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New Google Play Store rules want to make the store safer for kids

Android apps

Via its Android Developers Blog on Wednesday, Google announced an important series of changes that apply to every single app in the Google Play Store in an attempt to make the marketplace more kid-friendly.

The changes govern aspects of app development like how developers handle personal data and what demographics the developer chooses to target. Regarding the latter, developers are now being required to disclose whether kids are part of the intended audience for their app.

If they’re not the intended audience, the developer still has to take steps to make sure they don’t allow their app to appeal to children anyway. Google says it will also be keeping a closer eye on apps with these new requirements in mind.

“Over the last few years, we’ve helped parents find family-friendly content through the Designed for Families program and empowered them to set digital ground rules for their families with Family Link parental controls,” Google’s blog post explains. “After taking input from users and developers we are evolving our Google Play policies to provide additional protections for children and families.”

If children are regarded as part of the developer’s target audience for the app, that developer must now meet policy requirements in the app that govern content and the handling of personally identifiable information.

Ads in the app that are served to children, Google says, also need to be “appropriate” and served from an ads network that has certified compliance “with our families policies.”

Google stresses in the blog post that the changes affect every developer on the Play Store. As such, there are two important dates to bear in mind relative to these changes:

  • Today: All new apps must comply with these updated policies related to children from today onward.
  • September 1: This is the date by which developers have to have made any necessary updates to existing apps. Google is giving developers a little more than three months to fill out a new target audience and content section of the Google Play Console.
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Andy is a reporter in Memphis who has been contributing to BGR since 2015. His expertise in TV shows you probably don’t like is unmatched. When he’s not writing about technology, he can be found hunched protectively over his burgeoning collection of vinyl.