Mobile Ecosystem

Apple’s App Store Kids Category Brings Focus to COPPA Regulation

Becky Doles

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Apple recently announced updates to its App Store Review Guidelines to better align its practices with the July 2013 COPPA amendments. If you are not familiar with the new COPPA guidelines or need a refresher, please review these articles about the COPPA amendments going into effect and what advertisers need to know.

COPPA and Apple’s App Store

The new “Kids Apps” section of the App Store guidelines reflects some of the core requirements of COPPA. It’s a powerful statement to app developers that the FTC isn’t the only big organization that cares about COPPA compliance.

The official Apple updates are as follows:

  • Apps primarily intended for use by kids under 13 must include a privacy policy.
  • Apps primarily intended for use by kids under 13 may not include behavioral advertising (e.g. the advertiser may not serve ads based on the user’s activity within the App), and any contextual ads presented in the App must be appropriate for kids.
  • Apps primarily intended for use by kids under 13 must get parental permission or use a parental gate before allowing the user to link out of the app or engage in commerce.
  • Apps in the Kids Category must be made specifically for kids ages 5 and under, ages 6-8, or ages 9-11.

Whether developing for iOS, Android, Windows Phone, or some other platform, it is imperative that these guidelines be followed to comply with COPPA. But on iOS, the incentive is even higher now that apps can be blocked from the App Store for non-compliance.

The bottom line is that if you want to market your app in the US, you need to pay attention to children’s privacy. If you aren’t COPPA compliant, you’re already behind and losing ground fast.

Becky Doles

Becky is the Senior Content Marketing Manager at TUNE. Before TUNE, she led a variety of marketing and communications projects at San Francisco startups. Becky received her bachelor's degree in English from Wake Forest University. After living nearly a decade in San Francisco and Seattle, she has returned to her home of Charleston, SC, where you can find her enjoying the sun and salt water with her family.

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