The Importance of Age Verification

There is no doubting that people
want to protect their personal information online. And, perhaps an even bigger
concern is protecting our youth from the endless amount of content online. Many
companies and websites have taken precautions for protecting underage users
from accessing their site, and many other do not. There are obvious contenders
such as adult sites and alcohol manufacturers that usually prompt visitors to
enter their date of birth in order to access the site. While this is a very
admirable thing to do, this practice is great in theory, not in execution. As a
test, we surfed the web to find sites that asked for users to verify their age.
Once we told the truth (yes, were over 21) and another time we lied. The site
took the supposed date of birth both times and either let us see the site, or
pushed us to another page. This shows the gap in the
process. Even though the site asks, there is no way to prove
whether you are using a fake date of birth or not. Essentially, there is no
other information that is run against the date of birth to verify that it is
your actual birthday. 

As the Internet becomes vaster,
more sites are putting an age restriction on their content. Social media sites
such as Tumblr and Twitter are taking steps to help cut down on underage
users. In some countries including the UK, the community is taking a greater
stand on improving the laws around age verification. Some are even going to the
extreme of attempting to have sites banned that do not verify age. While this
may seem like a short term answer, in the long run, the way most sites are
verifying age now, isnt really verifying anything at all – only that you
know the cut off date for being of legal age. As more content becomes available
online and web users only get younger, businesses need to find a smarter
solution for verifying age. This can also help to protect against child
identity theft
as well, which is becoming a increasing big problem. More
and more identity thieves are using children (some younger than 6) as their
main target because they have clear credit and usually do not detect the identity
theft until its too late.

is going to become increasing more important as more
businesses move online. Even if your business currently has an age
verification process, it may be time to truly analyze the information being
asked in order to verify. You may find that verifying and authenticating age
are two very different things.

[Contributed by EVS Marketing]

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