Apple releases App Store guidelines for Kids Apps ready for iOS 7 launch

Apple has launched a new set of rules to govern the development of apps that are targeted specifically at children.

The App Store Review Guidelines now includes a “Kids Apps” section that outlines Apple’s strategy when it comes to privacy, advertising and in-app purchases in iOS geared towards users younger than 13.

The guidelines are split up into four distinct areas. Point 24.1 states that “apps primarily intended for use by kids under 13 must include a privacy policy” and point 24.2 details that the apps “may not include behavioral advertising (e.g. the advertiser may not serve ads based on the user's activity within the App), and any contextual ads presented in the App must be appropriate for kids”.

Guideline 24.3 details that apps geared towards under 13s “must get parental permission or use a parental gate before allowing the user to link out of the app or engage in commerce.” Finally, clause 24.4 forces developers to make sure “apps in the Kids Category must be made specifically for kids ages 5 and under, ages 6-8, or ages 9-11.”

A number of developers that create apps specifically for children have reportedly already created their own privacy policies and implemented parental gates after private feedback from Apple, according to The Guardian.

There are still no guidelines on how children’s app developers can use analytics instruments to gain information on the activities on younger users with legislation, such as the USA’s Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), already covering this.

Apple’s move to implement guidelines comes after a number of instances where young children racked up thousands of pounds worth of in-app purchases on various apps including £1,700 on ‘free’ game Zombies vs Ninja.

The new category of apps will be introduced as part of Apple’s new iOS 7 software that lands at some point this autumn and will make it simple for parents and children to find apps geared towards specific age groups.

Image Credit: Flickr (lottech)