App makers have a lot on their mind these days. Since July 1st they have been submitting updates to comply with new Children’s Online Privacy Protection regulations. Just last week, they were informed about Apple’s new review guidelines.
One of the guidelines mentioned the need for parental precautions before linking outside of the app (i.e., before clicking a link to services beyond the app). Some developers have solved this by having link-free apps. Others want to communicate product information to parents, such as “more apps” or “share” features. So how do they do this, and what will be acceptable to Parents, Kids, Apple, and the Regulators?
The answers may be a work in process, but here are some examples I’ve seen from our community of family-friendly developers.
1) Real Fun Learning has parents solve multiple equations to enter the parent section.
77Sparx asks if you are an adult, and verifies with a math equation.
JumpApp labels the parent section, and will only open it if the user presses & holds (not just taps)
Anlock Apps also does a press & hold feature
Avokiddo labels “for parents” and also has the press & hold feature.
Justin’s World has a toddler app with a really prominent parental gate, as shown here:
Curious Hat’s new InfiniScroll app has a “press and hold” that comes up when a grown-up section of the app is tapped:
This gate technique from Electric Eggplant just got accepted (date Sept. 9) into the age 9-11 kids category on the app store:
This “timed” implementation from Get Shiny Things looks like an interesting idea!
From Bethany at Lunapip, the password function got approved as a gate in her app (details in comments of post). Congrats Bethany!
Here is Brent’s solution from Pretendasaurus
Now I’ve heard some backlash that these methods won’t necessarily stop a savvy child from accessing the parent services. But to me, these seem like good faith ideas at designating different content for different audiences, which is a constant challenge in the apps for kids marketplace. If you have more examples (or updates about what’s working and what’s not), please let me know so I can update the post.
UPDATE March 26th, 2014: Apple provides some guidelines of their own: https://developer.apple.com/app-store/parental-gates/