Earlier this summer Apple announced at WWDC a new Kids category for iOS 7 that would be designed for parents and teachers. As iOS 7 release looms closer, the press has reported that Apple has invited developers to prepare their apps for the new category.
This development follows a recent expansion of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) to cover mobile apps, and an increasing presence of the iPad in USA schools.
Apple Insider has published the email that Apple has sent to developers:
At WWDC, we announced a new Kids category for the App Store in iOS 7. The new category provides parents with a place on the App Store to find age-appropriate apps for their children. If your app is made specifically for children aged 11 or under, you can now choose an age range for your app on the iTunes Connect website. The following age ranges are available:
* Ages 5 & under
* Ages 6–8
* Ages 9–11
You can only choose one age range for each app. Apps approved for the Kids category will still have a primary and secondary category, but will also appear in a new, separate area of the App Store. To assign the Kids category to an already existing app, submit a new version of your app for review. Starting this fall, the currently existing Kids subcategory for game apps will no longer be displayed on the App Store.
To choose the appropriate App Store category for your app, see the App Category Definitions page in the Manage Your Apps module on the iTunes Connect website. If you think that your app’s current category definition does not fit anymore, assign a new category with your next app update.
Learn more about creating, submitting, and managing apps for the Kids category in the iTunes Connect Developer Guide. Ensure that your apps comply with the App Store Review Guidelines before submitting them for review.
Additionally, ZDNet and the Telegraph have published the relevant Review Guidelines:
* Apps may ask for date of birth (or use other age-gating mechanisms) only for the purpose of complying with applicable children’s privacy statutes, but must include some useful functionality or entertainment value regardless of the user’s age.
* Apps that collect, transmit, or have the capability to share personal information (eg, name, address, email, location, photos, videos, drawings, persistent identifiers, the ability to chat, or other personal data) from a minor must comply with applicable children’s privacy statutes.
* Apps primarily intended for use by kids under 13 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.
* Apps primarily intended for use by kids under 13 must get parental permission or use a parental gate before allowing the user to link out of the app or engage in commerce.
* Apps in the Kids Category must be made specifically for kids ages 5 and under, ages 6-8, or ages 9-11.
At Robot Media we are excited about this news and we are already in the process of updating our apps for the new Kids category. Additionally, we are rolling out changes to better comply with COPPA and follow industry recommendations that have surfaced since last year’s expansion of the act.
We believe a curated Kids category will only raise the quality of children’s book apps and greatly simplify discovery. Of note is the disappearance of the Games for Kids subcategory, which might blur the line between content and games even more.
Disclaimer: as iOS app developers we are under a confidentiality agreement about future releases of iOS. We can only discuss information released by the press or by Apple.