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Apple's App Store gets age ratings to tackle kids' in-app spending

Virtual donuts are suitable only for those 12 and over
Fri Apr 05 2013, 12:30
Apple App Store Age Ratings

HARDWARE DESIGNER Apple has added age ratings to the iTunes App Store in a bid to tackle kids' in-app spending sprees.

The change is a subtle one, but it's obvious enough for parents to ensure that they download apps suitable for their kids. For example, The Simpsons Tapped Out now comes with a 12+ age rating located in a box under the publisher on the app page, warning mums and dads that younger kids could end up buying £980 worth of virtual donuts within the game.

However, it's worth noting that Apple's age rating label is little more than that. Upon choosing an app to download, Apple doesn't ask users to provide proof of age - nor does it fire open a warning that an app is only suitable for people above a certain age. Note to parents: keep those passwords to yourselves.

Apple likely also added the feature to offer more App Store transparency in a bid to get back in customers' good books. For example, earlier this year, Apple listed Twitter's Vine video sharing app as an 'Editor's Pick' in the App Store - seemingly unaware that the app was home to pornographic clips. Vine now comes with a 17+ rating, as does photo sharing app 500px which also found itself in a pornography storm.

The introduction of Apple's new age rating feature comes just days after the firm added an "offers in-app purchases" label to relevant applications, another effort to stop kids from racking up huge bills.

Apple hasn't commented on the age rating rollout. µ

 

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