Nov 24 AT 5:01 PM Taylor Wimberly 9 Comments

Mandatory content rating system coming soon to Android Market

Starting in the next couple of weeks, Google will implement a mandatory content rating system for all apps in the Android Market. On November 30th, Developers will be required to login to the Android Market Developer Console and assign one of four ratings to their app.

The four levels of content ratings inclue All, Pre-teen, Teen, and Mature. Google has provided details on how apps should be ranked over at the Android Market Help Center.

Developers will be ultimately responsible for rating the content in their apps and if they fail to do so they will receive a Mature rating. In addition, Android users can also notify Google if they believe an app is incorrectly rated.

The timeline of these content ratings also matches Google’s timeline for Gingerbread, which they said was coming in the next few weeks. We don’t know exactly how these content ratings will be used, but it appears that Google is going to implement some kind of parental controls to help parents control the kinds of apps their kids are downloading.

Whatever happens, I’m just excited that we are finally getting an updated Market next month.

Some guidelines of how apps should be rated include:

  • Alcohol, Tobacco and Drugs: Apps that include references to drugs, alcohol or tobacco products or their use should be rated “Teen” or above. Apps that focus on the consumption or sale of drugs, alcohol or tobacco should be rated “Mature”. Illegal activity or content that is targeted at minors is not allowed in Android Market.
  • Gambling: Apps with gambling themes or that include simulated gambling should be rated “Teen” or above. Real gambling is not allowed in Android Market.
  • Hate: Hate speech is not allowed in Android Market. If your app includes inflammatory content that may be offensive to many users, please rate it “Teen” or above.
  • Location: Applications rated “All” should not ask users for their location at any point. Apps that ask to access course or fine location data should be rated “Pre-Teen” or above. Apps that enable users to publish or share their location with others should be rated “Teen” or above.
  • Profanity and Crude Humor: Apps that include profanity or crude humor should be rated “Teen” or above.
  • Sexual and Suggestive Content: Apps that include suggestive or sexual references should be rated “Teen” or above. Apps that focus on such content should be rated “Mature”. Pornography is not allowed in Android Market.
  • User Generated Content and User to User Communication: Apps rated “All” should not host any user generated content or enable communication between users. Apps that focus on allowing users to find and communicate with each other should be rated “Teen” or above.
  • Violence: Apps that include mild cartoon or fantasy violence should be rated “Pre-Teen” or above. Realistic or intense fantasy violence should be rated “Teen” or above. Graphic violence should be rated ‘“Mature”. Gratuitous real violence is not allowed in Android Market.

Via: Android Developers Blog

Source: Android Market Help

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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  • http://Website icecrush

    Twitter with geo-tagging ? LOL

    • Lekky

      Rated as pre-teen.. Seems a fine classification to me..

  • http://Website Tito!

    Does anybody see the point in this?
    Reading the Categories and Rating recommended req. made me laugh
    It’s not like many 5 year olds will be carrying a cell phone .
    the population of cell phone owners mainly consists of teenagers (which in return ends up being “All Users”)
    So basically, the rating sysem is unnecessary. XD

    • http://Website Adam Clark

      That’s not the point here…

      the kid can still borrow their parent’s phone and play with it and download an app or two.

      Because of this parents can set the parental control to prevent kid from downloading mature apps.

    • http://Website Daniel

      Don’t ever forget that Android is not exclusively a cell phone OS, though. Maybe kids don’t use cell phones, but they’re very likely to use tablets, smart TVs, portable music/gaming devices, and whatever might run Android in the not-so-distant future.

  • http://tinyurl.com/bmmarket A-Droid

    I’m developing a level editor (Ball Madness) for my game. You can upload your level, rate and comment on other people’s levels.
    So, Ball Madness will be teen or above. Strange, this is such an innocent game..
    Also, Ad targeting usually needs coarse location, so most free apps can’t be for “all”.

    A-Droid

    • http://Website CTown

      Just explain that the “Teen” rating is for being able to comment on user generated levels in your app’s Market description. I am pretty sure your app would be “Pre-Teen” anyways, since your app doesn’t “focus on allowing users to find and communicate with each”. (Rule 7)

  • http://127.0.0.1 grellanl

    Y’know, content rating is all very well, and I know it’s going to provide an answer to the “if you want porn, by an Android” brigade, but I’m much more interested in being able to properly filter, sort, and find the good stuff – and block all the junk.

    Let me block soundboards, wallpaper collections, and other such crap. Filter by developer (so I can report and block on sight those devs that release fifty ‘wallpaper apps’ of ‘hot asian babes’ with every keyword under the sun, so they appear when you do a search for ‘recipes’ or something).

    Then, I can actually USE these new categories that are being provided.

    I really hope this is covered in the Market updates planned for this month.

  • http://www.nightshadelabs.com David Shellabarger

    This is an important step for the Android Market. Before now Google has really dropped the ball on keeping kids safe on Android.
    My impression is that these rating will be applied only by developers. I’m not sure if that will work or not. I can’t think of any successful content rating system that allows content owners to rate their own content.

    Regardless, I think this is a good move. I created Smart Lock to keep kids safe on their parents phones, but once kids start getting their own smart phones a totally different type of app is required.

    I look forward to finding out more in a couple of days.