When it comes to children and technology, we all have the same goal: to keep kids safe. Protecting kids and safeguarding their privacy is a responsibility we all share. To ensure children have a positive experience on Google Play, we ask all developers to:
- Carefully consider your app's target audience.
- If your target audience includes children, comply with our Families policies.
- If your target audience doesn't include children, make sure your marketing doesn't unintentionally attract them.
This article will help you understand what our policies mean for your app. If you want additional training on this topic, visit Google Play's Academy for App Success.
App Classification and Families Policy
Apps on Google Play are categorized and policies are applied according to the following target audience groups: children, children and older users, older users.
Target Audience: Children
Target Audience: Children and Older Users
Target Audience: Older Users
The Families policy includes requirements such as:
- Make sure that any content in your app that could be seen by children is appropriate for them.
- Display only ads that are appropriate for children, and use ad SDKs from the Families Ads Program. SDK creators who are interested in this program should complete this form.
- Make sure your app (including all APIs, SDKs, and ads) complies with all applicable laws and regulations relating to children, including the US Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), and the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
- Apps whose target audience only includes children need to follow additional requirements in the Designed for Families program (our strictest Families policy). Apps whose target audience includes children and older users may choose to follow the additional requirements, including only using certified ad networks throughout the entire app, and participate in the program.
Declaring a Target Audience
All developers need to declare a target audience for your apps in the Target Audience and Content section of the Google Play Console.
If you indicate that age groups under 13 are not in your target audience, no further action is required in the Target Audience and Content section.
If you do select age groups under 13, we ask follow-up questions about your app content, including collection of personal and sensitive information from children, compliance with applicable laws and regulations relating to children, and your use of ads. We review your answers before your app is published and may reject or remove it from the store for any Families policy violations. Apps that include children in the target audience or who submit responses in the Google Play Console that we disagree with will be subject to extended reviews, which may result in review times of up to seven days (or longer in exceptional cases).
Before you declare the age of your target audience, think about who your app is for and whether children are truly part of your target audience. Examples of what may be appropriate for different age groups can be found in the Help Center. If any of your users reside in a country where children are defined as including ages over 13, you must ensure that your app is compliant with Families policy for all of these children, including compliance with any applicable laws and regulations relating to children.
Unintentional Appeal To Children
If you have said that older users are your target audience, Google Play may double check your marketing to ensure you aren't marketing your app to children. Using regulatory guidance as a starting point for our review guidelines, we look at things like app icons, screenshots, and wording on the store listing page to make our assessment. If your marketing appeals to kids more than you intended, we will ask you to change your age target and/or change your marketing.
Here is an example of changes that you could make to lessen your app's appeal to children:
If you don't want to change your marketing, you can opt in to a warning label that lets users know your app is not for children.
If you disagree with our assessment, you can appeal by following the link in the email notification you receive. You can also resubmit your app at any time for us to assess your changes.
Visit Google Play's Academy for App Success for training on Google Play's Families policies and the target audience and content section of the Google Play Console. You can also check out these tips for building engaging and safer experiences for your young users.