Google Play launches ‘teacher approved’ kid-friendly tab

16 Apr 2020415 Views

Image: © piter2121/Stock.adobe.com

Designed with teachers and academics, the new feature aims to make it easier for children and parents to find ‘enriching and entertaining’ content on the Google Play store.

On Wednesday (15 April), Google launched a new tab aimed specifically at children on the US Google Play store, while announcing plans to expand the launch internationally in the coming months.

In a blogpost, Google Play UX director Mindy Brooks said the goal of the new kid-friendly tab is to make it easier for parents to find “the good stuff” for kids. She added that the tab will be filled with “teacher approved” apps that are “both enriching and entertaining.”

Google said that it launched the Kids tab earlier than it had initially planned, with the aim of helping parents who are trying to entertain and educate children at home due to Covid-19 measures.

Occupying kids at home

“We decided to launch the Kids tab a bit earlier than planned because parents who have tried it out told us that it’s been helpful, especially now with their kids home from school and spending more time with screens,” Brooks said.

She added that early users may not see some of their favourite apps featured just yet, due to the early launch, but that Google is adding content to the tab as quickly as possible.

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Google said it teamed up with academic experts and teachers across the US to determine what apps belong under this tab. Advisers on the project include Georgetown University’s Dr Sandra Calvert and Harvard’s Joe Blatt.

Apps will be rated on factors such as age-appropriateness, quality of experience, and enrichment and delight, according to Google. The Play store will include information about why the app was rated highly to help parents decide whether it is right for their kids.

A screenshot outlining the positive features of a child-friendly app.

A screenshot of the Kids tab on the Google Play app. Image: Google

Engaging with parents

“Today’s announcement wouldn’t be possible without teachers who’ve been working closely with us for the last few years to curate apps that can help kids develop, grow and have fun,” Brooks said.

“We trust teachers to enrich our kids while they’re in school, and we’re grateful they’ve shared their expertise to rate the apps kids use when they’re not in school as well.”

Now that the feature is being rolled out in the US, the Play store is seeking feedback from parents as it plans the international roll-out of the Kids tab.

Google also reminded users that parents who want to set digital ground rules for their kids, such as setting time limits on the apps children have on their personal devices, can do so on the Family Link app.

Kelly Earley is a journalist with Siliconrepublic.com

editorial@siliconrepublic.com