Blog 17 Apr 2024
Age Verification Age Gating

Age Verification vs. Age Gating | Which One is Better for Age Assurance and Protection

Author: admin | 17 Apr 2024

Imagine being a parent to a minor of let’s say age 14 who is growing fast and exploring the world. Your teenage child is curious and wants to experience new things. One day you come to know that your child visits questionable websites and enters the false age of 18+ with a fake profile. Not only this is dangerous but also hurts your feelings that you were unable to bond with your child and that the mechanism of age-gating failed in protecting your naive child and rightly guiding to protect families from social ills.

Age Verification and Age Gating are two online age assurance methods used to confirm the age of a user according to the required age to access the services offered. In this blog, a detailed comparison between Age Verification vs. Age Gating will be explained and we will see which one is better for online identity proofing.

Key Takeaways

  • Age gating is a weak identity assurance mechanism as compared to age verification. 
  • Age gating has loopholes that are covered by advanced age verification methods
  • Both age gating and age verification are now considered under one header of age assurance as per the latest definition.
  • Age verification is highly important for ensuring the safety of underage online users.

Brief Overview of Age Gating

Age gating is an identity-proofing filter applied in multiple online platforms and websites that confirms that the user is of a certain age. Whenever a user visits a website that has age-gating applied, a pop-up or a screen will ask the user to answer by clicking yes or no to confirm the age. As soon as the user clicks yes, the user is permitted to access the website and services further.

Age gating is normally considered a weak mechanism of identity proofing. Initially, age gating was designed to prevent minors and prohibited age groups from accessing certain websites and services for example,

  • Adult Content websites
  • Online Liquor stores
  • Dating Websites
  • Firearms merchandise
  • Cannabis trading platforms
  • Age-rated video gaming platforms

Types of Age Gating

1. Self Reporting

In this method, users voluntarily enter their age and confirm their date of birth. This is normally a weak system that works on trusting users. Multiple reports show that self-reporting is a method that can be easily bypassed by anyone and cannot be trusted in sensitive use cases.

2. Parental Consent

Parental consent ensures that minors who try to access adult websites or other adult platforms must not bypass the age-gating filter. Whenever a user tries to access such a website, a pop-up or a screen will appear asking for parental consent and approval of some sort. Look at the following example,

A social media website requiring users aged 13 and above are allowed to use. The website must first ensure its full compliance with Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule (COPPA). Then it follows an approach like the one given below:

  • A user will sign up for the services stating his or her age which must be 13 or above.
  • The website will then ask for parental consent through an online form that requires filling from one of the user’s parents. It may have details like the parent’s contact number, email, social media profile link, etc for further verification.
  • After further verification and confirmation, the account is created but regularly monitored for any suspicious activity.

Again, this mechanism has loopholes such as there is no robust mechanism in age gating that can confirm that the parental consent form is filled by an actual parent or just another friend with a fake account in the name of the user’s parent.

Age Verification – A Complete Solution

To mitigate the loopholes present in age gating, Age verification is preferred and now most of the platforms use age verification as a sole measure to verify a user’s age. Age verification requires users to verify their age with stringent checks and sophisticated identity proofing that can include:

  • Online age verification through a selfie camera using advanced liveness detection through facial recognition to prevent age verification scams.
  • Using AI age checkers and other necessary tools to verify age digitally.
  • Ensuring regulatory compliance with all relevant regulations that govern online age verification.

Types of Age Verification

1. Document Age Verification

Document Age verification requires users to hold their identity documents alongside their faces in front of the selfie camera or webcam to verify their age and identity. It is considered one of the most secure mechanisms of age verification that is still preferred by most platforms requiring identity proofing of users. The system reads the photograph, name, date of birth, and other identifiable information from the identity document which is a government-issued identity such as an identity card or a driver’s license, and then matches the face of the user with the photograph.

2. Social Media Verification

It uses social media platforms to verify the age of a user. The platform uses a single-sign-on (SSO) service or requires the user to upload a valid social media profile link and fetch the age information from that profile through various social media activities. Although it is considered unethical and compromises users’ privacy many platforms such as dating websites integrate their services with world-famous social media platforms like X, or LinkedIn.

3. Third-Party Age Verification Services

Identity Verification solutions provide age verification services as third parties. They are integrated with government databases of the identities of identities that are registered as citizens. These identities contain age information and can be verified by integrating these solutions with the customer onboarding process of the business.

4. Biometric Verification

As mentioned earlier age verification is also done through facial recognition. This includes facial features like, wrinkles, facial hair (mustache, beard), and other aging factors. Biometrics can also be used to retrieve age-related data from databases if integrated using a third-party solution provider.

Recent Insights in Age Verification 

Just 2 days ago, the Global Age Assurance Standards Summit concluded. With concrete support from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and British Standards Institute (BSI), the summit called for action on a 7-point agenda highlighting the importance of age verification and protecting underage users’ identities online. The first 4 days of the summit stressed the use of biometrics as a fit for different aspects of age verification vs age gating including parental consent, age checks, etc. The summit also set the guidelines and definition of age assurance. 

Read the full news here.


Age Verification vs. Age Gating are the two major aspects of identity verification that protect underage users from accessing prohibited and potentially harmful online material. Age gating and age verification are now considered under one header which is age assurance as recently defined in the news discussed above. However, Identity solution providers need to ensure the latest industry standards in age assurance through technological advancements and by creating awareness of the importance of age verification. 

All these efforts are carried out to protect underage children’s online presence from being exploited or misused for illicit gains such as cyberbullying, deepfake attacks, and ransom. Protecting our children and underage users is our core duty which requires strong age assurance mechanisms like a robust facial recognition system.

Try Facia’s Age Verification and experience robust protection of your digital identities from being compromised. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is age-gating?

Age gating is an identity-proofing method that uses voluntary confirmation from users in the form of yes or no answers to confirm their age according to the requirements.

What is the age-gating process?

Age gating process can be as simple as a question asking the user to state his age or just answer yes or no. In sensitive cases, it can have a process requiring users to create a profile, submit parental consent forms, confirm their identities, and ongoing monitoring of their profiles.

What is the difference between age gate and age verification?

Age gating is a simple process that only requires users to confirm age through a simple question answer or a parental consent form. On the other hand, age verification requires detailed information from users, and procedures like identity document verification through a selfie camera or social media age verification can be incorporated for age verification.

Why is age verification important?

Age verification is important to protect underage users from entering prohibited and harmful websites. It is also important to ensure that underage users are not falling prey to cyber criminals like fraudsters, hackers, etc.

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