Dear Mr. Pichai,
Research shows that the most popular apps in Google Play’s Family section aren’t safe for kids at all: they manipulate children into making purchases, serve deceptive advertising, expose kids to inappropriate content, and illegally collect children’s data. To protect the millions of kids and families who use Android apps every day, Google must adopt and enforce Kids’ App Store Standards for its Family section.
In order to be designated for children, apps should:
Comply with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act by limiting the amount of personal information collected from children, and obtaining verifiable parental consent before collection.
Not offer in-app purchases of any kind.
Provide evidence to substantiate any educational claims.
Have no advertising at all if designated for children five and under.
Have no deceptive or manipulative ads if designated for children 6 to 12.
Be reviewed by a human to make sure these standards are followed, and the app’s content is appropriate for kids.
From left: in Doctor Kids, a character cries after players decline an in-app purchase; an inappropriate, full-screen gambling ad appears in Dentist Games for Kids; a glowing cake in Olaf's Adventures looks like a game item, but brings kids to a purchase screen
When apps and games are labeled for children, parents should be able to trust that they’re truly safe for kids. But unfortunately, they can’t. New research shows that the most popular apps in the Family section of the Google Play Store are rife with problems, like pressuring kids into making purchases, serving up manipulative ads, exposing children to inappropriate content, and illegally collecting kids’ data.
Google must take action against apps that expose millions of kids to unfair tactics and disturbing content.
By adopting and enforcing our Kids’ App Store Standards – simple measures like following the law, limiting advertising, barring in-app purchases, and making sure each app is reviewed by a human – Google can ensure that the Family section lives up to its name.
Tell Google CEO Sundar Pichai: Families shouldn’t have to navigate a wild west of harmful apps. Adopt the Kids’ App Store Standards now!