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 game which is available from the Google Play & 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.
‘Cat Room - Cute Cat Games’ is a game that allows users to care for animated cats. It is aesthetically pleasing for both adults and children, with adorable animated cats to feed, put to bed, and wash. The room and items within the room can also be customized to build a unique home for the cat. Cat toys, beds, and other accessories can be customized alongside household items such as kitchens, rugs, and plants. While the cat remains the main focus, the setting around the cat is unique to each player. Players can also visit other cat rooms and send stickers to fellow players.
The animation in this game is simple and repetitive. While there are many different types of cats, they have the same patterns of animation. They seem to move through different animation patterns depending on the action being performed. Additional animations accompany finishing an action, such as coins being collected or an item being cleaned after use.
Playful music can be heard in the background which is very similar to the type of music you would find in a child’s television show. Interacting with the cat rewards users with a “meow.” Clicking and interacting with items in the room or selecting actions on the menu each makes their unique push-button-type noises reminiscent of a game teaching toddlers how to interact with a touchscreen.
Idle activities, cat care, and household activities can earn stars, coins, and cat food. Mini-games can also be played to earn additional rewards. The different types of points earned in these activities can be exchanged for additional cats and room items, along with upgrading existing items. As the player increases their level they can earn additional rewards by visiting and rating other players’ rooms.
Much of the language in this app does seem to be geared towards children, This app was originally written in Japanese and has been translated to English. This can lead to some awkward language and confusing phrasing at times. When new items or goals are introduced, there is a lot of text presented on the screen at one time for a child to understand. However, the app itself is quite intuitive and a player does not need to be able to read or understand the written instructions to enjoy the app.
There are occasional video ads that seem to be for a variety of general audience apps.
“Cat Room - Cute Cat Games” is rated 4+ in the Apple App Store, E in the US Google Play Store, and PEGI 3 in the European Google Play Stores. The title and description containing the word “cute” reflect an intention for children to use the app. App reviews indicate that children are using the app, with many reviews written by children and parents indicating their children are using the app. Additionally, there are reviews from teens and adults, reflecting the mixed audience nature of this app.
Screenshots of Cat Room - Cute Cat Games
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.
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.”