Home General Significance of Digital Age Verification During Pandemic

Significance of Digital Age Verification During Pandemic

by Olufisayo
Age Verification

Covid-19 is the worst pandemic the world has ever experienced. It mandated people to remain inside their homes for months. Social distancing which was only for skin diseased patients is now for everyone.

Minimum physical movement means no flights or other transport. International travel was reduced to the minimum level during the pandemic lockdown. Covid-19 has set new norms for daily routine which will be applicable in the future also.

The pandemic has also affected kids like others. According to UNESCO, 50% of the students didn’t attend school in the year 2020 because of a pandemic. Some restrictions are eased, but the virus is still here. To fight the disease more effectively, governments have not opened all educational institutions.

Students are getting their lectures from online video streaming websites or virtual meeting platforms. This means that the usage of communication gadgets has increased in kids. The sudden increase has also made kids vulnerable to age-restricted content and adult-related products. This increases the use of some age verification solutions that can protect from these.

Age Verification – Preventing and Protecting Kids

Reasons Why it is Necessary

  • The research of the British Board of Film Classification showed that during lockdown 47% of kids have seen the content that they wished not to see and 13 % watched negative videos every day. This trend is not expected to decrease with the opening of schools. The problem is that online users have not yet filtered by their age. Online businesses do research before launching any new product that also includes knowing their users’ age group. But when the service or page is live, there is no restriction on the view of the content or accessing services
  • During the lockdown, the Internet Watch and its associates blocked 8.8 million requests of accessing content related to child sexual abuse by UK internet users
  • The United Kingdom has published an Online Harm Bill in December 2020. In the bill, it was discussed how kids became easy victims of abusing and cyberbullying. By reviewing this report, they are going to make new legislation for age verification. The law will define the nature of age-restricted content. The UK will mandate tech companies to adopt the new regulations. The website will be held responsible for the unauthorized use of adult content by minors
  • Parents are more worried about their kids’ online safety. Statistics show that in 2019 85% of parents of children between 5 and 15 show concerns, the percentage was 82 in 2018

Current Measures Taken by Websites

At this time, websites are using multiple methods of verifying the user’s ages. Most of them are not very effective for kids’ protection. As the laws and requirements by government regulators are getting strict, the websites have to go for secure and convenient ways for age verification.

Checkbox Consent Method

In this method, the user has to tick a checkbox demanding his consent. Usually, there is a web page containing terms and conditions and at the bottom, there is consent “I am above 18”. Actually, this method does not verify the age but requires consent instead.

Online Age Verification

This method is related to KYC (know your customer), where a person is verified by giving his identity documents like a passport or an Italian id. A website that has to deal with age-restricted products or content can implement this service while users sign-up. Every new user has to upload a photo of the id document. The ID document must be issued by the government and has a photo on it.

Wrapping it Up

Verifying online users’ age is not only the regulatory requirement but also the social responsibility of businesses. Unrestricted access to online content can damage the mental health of kids. Also, the cases of online harassment and scams can be reduced using online age verification.

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