Parental gates are used in apps targeted towards kids to prevent them from engaging in commerce or following links out of an app to websites, social networks, or other apps without the knowledge of their parent or guardian.

The Parental Gate is indeed a requirement for ANY links out of the app, including to the app store (and including to another free, kids’ app). So any clickable ads from Publishers will have to trigger it.

A parental gate presents an adult level task which must be completed in order to continue.

Apple is vague about what is and isn’t acceptable, so for publishers it’s a bit of a crapshoot to try different things and see what sticks. there are many different approaches, which range from “Hold and press” instructions (for pre-reading kids), to math problems such as ours, for 8-12s. ( attached at the end )

Our project manager proposed 3 level of difficulty that publishers can pick depending target age but I like to explore more original solutions around this topic.

Thanks in advance

More info :

Our 3 level of difficulty target :

  1. Easy : Pre school age kids
  2. Medium : 7 - 9
  3. Hard : 10 - 12

While math question is a quick win for easy parental gates, medium and hard need a different approach.

enter image description here

  • 1
    Very interesting question. Why are these techniques used rather than a regular old password? Jul 11, 2016 at 15:26
  • I added more explanation about parental gate : 'The Parental Gate is indeed a requirement for ANY links out of the app, including to the app store (and including to another free, kids’ app). So any clickable ads from Publishers will have to trigger it.' Jul 11, 2016 at 15:34
  • 1
    Ask them how many Pokemon there are, if they say more than 151 they're too young.
    – DasBeasto
    Jul 11, 2016 at 15:54
  • 3
    As an aside, on those screens I would certainly include what it is your're proceeding to "Drag to continure to checkout" "Answer to proceed to link" etc. If a kid handed me that I would be hesitant to complete it as it may just authorize me to view a picture or it may be trying to charge my credit card.
    – DasBeasto
    Jul 11, 2016 at 15:58

3 Answers 3


What about using pattern identification? This would make it more difficult to simply Google the answer, which I think would be most kid's first response ;)

This combines a few skills into one problem. It combines pattern identification with addition (or some math operation).

Maybe something like this: enter image description here

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    I am looking for something around this logic, but this is still way too hard for some parents. Jul 15, 2016 at 15:04
  • Could be something like: "1, 3, 5, 7, 9, _____"
    – nightning
    Jul 15, 2016 at 16:14
  • With Common Core, my kids could probably identify the pattern quicker than me, but I love it
    – CCantey
    Jul 15, 2016 at 19:23

The most common paradigm I've seen is the "enter numbers that we've provided in text" form. These work well for apps target at preschoolers and young children (mine hasn't been able to get through one yet!).

I would avoid the middle option as you're basically giving them a 1 in 4 chance of being correct whereas the other two options require more than random chance.

Examples: enter image description hereenter image description here

  • Thank you for the advice kerr, these exemples are pretty good for pre school kids, so we can categorize them as easy but for the kids aged 7 - 12 it will be fairly easy to solve. So I was thinking to generate 'general culture' problems but I am afraid some of the question could be hard for some less attentive parents. Jul 12, 2016 at 15:39
  • 2
    @DenizErdal You'd also have the issue of dealing with people from other cultures in that case. I know plenty of immigrants fresh to the US that wouldn't be able to tell you squat about US cultural references.
    – DasBeasto
    Jul 12, 2016 at 16:43
  • @DenizErdal Perhaps extend the preschoolers option to match your 3rd one: e.g. Sixteen + Seven = __ .
    – kerr
    Jul 12, 2016 at 22:40

I would suggest just a password that the parents set. Kids are usually much smarter than you think, and would be able to figure out most of the examples. I know this from experience.

  • Good call Fred, the issue is in order to set a password for that given app or site, we need a far more complicated system (a parent account and a kid account attached to that parent account) May 8, 2018 at 10:58

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