KYC AML Guide: the Clock shows the average reeding time of the blog07 min Read


KYC AML Guide: the Clock shows the average reeding time of the blogMarch 4, 2024

The Role of Age Verification in Preventing Cyberbullying and Online Harassment

Explore the important role that age verification plays in creating a safe online environment. Learn how age verification can reduce cybercrime and online harassment. Discover effective methods of age verification in promoting age-appropriate digital interactions.

Belal Mahmoud

KYC Product Consultant

With the rise of online communication, and social media, online harassment and cyberbullying have become increasingly common. Cyberbullying and online harassment refer to electronic communications that are intended to intimidate, harass, or threaten another person. This action can be performed through various online platforms such as social media, instant messaging, email, and online forums. According to UNICEF, 80 percent of children in 25 countries surveyed said they felt bullied online. Children who use social media and instant messaging are also at risk of experiencing cyberbullying, hate speech, and violence from peers. Implementation of an age verification solution will keep children away from these platforms. This protects them from online predators and significantly reduces the risk of cyberbullying.

What is an Age Verification System?

Age verification systems also known as age gates are technical security measures that prevent people who are not old enough from accessing digital content. This system is an excellent way to reduce minor exploitation and is crucial to reducing access of users under 18 years of age to inappropriate content such as alcohol and tobacco advertising, adult content, and objectionable content in games.

Lawmakers in the United States and abroad want to limit children’s access to two things: social media and adult sites. Louisiana, Arkansas, and Utah have passed laws regulating minors on social media. However, several US federal bills are being discussed, as well as laws in other countries, such as the UK Online Safety Bill. Some of these laws require special identification with age verification tools.

Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR), the sponsor of the Protect Kids Online Act, said.

“From bullying and sex trafficking to addiction and explicit content, social media companies subject children and teens to a wide variety of content that can hurt them, emotionally and physically.”

Exploring Effective Age Verification Methods to Prevent Cyberbullying and Online Harassment

Some of the age verification methods that can be used to prevent cyberbullying and online harassment are given below

1 Traditional Methods

In the traditional method, users present their identity or documents for verification, for example in offline stores or to enter a specific place.

2 Digital Methods

Digital methods provide modern solutions, especially for online services. Let’s look at some age verification methods in the digital age:

a Date of Birth Checkbox

A simple method where users enter their date of birth or check a box to indicate that they are over a certain age. It’s simple, but its effectiveness depends entirely on honest users.

b ID Scanning:

Users scan and upload documents such as a driver’s license or passport. It is accurate and useful in reducing misinformation.

c Biometric Authentication:

The users use their unique physical characteristics such as fingerprints or facial features. It is safe and difficult to counterfeit.

d Facial Age Estimation:

Facial Age estimation was created to give anyone a secure and private way to reveal their age without sharing their name or identifying documents. This technology is made possible by an algorithm that has learned to estimate age in the same way as humans, namely by looking at faces. It has been trained to look at faces and images. Technically, an image is just a pattern of pixels, and pixels are numbers. Age planning technology predicts patterns and numbers so that it learns that “this pattern is typical for a 16 year old” and “this pattern is typical for a 6-year-old.”  Google has received a certificate for its facial recognition technology in the UK that could help prevent children from accessing restricted content websites in

e Application Programming Interfaces (APIs):

APIs allow different software to communicate, simplifying the authentication process.

Why Age Verification is Important?

1 Minors Protection

Age verification essentially means protecting minors from age-restricted products or content. This prevents minors from accessing these potentially harmful websites and making purchases they should not make. The Pew Research Center reports that 59% of American teens have experienced online bullying. Meanwhile, a UK study found that one in four children found disturbing content on social media. A UNICEF report found that almost a third of young people in 30 countries have been bullied online. These numbers are scary!

2 Legal Compliances and Regulations

In addition to moral and ethical considerations, current age verification is also a legal requirement. Governments and regulators around the world have recognized the importance of protecting children online. They have laws and regulations such as GDPR, DPIAs, and COPA that require an annual inspection, so this is not only good practice but also a legal requirement for business.

3 Preventing Fraud and Identity Theft

Age verification helps reduce the risk of fraud and identity theft by verifying the accuracy of information provided by users. According to FTC, almost 1.3 million children have their identities stolen each year. As per Statista, FTC reported in 2022 the most commonly targeted age group by fraudsters was people aged 30 to 39, with 205,154 cases of fraud, and people aged 60 to 69 were the second most commonly targeted group, with 200,216 reports of fraud in the same year. Age verification ensures that individuals are who they say they are, reduces the risk of impersonation, and protects employees from harm.

4 Consumer Trust and Safety

Age verification increases customer trust by demonstrating a commitment to user safety and responsible business practices. When users see that the platform leads to age consent, they often feel good about their relationship and confident that their personal information will be handled carefully.

Looking to the future

The epidemic of negative social impacts can no longer be ignored. Given the high incidence of child abuse, cyberbullying, online harassment, exposure to predators, and exposure to harmful content, technology companies must take responsibility for protecting children on their platforms. By implementing digital age verification, along with government-issued credentials, organizations can ensure users are who they say they are, manage age-appropriate content protect children from harmful content, and ultimately make decisions to combat social influence.


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Belal Mahmoud
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Belal possess over 8 years experience in the KYC Identity Verification industry. He has consulted KYC solutions for over 20 new economy companies at DIFC and ADGM while ensuring a seamless technical integration and helped in jurisdictional compliance audits.