Internet users undoubtedly want to protect their personal information always. The primary concern is protecting the young ones from obscene contents found online. Many internet platforms are taking the necessary steps to prevent underage users from making use of their website, whereas some others neglect this. Alcohol manufacturers and adult content sites typically require visitors to input their date of birth before they could be granted access to their platform. A lot of sites that ask for age verification can be found on the Internet. Sometimes users tell the truth about their age, and other times, they lie.
These websites only make use of the answers given by the user. So, if the user says he is of age to access the site, he will be granted access whether he is lying or not. This means there are some loopholes in the age verification process. The real fact is that the websites ask, but there are a few proper ways of proving the authenticity of the user’s answer.
What is Age Verification Technology?
This technology is also referred to as the age gate. It is the protective measure utilized by online platforms to restrict access to digital content from those who are not within the appropriate age bracket. There are contents classified for specific users, and it is inappropriate for people outside that category to access them.
These contents could be pornography, tobacco and alcohol advertising, or video games with violent characters. Countries around the world put in their best effort to ensure that these contents do not find their way to an inappropriate age group, especially minors.
Why Is It Important?
The Internet continues to grow daily, which means it is imperative to place certain age restrictions on some contents. Social media platforms like Twitter and Tumblr have been working towards cutting down access by underaged users. Some countries like that UK are taking the necessary steps towards improving laws surrounding age verification. Businesses are being persuaded to find a lasting solution to age verification. This could help in protecting minors against identity theft, cyberbullying, child grooming, child pornography, etc. All these crimes might not be detected until it is too late. Allowing your kids unrestricted and ill-monitored access to the Internet exposes them to more harm than you can imagine.
Online age verification started gaining a lot of traction after the Queen of England mentioned it in a speech and said that the UK government would place more focus on it. They have mounted a lot of pressure on dating apps to increase their minimum user age because that is were most of these hideous abuses take place.
Also, online businesses are seeing the need to prevent children from accessing their services. There are age-restricted products that businesses should never allow any underaged person to use. Less parental control is the main reason why kids start accessing inappropriate content online.
Where Is It Being Applied?
There are specific platforms where age verification should not be overlooked. A little oversight in that aspect could be damaging to the user. Online platforms where age verification applied are
- Adult Content Sites
Developers and owners of online adult content websites should ensure that there is adequate age verification before anyone is granted access to their site. If this is neglected and an underage user mistakenly accesses the website, it could cause a lot of damage to the child. Pornographic sites also have some chat features whereby people can interact in a forum. Without adequate parental control and age verification, perverts could prey on unsuspecting kids and abuse them.
- Gambling Sites
It is not uncommon to see kids signing up on gambling sites. This is most prevalent in developing countries. There are also reported cases whereby kids go to gambling outlets and get attended to as if they are adults. Neglecting age verification for gambling sites could lead to early addiction, which is not good for the consumer’s future.
- Sellers of Alcoholic Beverages
We all know that an individual has to be 18 years and above before any form of alcohol should be sold to him/her. Various online alcohol vendors have made this mistake countless times. They should put in more effort towards ensuring that they sell their products to the right age group.
Types of Age Verification
- Birth Date
This is the most common type of age verification. Users are simply asked to key in their date of birth in a form. The reply you get depends on the honesty of the user because a minor who is not of age can fill in a date that meets the criteria to gain access. This method is not particularly effective.
- Credit Card Verification
Platforms with a better age verification system will demand the user’s credit card information. This is because there is this belief that the majority of credit card holders are adults – in the United States, credit card companies do not issue cards to individuals under 18. A minor can bypass this by obtaining their parents’ credit card information, or they could fraudulently persuade someone into giving them the credit card information. This has, to some extent, rendered this system ineffective.
- Federated Identification
There is an age verification provider that currently uses third party individuals to get accurate information on the user’s age. They are known as AgeID. Porn sites like MindGeek have started to operate with this particular age verification system because it seems to perform more effectively than the other two mentioned above.
Businesses around the world are beginning to adopt ID scanning technology. This system makes it easier to identify clients quickly and more efficiently. There is so much information stored in ID cards, such as your driver’s license. Once it is scanned, it pulls up all the information stored on the card. The information might include your date of birth, personal address, eye color, and height. Your SSN might also be displayed sometimes.
The Internet is a big place with tons of content – both the good, the bad, and the ugly. It is vital to ensure that a user views content that is age-appropriate for him. The age verification systems which exist today have made that possible, and we recommend that all platforms should adopt one of the systems.