Twitter drops the number of accounts users can follow in a day, more details about Microsoft’s Chromium-Edge, Wing launches a drone delivery service in Australia, and a lot more. Let’s talk about the biggest stories for April 9th, 2019.
The Play Store Has a Problem with Young Children Finding Violent Video Games
App stores are a haven for developers because they allow a single person to create an app, distribute it, and potentially reach millions of people. It’s very cool.
But that can also create problems. As recently uncovered by Wired, the Google Play Store, in particular, has an issue with violent games targeted at children. These games, which are generally listed as “suitable for all ages,” contain highly graphic content like blood, gore, violence, and more.
The issue here seems to be Google’s approach for approving apps for Play Store distribution—it essentially relies on the honor system and developer honesty. When a developer uploads an app or game, they’re required to also fill out a questionnaire with information about the age-appropriateness of the app or game. If the developer is dishonest about his or her product, then the app or game can gain a much wider audience—which includes young children who shouldn’t see the content in the first place.
The issue here is that Google doesn’t review these applications with human eyes, simply trusting that the developer is honest with its app’s content. While it would be nice to think this is enough, we all know what happens when things are left unchecked: it starts to become the wild west all over again. No rules, no laws. Anything goes. It’s anarchy.
And that’s what’s happening in the Play Store. Wired sent findings of some 52 different games over to Google with inappropriate content of some kind—including some that went as far as unnecessarily tracking location. At the time of reporting, Google had taken action on 16 of those games by either removing them or re-uploading them with appropriate ratings and permissions. (It’s worth noting that most of the games were actually legitimate games and weren’t doing anything shady or questionable outside of dishonestly being marked as appropriate for all ages.)
It’s unclear what action Google will take to prevent this in the future, but it would be nice to see it add some human involvement to the approval process. Just like it had to do with YouTube Kids to prevent inappropriate content, adding a human element to the approval process would go a long way—a person should know when a game involving blowing the heads off of zombies as blood and guts fly through the sky isn’t appropriate for a three-year-old.
But until then, as always, it’s a good idea to take a closer look at what your children are playing. Be vigilant, my friends.
Google News: Alphabet’s Wing Drone Delivery is Ready for Takeoff
Plus the Red Hydrogen One Titanium is available for sale, more details on Android TV’s ad situation, HTC’s apps are disappearing from Google Play, and a lot more.
- Wing, a division of Google’s parent company Alphabet, is set to launch its drone delivery service in Australia. It’ll cover just 100 homes initially, with goals to expand “in the coming weeks and months.” Neat-o. [
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