Google Play Store Now Requires Target Audience for Child Safety

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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.

minecraft

Microsoft Exclude’s Minecraft Creator from 10th Anniversary Event

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Microsoft is hosting a ten year celebration event on May 17 for seminal game Minecraft. A spokesperson from Microsoft told Variety that Markus “Notch” Persson, the original creator of Minecraft and founder of game studio Mojang, has been purposefully excluded from the event due to his past comments. “His comments and opinions do not reflect those of Microsoft or Mojang and are not representative of Minecraft,” the spokesperson told Variety.

Persson famously sold Mojang and Minecraft to Microsoft in 2014 for $2.5 billion. He has not been actively involved in the game’s development since.

In the past several years, Persson, who currently has 3.7 million twitter followers, has broadcasted several controversial and frankly abhorrent opinions and views regarding politics, race, gender, and sexuality, and even full-blown conspiracy theories.

The most recent Minecraft update quietly removed any mention of Notch in the loading screens, though his name is still present in the credits as the original creator. Many fans of Minecraft, upset with Notch’s behavior, have elevated digitally-created vocal artist Hatsune Miku as the creator of Minecraft, thanks to a viral tweet.

Minecraft was originally released in 2011. To this day it’s one of the most popular games of all time, especially for younger kids and teens. It’s the second best-selling video game of all time, behind Tetris. As of last year Minecraft boasted over 90 million active players.

Minecraft is available on every console and platform, and is even used as a teaching tool in schools.

Parenting Hero App Adds New Scenarios

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Parenting Hero is a mobile game app designed to help parents deal with common child-raising challenges through illustrated scenarios. The app originally launched last year on iOS and Android. This week the app received an update that added two new scenarios, bringing the total to 17.

The scenarios in Parenting Hero help teach parents how to communicate with their children by identifying their feelings and resolving conflicts by role-playing through certain situations. The scenarios are guided by over 1500 illustrations. The writing is based on the guide book How to Talk so Little Kids Will Listen: A Survival Guide to Life with Children Ages 2-7 by Joanna Faber and Julie King.

Specifically the app helps parents encourage children, set limits, and use praise while avoiding the pitfalls of bribery or punishment.

Parenting Hero was developed by award-winning Polish studio MythicOwl. The app is available now on iOs and Android for $2.99.