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Apple has lastly take steps to better accommodate the kids who’ve actually embraced its gadgets, and particularly household favorite the iPad, with the launch of a Children App Store. Arriving today together with the launch of iOS 7, the Kids App Shop shop isn’t a separate mobile application, to be clear, but is rather a new section within the Apple App Store itself, which now features an added ‘Children’ category where apps are broken down by age range.

This area of the store separates the apps into 3 age varieties, covering those 5 and under, those in between 6 and 8, and lastly, those for kids in between 9 and 11.

The business initially revealed this ‘Kids’ section at its Worldwide Developers Conference earlier this summertime when the spruced up iOS 7 mobile operating system was first exposed. The upgraded mobile App Shop app likewise saw a number of other changes, including the removal of ‘Genius’ from the bottom menu in favor of apps ‘Near Me’ for example, support for automatic app updates, and more.

In addition to better arranging the mobile apps targeting children for ease-of-use, the Children App Shop likewise comes at a time when Apple has started to permit children under 13 to enroll in and hold iTunes user accounts, as long as they are funneled with an ‘accepted university.’ As TechCrunch previously kept in mind, Apple will deal with a lot even more examination now that it’s making mobile apps offered directly to younger children.


Apps aimed at the under-13 set, for example, will should follow the Children’s Online Personal privacy Protection Act (COPPA) requirements. These state that developers can’t request for personal information from children, expect for ‘the function of adhering to applicable kids’s privacy statuaries’ – that is, not in order to collect information for targeting ads. The apps can’t transfer or share individual info without parental consent, either.

And in addition to now being needed to have clear personal privacy policies, apps in this area can’t make use of ads that ask children to complete some kind of in-app activity and have to ask for parents’ consents prior to they connect outside the app to the web or other software application, for the function of commerce. That’s right: no more spammy pop-ups, or tricks and nags to get children to purchase … at least not in this section.

For many trusted children’ app developers, compliance with the new policies wasn’t a severe issue. ‘The changes were minor,’ says Mindshapes Joint CEO Chris Michaels, whose business has 3 applications in the Children classification upon launch. ‘We’ve actually included a privacy policy within the app, per Apple’s requirements. We’d currently implemented other features for compliance, notably parent gating on any transactional or outbound link-based material, previously in 2013,’ he said.

Toca Boca’s CEO Björn Jeffery added that while many children app designers, like his company, had adhered to many of Apple’s rules much previously, ‘a few of the more dubious developers probably had no intention of even trying to comply.’ And as word gets out that the ‘safe’ apps for children are found in the Kids section of iTunes, those still trying to monetize through children’s in-app activities and acquisitions might see their companies influenced negatively.

‘Apple is clearly doing the right things and trying to stamp out some of the abuse that’s taken place in this sector with dishonest app designers fooling kids into making in-app purchases,’ said Gregg Spiridellis, co-founder at JibJab, noting also that his company only needed to make minor tweaks to become certified with the new policies.

In the case of a big publisher, like Disney, its apps were currently COPPA-compliant since this summer season, and it added an ‘age gate’ for anything associated with in-app getting, signing up, or email capture. Essentially, this is a pop-up window that includes a code generator where you need to review and get in a code before you can continue. Other apps make use of unique activities, like a press and hold gesture, or need moms and dads to have a different in-app account.

Across the board, most of the famous kids brand names told us comparable stories about the modifications – that they included very little efforts on their parts, and these ‘brand-new’ policies are things they were doing anyway. Just now there’s more structure to the system, and they are not lumped in with apps that don’t play by the rules.


In both the mobile iOS 7 App Store and updated iTunes desktop software, the Children area breaks out the specifically vetted applications individually from the more basic ‘Education’ section, which still continues to be. Though there’s a bunch of crossover between the two classifications, the Kids section is actually a curated subset of the Education area, where apps can extend past the very early knowing crowd to consist of those intended also at grownups and ‘lifelong students.’

At launch, the Kids store consists of thematic app collections, including ‘Produce and Play,’ ‘Shapes and Colors,’ ‘Check out the World,’ ‘First Words and Numbers,’ ‘Musical Apps,’ ‘Learning Made Fun,’ ‘Interactive Kids Stories,’ and more.

Big name children brand names are likewise provided their own collections, like Disney, Toca Boca, Duck Duck Moose, SagoSago (a Toca Boca brand name, actually), Sesame Street, PBS Kids, and others, giving them a higher profile as a kids’ app maker than in the past. While the majority of the apps have an educational bent to them, a few of the games showcased are more entertainment-focused – like the ones where your kid can ‘Facetime’ Elmo or Cookie Monster, for instance.

But as noted above, these apps do not constantly pester children to tap on advertisements or purchase added items (like those Chatting character apps at Out Fit7 do). Not just are the acquisitions concealed away in a gated ‘parent’s location,’ as kept in mind above, many of the apps in this area are paid apps, suggesting their increased quality.

As a parent trying out many of the featured apps over the previous couple of days with my preschool-aged child, it’s actually been smooth cruising. Rather of the consistent aggravation that accompanies the low-quality, advertising-filled cost-free apps we have attempted in the past, she’s the ability to just delight in the storytelling and interactivity without being pushed and fooled into purchase habits she can’t yet comprehend.

I have cleaned out the iPad of those older apps, and have filled it only with newly vetted ones from the Children shop. It’s a weekend task I ‘d recommend to any parent with a little downtime this Sunday, too.


Though it’s still very early days, Alan Shusterman, CEO at Duck Duck Moose, whose apps were showcased by Apple in 14 collections, states he’s already seeing a positive effect on sales. Sara DeWitt, Vice Head of state, PBS KIDS Digital, said they’re too, and expect that trend to continue. And Yves Saada, Vice Head of state, Digital Media at Disney Publishing, says that Children category aids in discoverability, and the business is already seeing a boost in downloads.

Others, like Toca Boca, say there have not been major spikes yet, however with time they anticipate the classification to constantly get a visible area in Apple’s shop, bring about more sales for developers in the long run.

To access the new kids’s app shop in iTunes, click on the list of Categories and choose ‘Kids.’