New 'Kids' section of apps coming to iOS 7

Apple is readying a new section of apps aimed specifically at kids, along with greater protections for the little 'uns.

Joe Svetlik Reporter
Joe has been writing about consumer tech for nearly seven years now, but his liking for all things shiny goes back to the Gameboy he received aged eight (and that he still plays on at family gatherings, much to the annoyance of his parents). His pride and joy is an Infocus projector, whose 80-inch picture elevates movie nights to a whole new level.
Joe Svetlik
2 min read

The new iPhone will be with us soon -- in about three weeks, if the rumours are correct -- and with it iOS 7. We've seen the new OS's bells and whistles, but it's also getting a new 'Kids' section in the App Store, aimed at children, MacRumors reports.

According to the site, iOS developers have started getting emails saying they can submit apps for the new section, which is aimed at children aged 11 or younger. The category is split into three sub-sections: for kids aged five and under, six to eight, or nine to 11.

Apps for children will still appear in their usual sections (Games, Photo and Video, etc), but you'll also be able to browse by these new categories. The sub-section named "kids" that currently appears in the games section will disappear as well.

Apple has also strengthened its App Review Guidelines to offer greater protection to children under the age of 13, and clamp down on gambling apps. Some of the changes were in line with the newly-expanded Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which stops anyone collecting personal data from children under 13 without parental consent. What qualified as 'personal data' initially meant name, address, phone number, email address, and location, but has now been expanded to include photos, video and audio.

Apple's changes go a step further, however. Apps aimed at the little 'uns must include a privacy policy, can't tailor adverts to in-app activity, link to anything outside the app, or let the nippers make in-app purchases without parental consent. Looks like all those cases of kids racking up huge bills through in-app purchases have made Apple sit up and take notice.

Gambling apps that involve real money can only be offered by licensed gambling operations now as well.

All well and good. But is it enough? What else can Apple do to protect kids? Or is it down to the parents? Let me know in the comments, or on our Facebook page.