The days of plopping kids in front of a TV to distract them are waning — these days, it's usually a tablet loaded with apps. But picking out the right sorts of apps for your kids can be tough. Google hopes to make that a bit easier for parents with two new changes coming to the Play Store: A new Kids tab filled with apps best suited for them, and a new "teacher approved" app rating to mark the cream of the age-appropriate crop.
An example of a teacher approved app rating and explanation.
The new app rating system was built with the help of educators from Harvard and Georgetown, creating a system specifically to "pinpoint criteria for developmental appropriateness, learning impact, and appeal," according to Harvard adviser Joe Blatt.
Apps that get the new teacher-approved rating will be labeled with the icon you see above in their app listing, plus a more detailed explanation for why they got the badge in a range of categories. Things like age appropriateness, an engaging and accessible design, and other advantages are described, if present.
These teacher-approved apps will also be easier to find, thanks to a new dedicated "Kids" tab in the Apps section of the Play Store. It isn't live for us just yet, but everything included in it will be explicitly teacher approved and sorted into easily parsed sub-categories.
These changes will start rolling out over the next few days, according to Google, starting in the US but expanding internationally over the following months.