According to recent stats, 25% of US minors who log into the internet say they receive illicit messages almost daily. This raised concerns about social bullying, violence, and predatory interactions on different social media platforms. However, social media harm has continued to grow over the period.
More than 50% of minors are cyber-bullied and 33% of teens are friends with people on Facebook they never met. Further, teens also experience mental pressure by watching graphic content that has contributed towards growing the suicide rate. This ultimately increases depression in most minors after constantly viewing unreal achievements on Instagram.
It’s becoming clear that social harm is growing at a rapid pace thus, putting children at increased risk. To curtail this matter, age verification tools in online chatting via social media platforms is almost non-existent. It ultimately leaves minors vulnerable to predators and fraudsters as it becomes impossible to confirm the person’s real identity.
Despite attempts to regulate social networking platforms, technology companies and regulatory bodies have failed to control these behaviors online. Only 15% of parents are familiar with their children’s online networking habits.
By looking at the importance of tracking social media behavior, some countries are making their move to adapt age verification tools for policing social media platforms. It’s expected that the US would soon follow with new legislation to mitigate social media risks by enforcing age verification tools. Tech companies would also face legal consequences if they fail to comply with regulations in their respective countries.
Need to Verify Age of Minors Engaged Online
Most websites that deal with age-restricted products such as tobacco, alcohol, and fireworks authenticate users with a simple authentication method. The authentication process usually involves a pop-up button or question that says, “Are You 18 Years Old or Not”? This way online platforms have no proof to confirm a user’s age. It could lead minors to purchase under-age products or view restricted content that could result in physical harm. So, self age verification methods are no longer reliable to keep users safe. Beyond access to age-restricted products, users could also be harmed through non-age restricted platforms like dating sites, and social groups. Most online platforms don’t necessarily require authentication when users are creating an online profile.
Users could enter their fake details, such as date of birth, location, occupation, etc on online platforms. Social media platforms don’t ever confirm a person’s real identity and if the user’s information is either correct or wrong. After creating an online account, users can engage in conversations with minors while pretending to be someone else. Ultimately, it leads users to commit fraud or solicit personal information to create fake identities. Almost 75% of minors agree to share details of themselves and their family to get age-restricted products or services.
Getting Age Verified For Seamless User Experience
Social media platforms must integrate age verification tools to restrict underage users from viewing adult content and engaging with unknown users. To prevent online fraud risks, organizations could use age verification to compare government-issued identity cards with real-time photos of users for identity verification. This, however, keeps fraudsters at bay to steal someone’s identity.
Integrating an AI-powered age verification tool would also allow online platforms to know the user’s exact age. Platforms would be able to review the platform and restrict access to the users of a certain age from viewing their content.
But submitting pictures and government-issued identity cards for verification can’t be used on every platform. For instance, if a user wants to access R-rated content – they are not going to submit their photo along with government-issued ID cards for age verification. However, fraudsters would do the same, if they are accessing R-rated content. Fraudsters could run the risk of getting caught during an account takeover if they were asked to submit their photo and ID. Although, if online platforms implement age verification – the users can be sure that they are connecting with a real person. For more tips check buzinessbytes.
To increase trust within a growing user base, online platforms can provide users with a badge of authenticity. This would authenticate the user’s identity and people could trust others by checking if they are certified.
Looking Further into the Future
Social media platforms and users can’t ignore online risks any longer. As online predators take advantage of innocent children, companies should integrate age verification tools. This would help organizations to comply with age-related regulations and increase user’s trust in their brand. By implementing age verification tools, the platforms can determine the real age of users. It would protect minors from age-restricted goods or services that can cause social harm.