Apple has introduced a few new rules and regulations to its App Store Review Guidelines this week – this time affecting apps for kids and real-money gambling apps. The new rules and regulations are closely linked to the expansion of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and Apple’s own upcoming changes to their policies for educational apps.
While the new COPPA rules further restrict developers from gaining access to a user’s photographs, video, or audio files, Apple has allowed upcoming apps to ask for a user’s date of birth, in order to adhere to these new privacy measures. Along these lines, an app that does involve the sharing of personal information such as names, addresses, emails, or geographical locations, will first have to “comply with applicable children’s privacy settings” (App Store Review Guidelines 17.4).
In addition to the new “Kids Apps” section that has recently made its way onto the App Store interface, Mac Rumors is reporting that Apple will also be allowing children under the age of 13 to own and maintain their own iTunes accounts for the very first time. Now of course, with all of the recent horror stories of children unknowingly using their parents’ credit cards to purchase hundreds of dollars’ worth of in-game items like Smurf berries in Smurfs’ Village, will these new guidelines really help or hurt this matter, especially if children are now able to have total control of their own iTunes accounts?
Furthermore, there are also a few new changes in store for apps that use real-money gambling as well. The first of these new regulations requires that all apps on the App Store which offer real money gambling “must have necessary licensing and permissions in the locations where the App is used, must be restricted to those locations, and must be free on the App Store” (20.5). This is in conjunction with new regulation 20.6, which promises to reject any app that allows the use of in-app purchases to buy credit or currency in a real money gaming environment.
So what do you think about Apple’s new rules and regulations in regards to apps for children, real-money gambling apps, and their new educational programs? Be sure to let us know down below in the replies!