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 atratings.pixalate.com.
This post takes a look at a popular mobile app on both the Apple App and Google Play 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).
Tabitha’s take:Create an endless combination of cat avatars
COPPA factors used to determine audience
This mixed audience app allows the user to design their own cat avatar. Users can select the cat’s color, eyes, ears, tail, clothing, accessories, and even extras such as wings or items held in the cat’s mouth. Once the cat is complete, there are a variety of backgrounds to choose from. The cats, their possible features, and the backgrounds are anime style, with big eyes and fantasy themes that would appeal to both children and adults.
While the app, itself, focuses on the visual creation of these cat avatars; the language of the app description seems to be targeting children. While the title of the app contains the word “cat,” every reference in the description uses “kitty” instead of “cat,” indicating a younger targeted demographic. Star shaped bullet points in the description and emoticon cats further indicate that the developers are targeting children as part of their intended audience.
Banner advertisements are always present across the bottom of the app and video advertisements play often. Some of the advertisements are for other apps that would appeal to kids, while others are for things that would appeal to adults such as banks, news sites, and streaming services. Certain avatar features are only available by watching an ad first.
Reviews indicate that both adults and children are enjoying this app. Several reviews mention Warrior Cats, which is a popular children’s book series by Erin Hunter, however the app itself doesn’t seem to have any direct connection to these books. Some users seem to be children that are currently reading the books, while other reviews indicate nostalgic adults recalling a favorite series from their childhood.
This app has a US rating of E and a European PEGI of 3 and up. This app is also available on the Apple App Store with an age rating of 4+.
Screenshots for Avatar Maker: Cats 2:
About Pixalate’s Trust & Safety Advisory Board
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.
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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.
Per the MRC,
“'Fraud' is not intended to represent fraud as defined in various laws, statutes and ordinances or as conventionally used in U.S. Court or other
legal proceedings, but rather a custom definition strictly for advertising measurement purposes. Also per the MRC,
“‘Invalid Traffic’ is defined generally as traffic
that does not meet certain ad serving quality or completeness criteria, or otherwise does not represent legitimate ad traffic that should be included in measurement counts.
Among the reasons why ad traffic may be deemed invalid is it is a result of non-human traffic (spiders, bots, etc.), or activity designed to produce fraudulent traffic.”