The use of technology as a tool for enriching families' lives continues to grow, and parents are looking for safe, high-quality content to share with their children. You may be designing your apps specifically for children or your app may just attract their attention. Google Play wants to help you make sure your app is safe for all users, including families.
The word "children" can mean different things in different locales and in different contexts. It is important that you consult with your legal counsel to help determine what obligations and/or age-based restrictions may apply to your app. You know best how your app works so we are relying on you to help us make sure apps on Google Play are safe for families.
Apps designed specifically for children must participate in the Designed for Families program. If your app targets both children and older audiences, you may still participate in the Designed for Families program. All apps that opt in to the Designed for Families program will be eligible to be rated for the Teacher Approved program, but we cannot guarantee that your app will be included in the Teacher Approved program. If you decide not to participate in the Designed for Families program, you still must comply with the Google Play Families Policy requirements below, as well as all other Google Play Developer Program Policies and the Developer Distribution Agreement.
Play Console Requirements
Target Audience and Content
In the Target Audience and Content section of the Google Play Console you must indicate the target audience for your app, prior to publishing, by selecting from the list of age groups provided. Regardless of what you identify in the Google Play Console, if you choose to include imagery and terminology in your app that could be considered targeting children, this may impact Google Play's assessment of your declared target audience. Google Play reserves the right to conduct its own review of the app information that you provide to determine whether the target audience that you disclose is accurate.
If you select a target audience that only includes adults, but Google determines that this is inaccurate because your app is targeting both children and adults, you will have the option to make clear to users that your app is not targeting children by agreeing to carry a warning label.
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 the selected age group(s). For example, apps designed for babies, toddlers, and preschool children should only have the age group "Ages 5 & Under" selected as the age group target for those apps. If your app is designed for a specific level of school, choose the age group that best represents that school level. You should only select age groups that include both adults and children if you truly have designed your app for all ages.
Updates to Target Audience and Content Section
You can always update your app's information in the Target Audience and Content section in the Google Play Console. An app update is required before this information will be reflected on the Google Play store. However, any changes you make in this section of the Google Play Console may be reviewed for policy compliance even before an app update is submitted.
We strongly recommend that you let your existing users know if you change the target age group for your app or start using ads or in-app purchases, either by using the "What's New" section of your app's store listing page or through in-app notifications.
Misrepresentation in Play Console
Misrepresentation of any information about your app in the Play Console, including in the Target Audience and Content section, may result in removal or suspension of your app, so it is important to provide accurate information.
Families Policy Requirements
Examples of common violations
If one of the target audiences for your app is children, you must comply with the following requirements. Failure to satisfy these requirements may result in app removal or suspension.
Designed for Families Program
Examples of common violations
Apps designed specifically for children must participate in the Designed for Families program. If your app is designed for everyone, including children and families, you too can apply to participate in the program.
Before being accepted into the program your app must meet all of the Families Policy requirements and Designed for Families eligibility requirements, in addition to those outlined in the Google Play Developer Program Policies and Developer Distribution Agreement.
For more information on the process for submitting your app for inclusion in the program, click here.
All apps participating in the Designed for Families program must have both app and ad content that are relevant and appropriate for children (apps must be rated ESRB Everyone or Everyone 10+, or equivalent) and must only use Google Play certified ad SDKs. Apps accepted into the Designed for Families program must remain compliant with all program requirements. Google Play may reject, remove, or suspend any app determined to be inappropriate for the Designed for Families program.
If you are accepted to participate in the Designed for Families program, you can choose a second Families-specific category that describes your app. Here are the categories available for apps participating in the Designed for Families program:
Action & Adventure: Action-oriented apps/games, including everything from simplistic racing games to fairy tale adventures, to other apps and games that are designed to generate excitement.
Brain Games: Games that make the user think, including puzzles, matching games, quizzes, and other games that challenge the memory, intelligence or logic.
Creativity: Apps and games that encourage creativity, including drawing apps, painting apps, coding apps, and other apps and games where you can build and make things.
Education: Apps and games designed with input from learning experts (e.g., educators, learning specialists, researchers) to promote learning, including academic, social-emotional, physical, and creative learning, as well as learning related to basic life skills, critical thinking, and problem solving.
Music and Video: Apps and games with a musical or video component, including everything from instrument simulation apps to apps that provide video and musical audio content.
Pretend Play: Apps and games where the user can pretend to take on a role, for example, pretending to be a chef, care-giver, prince/princess, firefighter, police person or fictional character.