November 14, 2022 - Washington, DC - The Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) today released a new report, Making Sense of Age Assurance: Enabling Safer Online Experiences, which explores awareness and attitudes toward age assurance among parents and children in the United States, United Kingdom, and France.
Age assurance ensures that users who do not meet age minimums cannot access online platforms, or must stay in age-appropriate environments. This new report found that age assurance methods are received with mixed perceptions, with respondents showing an openness to future solutions but also highlighting the need for education and transparency upon implementation. Key findings from the report captured levels of awareness among parents and children, outlooks on the use of biometric data, and cultural contrasts in parenting style.
“Age assurance has long been a challenging area for the technology industry, as certain methods may also require the collection of more user data,” said Stephen Balkam, FOSI CEO. “This year’s report shows a clear opportunity to improve methods of age assurance, which must begin by helping people to understand it. This means providing clarity around the purpose of assuring age, how the process works, and how they benefit.”
“At Google, we are committed to creating age-appropriate experiences to help kids and teens use technology in a safer and more privacy-protective environment,” said Markham Erickson, Vice President, Government Affairs & Public Policy, Google. “This research highlights the complexities associated with establishing the age of users and the importance of including the perspectives of both parents and their children in the discussion. We are proud to partner with FOSI on this critical work and will continue to collaborate on how to help kids and teens enjoy the benefits that technology has to offer when it comes to learning, staying connected and having fun.”
Parents and responsibility
Despite hypotheses that the use of biometric components may cause concerns around data privacy, this report found that respondents are open to age assurance methods that include it.
The report also finds that different social and cultural factors impact parenting styles and child-parent relationships in each country.
This study was supported by Google, and conducted by Kantar. Topline findings will be presented at the FOSI 2022 Annual Conference, Trust and Assurance: Online Safety in an Uncertain World.
Family Online Safety Institute
The Family Online Safety Institute is an international, non-profit organization that works to make the online world safer for kids and their families. FOSI convenes leaders in industry, government and the non-profit sectors to collaborate and innovate new solutions and policies in the field of online safety. Through research, resources, events and special projects, FOSI promotes a culture of responsibility online and encourages a sense of digital citizenship for all. FOSI's membership includes many of the leading Internet and telecommunications companies around the world.