Ratings in the iTunes App Store
As seen in the functionality chart above, all of these social media apps have ratings within the app store. But what do these ratings mean?
4+ Applications in this category contain no objectionable material.
9+ Applications in this category may contain mild or infrequent occurrences of cartoon, fantasy or realistic violence, and infrequent or mild mature, suggestive, or horror-themed content which may not be suitable for children under the age of 9.
12+ Applications in this category may also contain infrequent mild language, frequent or intense cartoon, fantasy or realistic violence, and mild or infrequent mature or suggestive themes, and simulated gambling which may not be suitable for children under the age of 12.
17+ You must be at least 17 years old to purchase this application. Applications in this category may also contain frequent and intense offensive language; frequent and intense cartoon, fantasy or realistic violence; and frequent and intense mature, horror, and suggestive themes; plus sexual content, nudity, alcohol, tobacco, and drugs which may not be suitable for children under the age of 17.
How apps receive an age rating is still unclear. It appears as though app developers fill out forms explaining their app and from there, the app developer recommends a rating.
However, age ratings are subjective and do not take several major issues into consideration. For example, the age ranking does not take into consideration the ability to talk to strangers within the app, or the amount of pervasive and expensive in-app purchases. Thus, an app that allows the user to speak to strangers within the game could have the same age rating as one that is filled with simple game play.
Ratings in the Google Play Store
Although the chart above focuses on the ratings for iOS devices, these social media apps are also available for download on Android/Google mobile devices. The ratings are slightly different within the Google Play store.
Below are the ratings for the social media apps from Google Play:
Facebook: Medium Maturity
Instagram: Medium Maturity
Snapchat: Medium Maturity
Twitter: Medium Maturity
Vine: Medium Maturity
YouTube: Medium Maturity
Tumblr: Low Maturity
The Google Play ratings system consists of four levels:
- Low Maturity
- Medium Maturity
- High Maturity
Below are the guidelines for these rating systems as found on the Google Play website: