Twitter's new six-second video clip sharing app Vine, has had its age rating increased to 17+ on the App Store.
The re-rating of the software – previously deemed suitable for 12-year-olds – follows complaints that some of its segments were pornographic. The app is not yet available for Android.
Tumblr and 500px have also had their Apple apps ratings raised to the 17+ maximum age rating in the last two weeks.
The change in Vine's status was first noted by technology news site The Verge. This followed a previous report that one of its Editors Picks showed a couple engaging in a sexual act. The clip made Vine's 'popular now' list, for which Twitter later apologised, blaming the faux pas on "human error". Some of the offending accounts have also been deleted, but material is not vetted prior to going online.
500px's recent blocking from Apple's App Store "for featuring pornographic images and material" was reversed after an in-app button was added to enable users to alert the service to inappropriate pictures.
Apple requires developers to complete a checklist alerting it to any issues with their software before a rating is issued and the app made available. Apps must qualify for the 17+ rating if they involve "sexual content, nudity, alcohol, tobacco and drugs". Customers are told that they must not download apps if they fall below the stated age limit – but the warning message can be dismissed with a click. Android, on the other hand, leaves developers to rate their own software but reserves the right to change the rating.
Googls stipulates that apps which "focus on suggestive or sexual references must be rated high maturity", yet does not prevent minors from installing any app.
The issue highlights parents' responsibility to monitor children's use of smartphones. Safer Technology Lead Claire Lilley said: "The internet and mobile phones are now part and parcel of young people's everyday lives. The benefits are huge, both socially and educationally, but so too are the dangers."
Lilley added "We cannot put the genie back in the bottle, but we can talk to our children about this issue. Parents, schools, technology companies, and young people themselves can all play their part."