Digital Age Verification: Addressing the Minor Protection Dilemma

The youth is an asset of any nation and its future. A bad influence on the younger generation means that their well-being is being affected, ultimately ruining their personality and character in the long run. In order to address this very issue, regulatory bodies have placed some age verification regulations in place that help businesses carry out their operations in light of minor protection standards. 

The Actual Meaning of Age Verification 

Carrying out a business in digital space is a lot different as compared to running a physical store. Age verification is quite straightforward when someone needs to buy alcohol at the liquor store since the salesman can easily distinguish between a child and an adult, but that may not be the case on the internet. 

In the digital landscape, age verification consists of all those methods and procedures through which online businesses can make sure their users are above the legal age limit. The process, usually carried out by a set of document authentication checks and facial biometric recognition, guarantees minors don’t access products and services not appropriate for their age. 

For online age authentication, a customer, user or consumer needs to provide their genuine ID documents as proof of their identity. The automated software running behind the service incorporates Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to read and extract relevant data which is then compared with the user-provided data including the first and last name, the DoB, and other information like the address, postal code, etc. Enterprises and corporate firms these days invest in identity verification solutions that not only validate the customer’s identity but also run foolproof identity-based checks in light of globally acclaimed rules and regulations.  

Age-based Checks – A Current-day Necessity

Today, you won’t find anyone without a smartphone – not even children. The younger generation is much more attracted to technology because of its alluring nature. When we talk about minors, they are not able enough to decide whether a product or service is suitable for them or not. That being said, parental supervision is necessary to protect minors from online harms. Service providers and vendors of age-restricted services have equal responsibilities of protecting children from the products and services they offer. 

To solve this problem, the only ones responsible are not parents, but also service providers of age-restricted products. To cater to the needs of this industry, regulatory bodies have forced certain age verification rules and requirements on e-tobacco stores, online liquor websites, digital gambling platforms and similar products that could have a bad influence on the well-being of minors

Listed below are some essential aspects that show why a digital age verification solution is the need of the hour.

  • With great power comes great responsibility, that is why businesses that take into account age verification have better prospects of acquiring a decent market reputation as a result of loyal customers
  • Having an online age verification system in place can allow merchants of age-limited products to stay compliant with industry regulations
  • Age verification software helps service providers and businesses to fulfil their social and moral obligations in the best manner

Saying a No to Manual Age Authentication 

If you need to buy alcohol from the liquor store, all you need is to be an adult or bring someone to accompany you who is an adult. The Federal Drug Association (FDA) is of the view that people under the age of 18 cannot participate in the sale and purchase of alcohol or any of its by-products. That being said, children are prohibited from visiting liquor stores and tobacco shops by law.

When it comes to the digital space, the scenario becomes entirely different.  It is not easy to verify whether someone behind the online account is an actual adult or another clever minor trying to trick the system. Today, with the challenges, businesses need a competitive and robust age verification solution that meets the need of the current-day regulations and outwits minors looking to bypass age checks.

Verifying Age in the Digital Space

Digital businesses may incorporate many different services. Some of them may also be age-restricted, the delivery of which needs to be standardized. This industry has its own regulations and minor protection standards, that is why businesses need to take this seriously.

Tobacco Products

The tobacco industry sells products such as e-cigarettes, vapes, pipe, hookah, cigars, etc. In the US, the Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act set the age of consumption to be between 19 and 21, depending upon the jurisdictions. Digital age verification plays a key role in assisting businesses to keep intact regulations and provide products and services to the appropriate audience. 

The E-gaming Landscape

The ESports industry has been on a roll for quite some time now. Where e-betting and online gambling has gained much user interest, children are not much aware of the potential harms. In this regard, vendors of age-restricted gambling websites need to put in place robust digital age verification checks to make sure they do not offer minors access to their products.


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