As per a recent Android Developers blog, Google is taking steps to improve their Google Play mobile store and “reduce the chance that apps not intended for children could unintentionally attract them” on Android mobile devices.
New changes and policy updates will be rolled out in the coming months, beginning with requiring every developer to declare the intended target audience for each game on the Google Play store.
If children are the target audience, then developers will need to answer a series of follow-up questions, while Google also reviews the app themselves. The new policy will divide every app into three groups: Children as the target audience, a mix of children and older users, and older users only. Apps in the first two categories will be subject to Google’s Family Policy Requirements, which include restrictions on ads, data collection, augmented reality, and privacy policies, as well as obvious content restrictions such as violence and drug use.
Developers have until September 1 to fill out the new target audience section and comply with these new policies. Google has increased staffing and improved communications for app reviews and appeals to help expedite these sweeping changes.
Compared to the more heavily curated App Store on iOS, Google Play is much more of a Wild West of content, with many apps erroneously (or maliciously) targeting targeting young people with inappropriate content or advertising. These new policies are a step in the right direction.