The Current Landscape of Digital World
A report published in Jan 2021 revealed that 56% of the total population now uses social media, with an average usage time of 2 hours and 25 mins. Social media brings a digital evolution in the world where people are more connected and updated than ever. Now if there is news in the Africa regions it can be spread to the whole world within two seconds.
Kids use these types of services more than other age groups. The minors’ contribution to social media usage has also some alarming signs because of poor age verification. According to the UK’s Office of Communications, 50% of the kids aged between 11 and 12 have social media accounts but the minimum age limit for most platforms is 13.
The internet and digital means have overcome other activities that were an integral part of kids’ routine in the past. Online gaming, emoji chatting, and video calls fascinate the kids more.
History tells that every innovation is better liked by the younger generation. But if not properly regulated it can have disastrous outcomes. Be it the modification of guns or cars, all showed terrible consequences, without a specific control. The first action for protecting minors is parental control but in social media, it is nearly impossible. The reason is it is not something that can be locked in the safe or put in a higher place. A child can access his social media account at any place by just having a good internet connection and communication gadget (mobile or PC).
The internet availability and communication gadgets are everywhere now, their access can’t be controlled easily. So age verification becomes the responsibility of social media websites. The business side can monitor the kids’ access more efficiently than the user side.
Currently, social media platforms are using age checks which are not that effective. The age verification solutions incorporated by social media platforms are discussed below:
While signing up for a social media account, the new user gives his personal details to the website. At the end of the form or after submitting the information, a checkbox has a statement like “I am above 16”. The user has to tick the box for proceeding on the sign-up page. The webpage doesn’t move further (or the sign-up is not complete) without the checkbox tick.
This method does not require any proof of age, instead relies on the user’s honesty. Kids circumvent the age check by checking the box even if not above the specific age limit.
Users also have to provide their birth date along with personal information (full name and updated address). When the user enters his birthdate, the system calculates his age by analyzing it with the current date. If the age appears to be less than 13, the user is not allowed to create an account.
Like the previous age verification method, this can also be bypassed simply and users enter their wrong age. By doing so they create a fraudulent online identity.
Online Age Verification through ID Documents: A Solid and Reliable Solution for Minors’ Protection
The most convenient and secure way to verify online users’ age is by confirming their birthdate through identity documents such as passports. This is not only an age confirmation process but also an identity verification.
The users have to upload the image of government-issued id documents while onboarding. Then the age verification software will capture a live selfie of the users. The identity will be confirmed by matching the selfie with the photo id. The birthdate will be extracted using OCR and examined.
- Only users above the particular age limit can use social media
- It eliminates the risks of fake identities by facial recognition
- Social media will be more secure and complies with the data privacy and age verification regulations
- The online age verification solution can be integrated into any website