Google launches family-friendly section in Play store

Google has added a section for family friendly content to its Play Store, to make it easier for parents to find age-appropriate content on their Android devices.

Now, applications that follow Google’s ”Designed for Families” specification, which was unveiled recently, will be identified with smiling green star on the Play Store. Parents will be able to search for those apps and other content like movies and TV shows based on the age of their child.

Parents can also search by characters, so they can find media related to TV shows and movies their children like, such as “Dora The Explorer,” “Star Wars” and “Adventure Time.”

Parents will also be able to view content ratings provided by the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB), the rating authority that already provides ratings and descriptors for video games. Apps that are ad-supported will also carry an advisory so parents can determine whether an app is right for their kids. Google has implemented more stringent password controls on in-app purchases, so it will be harder for kids to run up a massive bill on their parents’ phone buying virtual currency and other items.

In order to obtain a Designed for Families certification, apps must follow stringent content policies, and comply with a special addendum to the Android developer agreement. If an app is found in violation of those policies, it could be pulled from the store.

It’s a move that’s similar to Apple’s family-friendly content section on the iOS App Store.

The Google Play announcement comes at a time when the company is under fire for its YouTube Kids app, which critics charge exposes children to inappropriate advertising and content.

Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.

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