The explosion of the internet and mobiles have made it very easy for children to access anything online whether it is about mature content, gaming site or even online stores. Though the transformation of the businesses in the digital world has made life easier, on the other hand, it has serious concerns for parents and business owners as well. With ease to access online content, simple age checks like “tick boxes” and “I agree” consent statements to confirm users’ age are no more effective.
The responsibility of the customers to be honest about their age is what pushing children into the pit of the dark web. Children easily surpass such verifications checks by lying about their age and access the age-restricted content and products.
Regulations around Age Verification
Seeing the trends of some major incidents that took place due to misuse of age-restricted products by the minors, the government has taken strict measures to curb such incidents. The authorities have tightened the laws of age verification around the online industry.
The UK’s Digitial Economy ACT has imposed a public constitution on the business owners outlining the need for robust age checks. Moreover, the Gambling Commission in the UK has put strict obligations on online gambling firms to completely verify the age of their users who place bets. The individuals on the “free-to-play” versions of the gambling games are also required to prove their age first.
These regulations focus on online businesses more than physical or real-life stores. The reason is in physical retailing shops, one can judge the age of an individual on the basis of physical appearance or by asking for a driving license. But the anonymity on the internet makes it quite impossible to verify the customer age. According to these regulations, the failure to verify the age of the user before selling or access to age-restricted products and content can lead to severe consequences for the business owners.
Responsibility of Merchants and Business Owners
Whenever the minor does something illegal or access some adult product, the blame is put on the parents. But now the major responsibility is on the merchants and business owners to successfully integrate the age verification checks with their sites. The traditional checkboxes and pop-ups are of no use. Due to the increased use of internet and technology, we can’t restrain children from using the technology. But the websites containing age verification checks can restrict the minors from accessing the content. It is the duty of the owners to implement the efficient age verification solutions in their sites in order to avoid regulatory penalties.
Similarly, the e-commerce stores selling alcohol, e-cigarettes, vapes, weapons, and other age-restricted products need to implement the age checks not only at the time of account creation but at checkout as well. This doesn’t only ensure the age of the buyers but also to check that the authorized account is the one making purchases.
Age verification- An alternative to Identity Verification
In online platforms, businesses are required to verify the identities of their customers to meet the KYC/AML compliance. Age verification checks serve the purpose of verifying the user’s identity as well. The online age verification services verify and authenticate the age of the customer on the basis of identity documents, e.g. driving license, passport, NIC, etc. The very same documents can authenticate the identity of the users and that too in real-time. To say that age verification services can simultaneously ensure the identities won’t be an understatement.