In the case of bricks and mortar store, it is the duty of the sellers to ensure that they are selling products to appropriate customers and avoid selling products to the under-age community if they are especially for a particular age group. This is easily catered in these stores where a shopkeeper sells products face-to-face. But, in e-commerce and online stores, this task is comparatively hard to do. Online age verification should be implemented in order to avoid the chances of lawbreaking.
In case online businesses fail to comply with age verification checks, they will have to face the penalties as specified by the global and local regulators. These legal penalties are not only limited to harsh fines and imprisonment but the inevitable reputational loss can be faced by business owners. Big online businesses have taken it on a serious note and have implemented background checks to verify the customers. But still, a large number of online stores are not responding to this issue which can be dangerous for the under-age community and even for themselves.
Online Stores that are the target of under-age community and should take measures to authenticate the identities before confirming the order online:
Online Dating Apps
It is important for online dating apps like tinder and similar apps to secure their system from under-age users. It is heard that tinder has announced plans for high-level security regarding an increase in their minimum age limit to join their application. Similar apps should also implement age-verification checks before registering the users into their online portals.
Children’s access to age-restricted products must be catered in order to prevent them from accessing items like tobacco, cigarettes, liquor, cocaine, etc. Such products harm the body in unexpected ways to which children are not aware of and even parents do not know. Serious cases have been recorded in which children are affected by these products. This is the responsibility of online drug stores to allow the transaction only when the buyer has properly verified his age and identity.
These online critics should be considered and age verification systems should be installed or integrated with the systems to verify each onboarding customer with respect to the age.
The online gaming industry (gambling) is also spammed by the children. They buy age-restricted gaming DVDs and have no check over their age. Such child-grooming items can harm the personalities of children in unexpected ways which need to check through online age verification.
It is important for businesses to have age checks on their websites without proceeding the customer with the transaction. Many stores also tried to verify the customers while delivering them the parcel. But, the stores who use third-party services for shipment, do not take it on a serious note as they have to complete a specific number of orders in a day and cannot spend time investigating the right customers at their place. The accurate solution is the step of age verification to be done online that verifies the identity and age of the user using face recognition, id verification or any similar supporting documents.
Lack of Parental Control
A large number of surveys show that the ratio of under-age buyers is increasing due to the lack of parental eye on their activities. Parents have no idea about what their children are doing with the smartphone. Even the transactions that take place online are through the credit cards of parents but there is no check over kids that where they are spending money. This becomes the excuse of children who are gaining access to inappropriate stuff online.
Steps that can be taken other than Online Age-verification:
It is not only the responsibility of online websites to keep a check over the children but it starts from the home. The parental check has no replacement and so it is important to take its advantage. The following are the steps that can be taken at home to avoid children to get into inappropriate online stuff.
- Keep a check onto the content children are watching
Keep a check on the younger children especially and view history to evaluate regularly that what kind of stuff they watch online. Talk to them and teach them about content, what to watch and what to not.
- Use parental application and tools
There are parental applications that parents can use to restrict the time limit of phone usage or particular applications and also to keep track of their children’s activities they do online.
- Set rules at your home
Start mentoring from the home, no technology can take over the influence of parental communication and mentorship. Take advantage of it, set rules at home to teach kids who themselves do not know to protect them from inappropriate online content.