Manage target audience & app content settings

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To better serve users, it's important to provide accurate information about your app. In addition to filling out the content rating questionnaire, you'll also need to provide details about your app's target audience and content. Depending on the target audience selections you make, your app may be subject to additional Google Play policies:

Your app is designed primarily for children under 13 You must participate in the Designed for Families and comply with Google Play’s Families Policy Requirements.
Your app is designed for everyone, including children Any apps that have at least one target audience age group that includes children must comply with Google Play’s Families Policy Requirements.
Your app is not designed for children You must still meet the requirements outlined in the Google Play Developer Program Policies and Developer Distribution Agreement.

Fill out the Target audience and content section

If you create a new app or publish an update to an existing app, you’ll be required to declare your app’s target age group. Any apps that include children in their target audience must comply with Google Play's Families Policy Requirements.
  1. Sign in to your Play Console.
  2. Click All Applications All applications.
  3. Select an app.
  4. On the left menu, click Store presence > App content.
  5. Under Target audience and content, select Manage. Fill out each section accordingly:
    • Age groups: Select the age group(s) that your app targets. You can make multiple selections if appropriate. Read more below.
    • App details: You may be asked for additional details about how your app works. It is very important that you provide accurate answers to the questions as they relate to your app. Some of the questions are related to legal requirements. If you are unsure, please consult with your legal counsel. 
    • Ads: If your app is serving ads to children you may be asked about Google Play’s certified ad networks or whether your app has a neutral age screen.
    • Store presence: Apps that are primarily for children will be required to participate in Google Play’s Designed for Families program. If your app is designed for several age groups such as older audiences and children, you can still choose to apply to the program.
  6. Review a summary of your selections and click Confirm.
    • Google will review your app to make sure the target audience that you disclose is accurate and your app is compliant with all Google Play Developer policies. Please note that certain developer accounts and/or categories of apps may be subjected to extended reviews,  which may result in review times of up to 7 days or longer in exceptional cases. We recommend that you adjust your planning to take this into account.

About target age groups  

You should only select more than one age group for your app’s target audience if you have designed your app for and ensured that your app is appropriate for users within each of the selected age group(s).

For example, an app designed for toddlers should only have the age group “Ages 5 & Under” selected.

You should only select age groups that include both adults and children if you truly have designed your app for all ages, not just because you want your app to be available to users of all ages.

Please note that if your app targets any users that are under the age of 21, you must consider if they would be considered children under their local laws. Apps that target children must comply with the Google Play Families Policy requirements.

Here are some tips and additional examples to help you select the most appropriate age group for your app.

Overall best practices  

  • Quality - Production quality and functionality make a difference, even to young children. Ensure that your app is usable for the intended age, including navigation, visuals, and text or voiceover.
  • Purpose and value - Think carefully about your messaging and how you're engaging children — whether through narrative, characters, leveling and reward systems, or other means. Not all apps need to be enriching, or have high learning value. However, research indicates that most parents are interested in quality when it comes to screen time.
  • Developmental appropriateness - Consider the presence of sensitive or mature content, concepts, or themes, and whether they are appropriate for the intended age. This goes for ads and in-app purchases, too.

Age 5 and under

Note that this age group is considered to include children in most locales.

Apps may be suitable for this age if they:

  • Support non-readers, or early readers, with limited reliance on text 
  • Have a simple design with large iconography and clear, consistent interactive elements
  • Include delightful sensory elements, color, and sounds for young children
  • Center on pretend play, and simple problem solving, and/or creative free play
  • Include beloved characters and/or story-based themes of belonging and togetherness, family, friendship
  • Are positive in tone or silly, and have a happy ending or clear takeaway
  • Include mild expressions of affection, like characters hugging or holding hands
  • Include a clear role for parents to play, or clear information for parents
Apps may not be suitable for this age if they:
  • Depict scary, dark settings or characters in danger (think scary animals, monsters, music, backgrounds)
  • Require quick reactions, fine motor skills, typing, or computing 
  • Require short-term memory tasks or abstract thinking 
  • Include game penalties or punishments, as many children in this age group are still learning how to regulate their emotions and respond to failure
  • Depict violence, fighting, weapons, crude humor or language, name calling, or even minimally sexual or suggestive themes, including depictions of alcohol
  • Have a wide-range of or distracting features that might inhibit children from playing

Ages 6-8

Note that this age group is considered to include children in most locales.

Apps may be suitable for this age if they:

  • Support early readers or writers, with limited reliance on text
  • Contain positive feedback for those more sensitive to failure and eager to improve
  • Contain funny and/or popular characters or stories, even slapstick humor and hyperbole
  • Contain positive role modeling
  • Utilize badges, collecting characters, unlocking levels, or other age-appropriate incentives 
  • Relate to early education, like language development, early literacy, and basic math

Apps may not be suitable for this age if they:

  • Include themes, colors, characters, or music meant for very young children
  • Feature stereotypical or unrealistic messages about bodies, including characters or activities that emphasize appearance (e.g. makeover games)
  • Include demeaning, objectifying, or sexualized representations of characters or relationships
  • Depict realistic aggression, violence, or injury (including current events)
  • Include a search feature

Ages 9-12

Note that this age group is considered to include children in most locales.
Apps may be suitable for this age if they:
  • Require logic or spatial problem solving, but not necessarily deductive reasoning and abstract thinking (which may still be too hard)
  • Support academic subjects commonly taught at this age
  • Include opportunities for creative self-expression and personalization (but with limited, supervised sharing features)
Apps may not be suitable for this age if they:
  • Contain less sophisticated humor, themes, characters, or tasks
  • Rely on gameplay that's too monotonous or simple
  • Include demeaning, objectifying, or sexualized representations of characters or relationships
  • Include swearing or profanity
  • Feature stereotypical or unrealistic messages about bodies, including characters or activities that emphasize appearance (e.g. makeover games) 
  • Depict inappropriate behavior such as realistic aggression, violence, or injury (including current events)
  • Allow opportunity for direct interaction between users

Ages 13-15

Note that this age group may be considered to include children in some locales.
Apps may be suitable for this age if they:
  • Contain more sophisticated storylines, characters, humor, challenges, or game mechanics
  • Support academic subjects commonly taught at this age
  • Contain age-appropriate social features and plug-ins
  • Contain age-appropriate information about identity, self-perception and adolescence

Apps may not be suitable for this age if they:

  • Glamorize violent, stereotypical, demeaning, objectifying, or highly sexualized representations of characters or relationships
  • Encourage risky behavior such as challenges that could result in physical injury 

Ages 16-17

Note that this age group may be considered to include children in some locales.
Apps may be suitable for this age of they:
  • Support academic subjects commonly taught at this age
  • Contain popular characters and subjects for teens
  • Include elements of more complex problem-solving 
  • Contain age-appropriate social features and plug-ins
  • Help express emotions in a positive way

Apps may not be suitable for this age they:

  • Depict extreme violence, or sexual or domestic violence
  • Have addictive elements
  • Have high spend thresholds

Ages 18 and over

Content generally appropriate for adult audiences that is legally and policy compliant.

Personal information

Any collection of personally identifiable information (PII), such as name or e-mail address, must be disclosed and should be collected with parental consent, if required. We advise you to take the time to thoroughly consider, research and understand how any SDKs or APIs used in your app may collect user data. Reading through any documentation for these SDKs or APIs is a good starting point. Keep in mind that any data exfiltrated from your app is your responsibility. Please also consult Play’s user data policy and applicable legal regulations in your target country for more guidance.

Neutral age screen 

A neutral age screen is a mechanism to verify a user's age in a way that doesn't encourage them to falsify their age and gain access to areas of your app that aren't designed for children, for example an age gate. An example of this would be a system that asks users to freely enter their month, day, and year of birth. An incorrect setup of a neutral age screen would be presetting the birth date to the required age (e.g., 13 years old) or indicating that a certain age is required to access areas of the app. Additional guidance on age screens may be found on the FTC website.

If your app's target age groups include children and older audiences, ads shown to children must be served from a Google Play certified ad network. A neutral age screen must be implemented so that any ads not suitable for children are only shown to older audiences.

Apps with unintentional appeal to children

We want to make sure that apps that are not designed for children don't inadvertently attract them.

If your app is not designed for children and you believe that your store listing does not contain any marketing elements that may appeal to children OR if you’re unsure, select No, my store listing does not appeal to children. No special designation will appear in your store listing. 

If your app is not designed for children but your listing contains marketing elements that may appeal to them (such as youthful animation or young characters in the graphic assets), choose Yes, my store listing could appeal to children. This is not an acknowledgement that your app appeals to children, but is your consent to apply a banner to your store listing that says “Not designed for children.” This helps parents know that your app is not designed for children.

 

App with label: This app is meant for audiences of 13 and older, but it features an animated character and other child appealing characteristics in the store listing. Children may accidentally download this app.

 

Unlike content ratings from ESRB or other third party rating authorities that identify potentially objectionable app content, the ‘Not designed for children’ label is meant to reflect the developer’s intended audience for their app. For example, this  app does not feature any marketing elements that could unintentionally appeal to children, and is intended for older audiences:

 

App without label: This app is meant for audiences of 13 and older, and its graphic assets are not considered appealing to children. It also has an ESRB rating of E for Everyone since it doesn't contain any objectionable app content. 

 

How to display the ‘Not designed for children’ label

Under Store presence > App content

  1. In the Target age group section, select non-children age group(s), considered the 13 and over categories.
  2. In the following Appeal to children question, select Yes, my store listing could appeal to children.

Note that even if you selected No, my store listing does not appeal to children, Google may disagree. If that happens, you'll have the following options:

  • Remove any marketing elements in your store listing that may appeal to children, including those that have been identified by our review team.
  • Select Yes, my store listing could appeal to children instead, so that the “Not designed for children” banner will appear in your store listing.
  • Change the target age group(s) of your app to include children (which will require complying with the Families policy).

 

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