Welcome to Pixalate’s CTV & Mobile App Manual Reviews According to COPPA, a series containing the detailed factors the Trust & Safety Advisory Board educators used to assess an app’s child-directedness.
The educators manually review thousands of mobile apps available in the Google Play & Apple App Stores as well as connected TV (CTV) apps from the Roku Channel Store and Amazon Fire TV App Store using the COPPA Rule factors shown below & make those results available to the public at ratings.pixalate.com.
This post takes a look at a popular game from the Google Play and Apple App Stores. Our reviewer discusses how the subjective factors set forth in the COPPA Rule apply to the app and factor into the reviewer's determination as to whether the app is child-directed or general audience (i.e., it is not targeting children).
The teacher will indicate the factors they relied upon in their assessment using the 10 factors shown below that reflect the 10 child-directed factors in the COPPA Rule.
There are several different Animal Math games put out by Eggroll games that are each tailored to specific grade levels. The titles and descriptions of each app make it very clear that the developer intends these apps to be used by children in the specified grades.
Each Animal Math app is aligned with Common Core Standards and is reflective of what children across the United States are learning in their classrooms. The different games within each app are divided out by specific standards, making it easy for teachers and parents to allow their children and students to practice what is currently being worked on at school. Having taught kindergarten and first grade math in the past, I found that many of the questions were very basic and a bit below the expected level of children on these grade levels. With that being said, this app could be useful for children struggling with specific math concepts in their grade level and children with a solid understanding of grade level math concepts might consider practicing on the next grade level up.
This app is visually appealing to children with simple animated characters and backgrounds. Different animals represent each of the categories of questions, making it easy to tell a child to navigate to “Ralphie the Cat” if they need to work on patterns or “Pinkie the Pig” to practice skip counting. The instructions and language within the app are simple and both written on the screen and spoken out loud. This allows young children still learning how to read to understand what to do within the game, while also giving them a chance to practice their own reading skills.
Each grade level app is centered around a theme with a background and animal characters that fit within that theme. The PreK app is farm themed, with a barn background and animals such as sheep and horses corresponding with the different categories of math questions.
Upbeat piano music is played in the background of the app, drawing children in to play the math games. The narrator gives instructions in a very cheerful way, encouraging children to answer the questions on the screen.
Incentives are a large part of this app, with users being awarded for answering questions correctly and completing all the questions within a category. When a correct answer is given, stars and balloons are awarded on the screen, applause is heard, and an encouraging phrase (awesome, good job, etc) is verbally spoken and visually written across the screen. Wrong answers do not elicit negative responses, preventing children from becoming discouraged and abandoning the app. Depending on the type of question, a wrong answer might drop away as an option or it might be deselected. This encourages the child to continue to try until they find the correct answer and trigger the applause and stars.
Reviews indicate that children are the primary users of the game. While there are a few reviews from teachers, most reviews are from parents. Age indications do tend to be on or below the grade level of the intended audience of the game. For example, there are many reviews of the First Grade Animal math from parents of kindergarten and preschool children, as well as the intended audience of first graders. Many parents indicate that they used these apps with their children to help them become ready for the next grade level.
The iOS and Android versions of the app do contain advertisements on the welcome screen for the other child directed apps by the same developer.
Screenshots of Animal Math - Preschool
Pixalate’s Trust and Safety Advisory Board was created to bring in individuals with experience using child-directed apps in the classroom to review and assess which apps are child-directed. This manual review process serves to quality check Pixalate’s automated review process. See our full methodology for more information.
This blog post published by Pixalate is available for informational purposes only and is not considered legal advice. By viewing this blog post, the reader understands and agrees that there is no attorney-client relationship between the reader and the blog publisher. The blog should not be used as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in the applicable jurisdiction(s), and readers are urged to consult their own legal counsel on any specific legal questions concerning any specific situation. The content of this blog post reflects Pixalate's opinions with respect to factors that Pixalate believes may be useful to the digital media industry. Pixalate's opinions are just that, opinions, which means that they are neither facts nor guarantees; and this blog post is not intended to impugn the standing or reputation of any entity, person or app, but instead, to report findings pertaining to mobile and Connected TV (CTV) apps.
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Disclaimer: The content of this page reflects Pixalate’s opinions with respect to the factors that Pixalate believes can be useful to the digital media industry. Any proprietary data shared is grounded in Pixalate’s proprietary technology and analytics, which Pixalate is continuously evaluating and updating. Any references to outside sources should not be construed as endorsements. Pixalate’s opinions are just that - opinion, not facts or guarantees.
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