Online Age Verification: Ensure the Protection of Minors in the Digital World

Online Age Verification: Ensure the Protection of Minors in the Digital World

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18 August 2022

Since the advent of digitization, it is now common for minors to have access to age-specific online services and goods. According to a survey, 1.46 billion people made online purchases from a variety of platforms. Customers widely embraced digital cashless methods in the previous decade. The COVID-19 pandemic set off this phenomenon, which has now established itself as the new standard in the sector. Despite all of these eye-catching attractions, the industries have grown riskier. The risks include theft of personal information, abusing children, financial fraud, and many others. 

The industry’s preferred method for getting the right services and goods to customers is digital age verification services. On the other hand, manual verification also provided equal assistance, but it took a long time and disappointed customers. As a result, online age verification services save time while providing accurate assistance. They prevent minors from accessing age-restricted products while also ensuring their safety. The system follows a set of procedures, and by doing so, every industry can conduct real-time verification. 

Online Age Verification – How Does It Work?

In addition to ensuring customer security, age verification checks enable businesses to onboard legitimate clients, and in the case of age-restricted platforms, they can stop minors from registering. Additionally, companies can ensure that customers who register are not criminals through encrypted and authentic validation, protecting them from associated risks. The steps included in the age verification process are as follows:

  1. Provide Personal Details

Customers signing up are required to complete the form that is displayed and enter information such as their birth date, full name, address, and other personal identifying details.

  1. Upload Auxiliary Document

In order to verify the accuracy of the information they had previously provided, end users are required to upload pictures of their original identification documents. These documents include passports, driver’s licenses, and identification cards issued by the government.

  1. OCR-based Identity Detail Extraction

 In this step, the digital age verification solution extracts pertinent data using its encrypted OCR technology. For example, when implementing the age verification solution, the procedure extracts address details or birthdates. 

  1. Results of Identity Verification & Dispatching

The results are displayed to the end-user after the information has been matched, validated, and verified. The customer and the relevant platform are informed if it is declining. The results are then preserved in records using API calls for later use. 

Uses of Digital Age Verification in Popular Sectors 

According to Shufti Pro News, many different businesses use online age verification because of the hype that has been created over the years. Furthermore, the technology it employs enables industries to provide age-specific services to targeted clients. Some of their well-known industrial use cases are listed below to further emphasize the advantages that age verification solution offers:

  1. Gaming and Gambling

This industry, which is currently worth $776.4 million, is anticipated to expand as more players switch to digital games, particularly those that involve financial investments and gains. However, not all of the relevant platforms are legitimate; many shady ones heavily exploit minors. Therefore, by limiting minors in time, implementing age checks during registration can greatly mitigate these effects. 

 As per Shufti Pro Funding, businesses in the UK had to pay $19.6 million in fines because of money laundering through their platforms. Due to this, gaming operators keep a close eye on player behavior to ensure KYCC compliance.

  1. Tobacco and Alcohol Online Stores

The sale of vapes, cigarettes, alcohol, hookahs, cigars, and other alcoholic beverages to minors is against the law. The National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984 states that the legal drinking age is 18, and in most nations, it is 21.  Since shopping has moved online, purchasing an age-restricted product like this is no longer a difficult task for kids. Therefore, it should be the platforms’ primary responsibility to determine age and prohibit use by minors. 

Unexpected growth rates in the global alcohol and tobacco markets indicate that more underage users are signing up on digital platforms.  They either use false information or, if the process is too strict, they upload the credentials of their parents to sift through it. Therefore, industries require reliable methods to verify age and identify children’s deception. 

  1. E-commerce Industry

According to numerous statistics and findings, the number of consumers shopping online is dramatically rising, and digitization has sparked innovation. As a result, e-commerce platforms are vulnerable to unintended risks. Vendors of age-restricted products like dating apps, alcohol, and websites with adult content and services should make sure that the users they are signing up for are of legal age. Otherwise, they could face severe penalties. 

Conclusion

People are now purchasing goods and services online rather than physically. There are many challenges associated with this massive change. It is very easy for children to access age-restricted items on the internet because online retailers don’t bother to check their customers’ ages. To prevent minors from being tricked, digital age verification services are becoming a requirement for industries with online operations. The platforms have a legal and social responsibility to prevent minors from using their services and to safeguard them when necessary. 

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