Google today is taking further measures to foster family-friendly content in the Play Store by requiring apps to declare their intended audience explicitly. If an app is likely to be used by kids, developers will be subject to additional safety requirements.
This change is aimed at reducing the “chance that apps not intended for children could unintentionally attract them.” All Play Store developers are required to “thoughtfully consider whether children are part of [their] target audience.”
The new policy subjects all apps to a “Target audience and content” section in the Play Console that lists various age ranges. Google notes that most developers’ target audience do not include children. However, those that do will be subject to follow-up questions:
We will use the information you provide in the Google Play Console, along with our own review of your app marketing assets, to categorize your app and apply policies according to the following target audience groups: children, children and older users, older users.
Apps that have children as part of the target audience must meet policy requirements “concerning content and handling of personally identifiable information.” Served ads also need to be appropriate and from certified networks with family policies.
Google also wants developers to make sure that apps do not “unintentionally appeal” to children, with the Play Store checking app marketing to confirm. An additional consideration is taking into account age ranges from country-to-country.
The word “children” can mean different things in different locales and in different contexts. It is important that you determine what obligations and/or age-based restrictions may apply for the countries where you target your app.
The “Target audience and content” is live today on the Google Play Console and required for all new apps. This September, existing applications will have to fill out the form and comply with those policies.