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How Inappropriate Content in the Google Play Store May Have Been Prevented

Despite all the modern high-tech technologies, software protection and strict laws governing gaming in some territories, the Google Play Store remains one of the most dangerous areas where online gambling operators and the developers of violent games can target juveniles.

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Even though Apple’s App Store is almost twice more prominent than the one from Google, the latter is showing much faster growth. For example, in 2018, there were twice more applications in Play Store than in 2016. These days, around 6,000 applications are being uploaded to the app store daily. Can you imagine how many games and applications are in the Google Play Store? The most exciting thing is that most smartphone users have over 80 apps in their devices but use only half of them.

On the one hand, such fast development is a high tendency. Android users have a more extensive choice of applications, which are continually updating and improving to keep afloat. If an application does not become more convenient and a game more exciting, they will be suppressed merely by other, better products from Marketplace.

On the other hand, Google’s Store does not check the age ratings of the applications that are being uploaded to its store and they are yet to set any strict standards for the uploaded apps to be complied with. Just for you to compare, Apple’s App Store has a strict policy regarding iOS applications and their developers. Thus, iPhone and iPad users receive high-quality and secure apps that don’t contain any malware or viruses.

Anyways, the biggest issue is that both App Stores feature some violent games, and their apps are filled with sexual content and online gaming apps with real money games that can be downloaded easily and then used by children around the world.

Types of Games Children Should Stay Clear off in Google Play Store

We can differentiate the three types of games that are unsafe for kids these days. These are games with sexual content, online casino apps and bloody games. Let us start with the first. Casino owners have been moving their products actively to mobile platforms; Google Play Store is also filled up with casino apps, as well as other applications that involved real money gambling, sportsbooks and lotteries.

In 2013, Google attempted to restrict the upload of apps and games that were offering its users an opportunity to gain financial benefits. Though, several years later, the company revised its policy regarding online gambling and then later lifted the restrictions for specific countries (France, Ireland and Great Britain). Though the tech giants tried to do everything possible to regulate the gambling apps, even though it’s inevitable for children to get affected by this content.

The second and most controversial game type is apps that contain sexual content. Google claims that it limits the distribution of all pornography-based apps through its store, but you can be able to find some games that feature semi-nude characters and some other adult-only content. A Google example is “Is It Love”. This game combines both violet and sexual content. You can notice that it’s available for 12-year-old users while it should have been rated as “18+”.

And finally, everybody knows how children can be easily influenced by violent and bloody games, which teach them how to kill, steal and even rape. And of course, a large part of being a parent is to restrict them from playing and even knowing about such contents, but is it possible to hide children from the modern gaming world?

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That is why app stores should also take control of such content. So far, we can see how many children are playing The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Grand Theft Auto and other bloody games which have a terrible influence.

Preventing Children from Inappropriate Content on Google Play

To gain access to games and applications on Google Play, you must sign in with your Gmail. However, Google asks a user to verify his age when creating a new email address; this verification process requires nothing but merely to select your age from the drop-down menu. They don’t ask any copies of your documents to see whether you have entered valid credentials.

Certainly, it makes the sign-up procedure fast and easy-to-pass but what would stop a 10-year boy to register as a 30-year-old man? Nothing. That is the reason a little boy can easily download any content from the App Store right after he has opened an email. So, the very first thing Google’s Store could do is to make the sign-up process a bit more complicated by adding verification through passports or other identification documents.

One major problem of Google Ply is that nobody controls the age ratings of the apps and games that are being uploaded. They do have rules that are related to the age rating system, but no one obeys them. For example, you can find different Android casino apps that are available for players who are 4-years and older.

Also, all the games that feature some porn or sexual content should contain the “18+” label, but still, some software developers forget about that. The only way out is to check each app and game to make sure they comply with the required age rating rules and standards. Though it will increase Google’s expenses for workforce employment, generating 30% income from all paid apps and in-app purchases. Don’t you agree?

Lastly, even if Google tries to detect inappropriate content, it only erases this app and game, without imposing any fine s on the developers responsible. By placing some penalty for the unfair developers, its app store would not be packed with so many apps that don’t coincide with what is written in their descriptions.

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Gideon Akeni
Observe and Conquer

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