Apple announced that it would be adding a Kids Section to the App Store in iOS 7 back at the WWDC in June and now the company has revealed to developers how the category will work.
The company has come under fire on a number of occasions due to lack of parental control options within the App store which has led to users having huge bills run up by their children on their iTunes accounts when using their parents iPad or smartphone. Apple has had to respond to these complaints, usually with a full refund to the parents and now it looks like they are combatting the problem by tightening up procedures and adding the dedicated Kids Apps section to the iStore. These new guidelines for app development will apply to apps on the iOS 7 App Store.
The emails have been sent out to the Apple developer community and they show that parents will be able to choose age appropriate games and entertainment apps for children aged 11 and under. The apps will be broken down into age groups so parents can select the right age group for their child with age ranges from 5 and under; 6 to 8 years of age and 9 to 11 years old.
The Apps that appear in the Kids Apps Section will still be accessible through the main listings but they will be specifically listed in the Kids Section for parents and kids to identify more easily. There is already a Kids category in the Games listing on the iStore which will disappear when all the games and other apps are moved to the new Kids Apps section.
New guidelines will also be introduced for any apps that are aimed at children of 13 or under with advertisers being unable to target younger users based on their in app behaviour. Any advertisements that are shown within the apps must be age appropriate.
There is also a new mandate that states that apps aimed at users aged 13 and under must include a "parental gate" to stop any in-app purchases or links outside the app without the parents’ permission.
This last requirement will come as a relief to many as in-app purchases where kids buy extra add-ons to play apps are one of the reasons for such huge bills on the parents iTunes account.
This is the reason that the UK Office of Fair Trading is investigating Apple as they are looking into the add ons for free games which they are concerned that parents are coming under pressure to buy.
Do you think these new guidelines are a good idea? Has your child ran up a huge bill when playing on your iOS device? Tell us your story by commenting below or join us on Facebook, Twitter or Google+.
Written by: Carmel Brown