Verizon Wireless said on Tuesday that it has fully implemented the new CTIA Mobile Application Rating System to all apps, including legacy apps, offered within the Verizon Apps store. These ratings are similar to those assigned by the ESRB for video games, offering customers -- especially those with smartphone-weilding kids and teens -- with information about whether an app is appropriate for their specific age group.
"It is important that parents and consumers are informed about the content in applications, so we are proud to implement a rating system that uses the ESRB categories, whose ratings consumers know and trust," said Jack McArtney, director of corporate and community responsibility at Verizon. "We understand how difficult it can be to tell which apps are appropriate for children, and the rating system represents the first step to help parents and caregivers ensure apps available within the Verizon Apps store are being used by the appropriate audience."
This mobile app rating system was developed by the ESRB and the CTIA to provide consistent ratings across all participating storefronts. Naturally the CTIA chose the ESRB based on its experience, and because it's a ratings system consumers trust. That said, customers browsing through the Verizon Apps store will see similar rating systems stamped on app listings. Presumably children and teens locked under a content filter won't be able to download specific apps without parental approval.
"Not all apps are meant for all ages. Our ratings exist to empower parents with the ability to make informed decisions about which ones are right for their child," added ESRB President Patricia Vance. "We are very pleased that Verizon has embraced our ratings, providing consumers a consistent, reliable standard by which to manage their children’s access to content and ensure their experience is age-appropriate."
The CTIA and the ESRB originally announced that rating system back in November 2011. Since then, they have been working closely with six founding storefronts and numerous developers to create a rating system specifically designed for mobile applications. Verizon is reportedly the first to have ratings applied to all apps, including legacy apps.
The CTIA Mobile Application Rating System with ESRB consists of three parts:
* the age rating category (often identified via a rating symbol), which suggests age appropriateness;
* content descriptors, which indicate elements that may have triggered a particular rating and/or may be of interest or concern; and
* in-app elements, which advise consumers of other elements that may be of interest or concern, including possible exposure to unfiltered user-generated content, displaying a user’s location to other users or the sharing of user-provided personal information with third parties.
Participating storefronts may display any or all of the components of an app’s rating prior to it being downloaded and/or utilize this information as filtering criteria. The ratings are identical to those offered for video games: E, E 10+, T, M and AO. Additional information about the ratings can be accessed here.