire which will better help the company organize and deliver apps to users of various ages.

The policy updates affect literally every developer and product on Google Play and will be mandatory for all new apps starting today. Google is giving developers a grace period to fill out the questionnaire for previously-posted apps, which ends on September 1, 2019. By that date, devs should have filled out the questionnaire for everything they own.

These changes come not long after YouTube made similar sweeping policy updates surrounding children. Those updates were in response to predatory behavior in YouTube comments, as well as videos that seemed geared towards children but which featured adult themes.

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