VerifyMyAge: Lack of Trust in Age Verification Process Would Put Off Half of British Pornographic Content Consumers
But if online age verification were required to access this content, 55% of those said they would not use a website if they were uncomfortable with how they were asked to verify their age, while a further 32% said they were ‘unsure’ if they would continue to use it. This is a sobering thought for the providers of online adult entertainment, who face a significant loss in users and a challenge to their long-term sustainability if workable age verification regulation fails to materialise.
With mandatory online age verification to access adult content online looming in the UK and across Europe, those millions of consumers themselves may soon face the choice of age verifying or losing access to the content they so frequently access.
This research follows a recent study by City University, which showed 81% of 16-17 year-olds in the UK have been exposed to sexually explicit pornographic videos or pictures, with 63% having seen it on social media and 47% on pornographic websites. The study also found that minors most frequently viewed adult content via commercial pornographic sites. Separate research by BBFC in 2019 also identified the shocking statistic that half (51%) of 11-13 year-olds in the UK reported that they have seen pornographic content at some point, rising to 66% of 14-15 year-olds.
Andy Lulham, COO at VerifyMyAge, said: “It is no longer acceptable that children are able to access adult content online. The debate on online age verification has gone on for far too long and consumers and providers of content alike now need certainty.
“But providers of online adult content face a major challenge in ensuring the age verification process is trusted by consumers and ensures a seamless process, otherwise they will seek content elsewhere. Regulation must take this into account and deliver a level playing field across the industry so that the challenges faced are felt equally.”
In order for consumers to trust age verification, it is vital that providers offer multiple different forms of identity verification, as well as privacy protection. Technology built today by providers such as VerifyMyAge offers users up to 5 different methods of verification, with more in development. Similarly, readily available technology ensures that personal data about users’ viewing history is not stored or recorded, and thus cannot be hacked or leaked – nullifying arguments about privacy concerns.
A new report published by VerifyMyAge today outlines seven key policy considerations to ensure an online age verification system that is fit-for-purpose:Deliver workable regulation by trusting in technology and innovationPrescriptive and precise regulation that will ensure uptake and complianceEnsure a regulatory framework that is built on delivering against privacy concernsDeliver a frictionless experience for consumersEnsure a level playing field for all online providersEnforcement across the board is paramountA collaborative approach must be sought.
Lulham added: “The reality today is that the technology exists to put in place a workable and commercially viable framework that addresses the concerns of all of consumers, providers and privacy groups. It is time governments took action to deliver a world where the same safeguards exist online as are available offline.”
In addition to detail on these policy considerations, the report, A blueprint for age verification in online adult entertainment, outlines the current state-of-play in Europe, key consumer and provider concerns, as well as the technological solution to the problem.
The report can be accessed online here.
Notes to editors
VerifyMyAge data from research of 741 consumers, carried out via online survey in March 2021
ONS – UK adults (over 18), 2011 census: 78.7% of population over 1866,796,807 – UK population estimate, mid-201978.7% of this = 52,569,80740% of this = 21,027,635